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NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION BILL, 2017

Memorandum
The individual clauses of the Bill are explained below:

Clause 1

Provides for the short title of the Bill.

Clause 2

Provides for definitions of words in the Bill. To this end, words like Commission, seal, Executive Secretary, Minister are defined for ease of reference.

Clause 3

Provides for additional functions of the Commission as original functions are established in terms of the Constitution. This Clause also seeks to provide for procedures to be followed by Members of the Commission when conducting the meetings. It also provides for the manner in which vacancies may be filled. The same Clause confers ancillary powers upon the Commission which may help the Commission better discharge its functions.

Clause 4

Reinforces the independence of the Commission established in terms of section 235 of the Constitution.

Clause 5

Empowers the President to, by proclamation, set the seal for the Commission. The seal must be in the custody of the Executive Secretary.

Clause 6

Gives the Commission powers to establish offices throughout the country. The Commission has to establish such offices in consultation with the Minister and the Minister responsible for Finance. The offices established must be accessible to all people. Where necessary, the Commission may request the co-operation of certain entities for the Commission to better perform its functions.

Clause 7

Reiterrates the procedures for the Members of the Commission as set up in the Constitution.

Clause 8

Confers investigative functions upon the Commission. The Commission has got powers to make investigations. The Commission must not investigate any matter which is pending before any competent court.

Clause 9

Sets out the investigation procedures for the Commission. In its hearing procedures, the Commission must not be bound by strict rules of evidence. Any person who is called to appear before the Commission to defend the allegations raised against him or her must be afforded fourteen working days to respond in writing. Any person appearing

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NatioNal Peace aNd RecoNciliatioN commissioN

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before the Commission is entitled to be represented by the Legal Practitioner of his or her choice at his or her own expense. This Clause obliges Members of the Commission and their staff not to disclose information obtained except in special circumstances. The Minister responsible for National Security may issue a certificate to the effect that certain evidence or documentation must only be disclosed in camera in the best interest of defence, national security, external relations and the like. Any person who is dissatisfied by the decision of the Minister may appeal to the Commission while any appeal against the decision of the Commission lies with the Administrative Court.

Clause 10

Provides for inadmissibility of incriminating evidence. Only the person who may be compelled by the Commission to testify before the Commission will enjoy this privilege.

Clause 11

Compels persons who appear before the Commission to make an affirmation before they testify.

Clause 12

Establishes various offences for violating the provisions of this Bill. Such offences are to empower the Commission to better discharge its functions without any form of disturbance.

Clause 13

Confers upon the Commission power to make an establishment of its staff.

Clause 14

Gives power to the Commission to appoint the Executive Secretary who must assist the Commission in the discharge of its functions.

Clause 15

Provides for the manner in which various reports may be submitted to Parliament by the Commission through the Minister.

Clause 16

Provides for various sources of the Commission’s funds.

Clause 17

Compels the Commission to keep proper books of account. The Commission is allowed to appoint an Internal Auditor in terms of this Clause.

Clause 18

Of the Bill provides for procedures for auditing of the Commission’s books of accounts. In terms of this Clause, the Auditor

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