Three GBV bills to be introduced to parliament by August

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EFF MP Veronica Mente asked Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise to follow up as to why the bills haven’t yet been introduced to parliament.

Bills meant to strengthen the response to gender-based violence will be introduced to parliament by August, with the first bill to be introduced this month.

At Thursday’s meeting of the National Assembly Programming Committee, EFF MP Veronica Mente asked Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise to follow up as to why the bills haven’t yet been introduced to parliament.

She wants legislation preventing alleged perpetrators being granted bail.

“We are going to repeat ourselves over and over again, like a broken record,” said Mente, who introduced a debate on gender-based violence to the National Assembly on Tuesday.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said she has it on good authority that those bills would be before the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services this month.

Secretary to the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso, said the bill on domestic violence would be introduced this month, while the other two bills were earmarked for August.

In response to a recent parliamentary question, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said the department of justice drafted three bills aimed at curbing the scourge of violence against women and children.

They are:

  • The Criminal and Related Matters Bill to, among others, introduce stricter bail and sentencing provisions;
  • The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill which seeks to address the gaps and anomalies which have manifested themselves since the Domestic Violence Act came into operation in 1999; and
  • The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill which seeks to extend the protection afforded to victims of gender-based violence and to introduce a new offence of sexual intimidation and to extend the ambit of the offence of incest.

Modise said she hoped the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities would “actively make it their business” to work on these bills with the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.

The committee on Thursday also heard that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize wants to deliver a statement on Covid-19 to the house next Wednesday.

Deputy President David Mabuza’s office indicated that he would be available for questions in the house on 30 July, and the Presidency said President Cyril Ramaphosa would be available on 27 August.

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