Justice clarifies draft Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DJCOD) has urged the public to ensure that they source and give accurate information on the provisions of the new draft Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill.

This after a post on the social media app, TikTok, inadvertently shared incorrect information about the new draft bill. The post has since been deleted.

“All persons are, no doubt, entitled to their views and to freedom of expression, however threats, misinformation, fake news, hyperbolic utterances and insults serve no purpose in a constitutional democracy, nor does it assist with the legislative process.

“It is most concerning that vitriolic, racist and expletive-ridden comments and insults have now been directed at public servants who are seized with this very critical work of drafting legislation and advancing our constitutional principles in all spheres of society,” the department said on Wednesday.

The DJCOD explained that the older Trespassing Act – enacted some 63 years ago – is an “outdated piece of legislation” that is limited and “not fit for purpose”.

“The new proposed Bill extends the remedies to combat trespassing beyond just land and buildings by providing a much wider definition of “premises”. The proposed Bill thus gives the owner or lawful occupier more protection than they had before.

“The draft Bill makes it clear that a person who enters a premises without permission or a lawful reason is guilty of an offence. If the intruder does not leave the premises, the South African Police Service must assist to remove the person. If a person is found guilty of an offence in terms of the Bill, they can face a fine and/or imprisonment for a period of up to two years,” the department said.

The draft bill also does not change other crimes like theft, housebreaking and robbery with the law of self-defence also remaining intact.

The department has encouraged the public to submit their comments on the draft bill.

“The draft bill was published by the [department] for initial comments. Once the deadline for the receipt of the comments has passed, all comments will be considered and evaluated and the draft bill will be redrafted, taking these inputs into account.

“Only then will the Bill be sent to Cabinet for approval for introduction into Parliament. Once in Parliament, the public will have further opportunities to make input on the Bill as it passes through the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces,” the DJCOD said.

The bill has been published for public comment and can be accessed on https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/invitations/20220812-InviteToComment-UnlawfulEnteringOnPremisesBill.pdf

Comments must be submitted to Ms A Botha on or before 16 September 2022.

Comments can be posted to: The Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development, Private Bag X 81, Pretoria, 0001. Marked for the attention of Ms A Botha.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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