The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DJCOD) has urged the public to ensure they stock up and give accurate information on the provisions of the new draft law on illegal entry into premises.
This after a post on social media app, TikTok, inadvertently shared incorrect information about the new bill. The post has since been deleted.
“All people are, without a doubt, entitled to their opinions and to freedom of expression, but threats, misinformation, fake news, hyperbolic remarks and insults serve no purpose in a constitutional democracy, and no do not help the legislative process either.
“It is very concerning that vitriolic, racist and swearing comments and insults are now being directed at public officials who are seized of this very critical work of drafting laws and promoting our constitutional principles in all spheres of society” , the ministry said on Wednesday.
The DJCOD explained that the old trespassing law – enacted some 63 years ago – is “outdated legislation” that is limited and “unsuitable for its purpose”.
“The proposed new bill expands trespass remedies beyond land and buildings by providing a much broader definition of ‘premises’. The proposed bill thus gives the owner or occupier legal more protection than before.
“The Bill makes it clear that a person who enters premises without permission or for a lawful reason is guilty of an offence. If the intruder does not leave the premises, the South African Police Service shall assist in get the person out. If a person is found guilty of an offense under the bill, they may be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment for up to two years,” said said the ministry.
The bill also leaves other crimes like theft, burglary and robbery unchanged, with the law on self-defense also remaining intact.
The ministry encouraged the public to submit comments on the bill.
“The bill was published by the [department] for the first comments. Once the comment deadline has passed, all comments will be reviewed and assessed and the draft bill will be redrafted taking these contributions into account.
“Only then will the Bill be sent to Cabinet for approval for presentation to Parliament. Once in Parliament, there will be further opportunities for the public to comment on the Bill during its stint in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces,” DJCOD said. .
The bill has been released for public comment and can be viewed at https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/invitations/20220812-InviteToComment-UnlawfulEnteringOnPremisesBill.pdf
Comments should be submitted to Ms. A Botha no later than September 16, 2022.
Comments can be sent to: The Managing Director: Justice and Constitutional Development, Private Bag X 81, Pretoria, 0001. Marked for the attention of Ms A Botha.
Email your comments to [email protected]
Send a fax to 012 406 4632.
(With contributions from the South African government press release)