The Portfolio Committee on Police has today resolved not to include the National Preventative Mechanism’s (NPM’s) preventive monitoring obligations in the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Amendment Bill. The committee was of the view that this decision does not cause any prejudice, as the directorate already conducts regular inspection of police cells. The committee took this resolution during its deliberation on the Bill.
The NPM is an independent mechanism for the prevention of torture, designated or established in accordance with Article 18 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). In terms of the protocol, state parties are required to establish a system of regular visits to places where people are deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Parliament ratified OPCAT in 2019. However, there is no domestic legislation currently that regulates the NPM.
Furthermore, the committee held the view that because the NPM membership consists of the South African Human Rights Commission, the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, the Military Ombud, IPID and the Health Ombud, it is desirable to have an inclusive Bill to enforce, observe and promote OPCAT obligations. Therefore, the committee committed to consult and engage with various portfolio committees to discuss legislation dealing with OPCAT obligations to ensure that the matter is not dealt with piecemeal.
Meanwhile, the committee requested the Civilian Secretariat for Police to provide progress on the review of the South African Police Service Disciplinary Regulations to ensure that there is alignment with the Bill. The committee will schedule a meeting and has requested a presentation to address the question of the Minister’s role in processing the Bill.
To highlight the importance of public participation in the law-making process, the committee acknowledged the insertion of various recommendations made during public hearings, particularly in relation to the appointment of the executive director and definitions within the Bill.
The committee will on Friday consider the Bill clause by clause and will next week, on Wednesday, consider the A version of the Bill.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.