South Africa’s cabinet has approved the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Amendment Bill of 2022 and it will now be submitted to Parliament for further processing.
Cabinet gave the nod to the new bill at a virtual meeting on 17 August 2022, and it will be presented to Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Services Portfolio Committee meeting on 30 August 2022.
MP’s will have to rush the Bill through Parliament in order to meet a Constitutional Court deadline to replace the “unconstitutional” Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992. Some members of the Portfolio Committee learnt of this for the first time at their meeting last week, and expressed dismay on hearing they had only three and a half months to get the Bill passed into law, even though Concourt made the ruling in 2020..
This is taken from the Cabinet statement of 17 August 2022 where it appeared as item No 6.
6. Drugs and Drug Trafficking Amendment Bill of 2022
6.1. Cabinet approved the submission to Parliament of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Amendment Bill of 2022 for further processing. The Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, 1992 (Act 140 of 1992) criminalises the manufacturing and supply of any substance included under the Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the Act.
6.2. The amendments address the invalidity of Section 63, which was found to be unconstitutional in respect of the Minister being provided with the rights to amend the schedules without the involvement of the legislative process.
6.3. In 2020, the Constitutional Court declared Section 63 of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992 unconstitutional and suspended the invalidity to 17 December 2022 to provide for Parliament to correct the defect.
Cabinet also touched on cannabis on a separate matter – this month’s Presidential visit to Sedibeng in the Vaal Triangle, earmarked as a special economic zone (SEZ) where cannabis will be cultivated on an industrial scale.
The Cabinet said the President held an “imbizo” at Sedibeng on 12 August 2022 and reported:
The Sedibeng District has made progress in operationalising the Vaal River Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which holds potential for the reindustrialisation of the region, province and country. The Vaal River SEZ plans to host the following critical sectors: The new Vaal River Smart City; Green Hydrogen Innovation Hub; cannabis hub; agro-logistics; aerotropolis; aerodrome; air freight and the revitalised steel manufacturing sector.