Please note: On 16 May 2024, parliamentary papers confirmed that the NCOP had passed the Bill, which has therefore completed its passage through Parliament.

The ad hoc NCOP committee established to consider the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill has issued a backdated media statement on its decision to adopt the Bill’s ‘B’ version without further changes. A committee report reflecting this was tabled in the House on 14 May 2024.

According to the committee’s statement and its report, the following matters raised during public hearings on the Bill will be referred to the seventh Parliament:

  • amending the Secret Services Act, 1978, to provide for the establishment of an evaluation committee ‘within 12 months’
  • appointing a Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence deputy chair
  • ensuring that bi-annual meetings take place between the committee and the President on ‘intelligence-related matters’
  • aligning the committee’s annual reporting with general parliamentary reporting requirements
  • appointing a Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence, and
  • empowering the committee to add ‘a specific oversight function’ to the responsibilities of the Inspector-General of Intelligence.

This is noting that – with the NCOP rising on 16 May 2024 for the general elections – there is no time to seek permission from that House ‘to enquire into’ amending the Bill to provide for these matters. Any amendments made by the ad hoc NCOP committee and approved by that House would eventually have required National Assembly concurrence anyway – for which time has also run out given that the reconvened National Assembly will also meet for its final plenary on 16 May 2024. However, the statement makes no mention of this aspect of a process routinely followed when amendments are made to a Bill beyond its original scope.

Published by SA Legal Academy Policy Watch

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