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Parliament Passes Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament Bill.

March 11, 2019

Parliament

11 March 2019

Parliament has passed the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Amendment Bill and sent it to president Ramaphosa for assent.

The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces for concurrence at the end of August 2018.

The select committee on security and justice called for comment on the bill in October 2018.

The bill proposes that the arrest and removal of a person creating a disturbance on the parliamentary precinct, as ordered by a presiding officer, does not apply to a member.

It was drawn up by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.

The bill was tabled in parliament in June 2018.

The committee bill aims to:


• amend the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2003, so as to amend a definition;
• provide that the arrest and removal, on the order of a presiding officer, of a person who creates or takes part in any disturbance on the precincts is not applicable to a member;
• provide that a provincial legislature may choose to either appoint a standing committee or establish an ad hoc committee to deal with disciplinary action against members of a provincial legislature for contempt of that provincial legislature;
• provide that the Speaker of a provincial legislature exercises control and authority over the precincts on behalf of that provincial legislature;
• clarify vague sections in the Act;
• effect technical and grammatical corrections; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The bill flows from a Constitutional Court decision, in Democratic Alliance v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others [2016] ZACC 8, that declared section 11 of the principal act to be invalid in that it applied to members.

The select committee adopted the bill without amendments.