Parliament, Thursday, 4 June 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, welcomes the signing into law by the President of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Amendment Bill [B25-2018].
The signing of the Bill into law strengthens and reinforces the independence of the IPID, a Constitutional body that was created to ensure effective oversight of the South African Police Service and Municipal Police Services. The assent further strengthens parliamentary oversight over IPID in relation to the suspension, discipline or removal of the Executive Director of IPID.
Furthermore, it reinforces public confidence on IPID that it will be able, without undue political interference, to investigate complaints against the police fearlessly and without favour or bias.
The Bill was necessitated by a Constitutional Court ruling (Robert McBride v Minister of Police and Minister of Public Service and Administration  ZACC30) that declared some sections of the Principal Act as inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid to the extent that they authorise the Minister of Police to suspend, and take any disciplinary steps pursuant to suspend or remove from office, the Executive Director of the IPID. Section 63(a) and 66 of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act 1 of 2011, section 16(a)(b) and sections 71 and 72 of the Public Service Act and regulation 13 of the IPID regulations were declared invalid.
The fifth Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police initiated a Committee Bill to ensure that Parliament complies with the Constitutional Court amendments and finalised those amendments after it thoroughly processed all the inputs from the stakeholders. During its deliberations, the committee received a submission from the IPID for a full review of the IPID Act, but due to strict time constraints placed by the Court, it was unable to consider the submission at the time.
The committee, however, indicated that the department was free to bring a full amendment for its consideration at a later stage. Therefore, the committee is committed to processing such an amendment when it is tabled by the Department. The development of independence of the IPID has been an incremental process, given its history.
The IPID Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament on 1 March 2018 by the Portfolio Committee and published for public comments in the Government Gazette, number 41667 on 1 June 2018. The Bill was passed by the National Assembly and referred to the National Council of Provinces on 4 September 2018.
The NCOP passed the Bill on 20 November 2019 and assented to by the President of the Republic of South Africa on 3 June 2020. The delay in passing the Bill is largely due to the 2019 general elections.
Ms Joemat-Pettersson said she is cognisant that the process to remedy the defects identified by the Constitutional Court in the Bill had taken longer than was instructed by the Court. “With that said, it is important that despite the lengthy delay in amending the Act, we have now an important amendment that strengthens the independence of IPID,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson said.
The current amendment gives Parliament the authority to remove the Executive Authority of IPID and that power is removed from the Minister of Police. This, according to Ms Joemat-Pettersson, will change any perception of political interference in the work of IPID. She said: “IPID plays an integral role in upholding and safeguarding of the fundamental rights of every person.”
Ms Joemat-Pettersson emphasised that in an effective democracy anchored in accountability and responsiveness fundamentally depends on strong checks and balances on power to succeed. “This Act provides the necessary checks and balances within the police and IPID environment,” added Ms Joemat-Pettersson.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSONS OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE, MS TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON.
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Name: Malatswa Molepo (Mr)
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