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Gukurahundi rears its ugly head again as legislators discuss Mphoko’s Peace and Reconciliation bill

4.2    There is need to have an interpretation section that defines key terms in accordance with internationally accepted standards. In its present format, the Bill does not define a victim, conflict, dispute, amnesty, perpetrator, post-conflict justice, torture and reconciliation among other terms. The interpretation section is too weak and evidently shows poor drafting.

4.3      Powers of the Commission must directly correspond with its functions.

4.4    It is the Committee’s view that the issuance of a Ministerial certificate in the public interest is universal practice necessary for the preservation of law and order. As such, while some members of the public expressed reservations with this, it is a clause that is necessary for effective governance and maintenance of peace which are key state functions.

 4.5    The Committee noted that in the event that the Commission is operationalised, its offices should be decentralised. Having this clause in the Bill, effectively provides a legal instrument to compel the commission to open offices closer to the people.

4.6    It is the Committee’s finding that the Bill as earlier stated does not adequately define its terms and references. There is need to clearly define and list the functions of the Commission vis-a-vis the functions of the ZHRC. Notably also, is the fact that the Commission’s operations are only limited to civil proceedings before the court but by implication, the Bill suggests that the Commission proceed to entertain a matter that is pending and/or ongoing  in the criminal matters.

 4.7      Regarding the 14 day period afforded suspects to respond in writing by the Commission, it is the Committee’s view that the Constitution in terms of section 70, affords such persons rights to adequately prepare for their defence. As such, the 14 day period is considered to be reasonable and justifiable in a democratic society as ours.

Again in terms of section 69 (4) of the Constitution, it  affords anyone the right at their own expense to choose and be represented by a legal practitioner before any court, tribunal or forum. As such, it is the Committee’s recommendation that this provision be upheld.

4.8      Regarding donations to the Commission, it is the Committee’s view that any nation would safeguard its independence and sovereignty by ensuring that donations from hostile nations or organisations meant to foment discontent are not allowed.

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