The Progressive Professionals Forum and the Black Business Council have vehemently opposed the Bill – written to combat corruption‚ white collar crime‚ terrorism and money laundering by placing greater scrutiny on the financial affairs of prominent individuals and the politically connected.
Zuma returned the Bill to Parliament last year citing concerns that a clause allowing for searches without a warrant was unconstitutional because it limited the right to privacy.
Addressing Parliament’s Finance committee‚ Manyi said “we will not allow the President to sign into law something that will plunge this country into crisis”.
“We will interdict him in a court of law if he signs this because he won’t be doing his duty in applying the Constitution‚” he said.
Manyi‚ who is often linked to the Gupta family and EFF MP Floyd Shivambu‚ became involved in a war of words after Shivambu suggested that there were “criminal organisations” opposed to the enactment of the Bill.
Manyi took exception to the statement‚ indicating that the BBC and PPF were not criminal even though Shivambu never actually named them. Committee chair Yunis Carrim requested Shivambu to withdraw the statement but he declined‚ saying there were many “black puppets” being used to “defend the narrow interests of the Gupta family”.
Black Business Council President Danisa Baloyi said the Bill had the potential to impact on South Africa’s sovereignty and democracy “by virtue of what is omitted” from it.
She alleged that even though it was not even enacted‚ banks were already closing the accounts of “hard working” BBC members and listing others as politically exposed persons (or PEPS). The BBC and the PPF wrote to the President last year requesting that he not sign the Bill because several clauses were unconstitutional.
Parliament‚ however‚ is only able to address specific issues identified by Zuma when he sends it back.
Legal opinions on behalf of the Speaker of the National Assembly‚ the Treasury‚ the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) and the Banking Association of South Africa all indicated that the Bill in its current form would pass constitutional muster.
Parliamentary legal advisor Frank Jenkins said that once Parliament sent the Bill back to Zuma‚ he had a choice of whether to sign it or challenge it in the Constitutional Court.
Advocate Ishmael Semenya‚ providing legal opinion for the Speaker of the National Assembly‚ said he believed that the Bill‚ as it currently stands‚ would survive “constitutional scrutiny and pass muster”.
Semenya told the committee that the Constitutional Court‚ in five cases‚ had not ruled that searches could not be conducted without a warrant‚ but that these had to be the “exception to the rule” and there had to be justification for such a search to be conducted.
Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett‚ presenting legal opinion on behalf of the National Treasury‚ said all the legal views were independent‚ but showed some “commonality”.
He said his advice was much the same as that presented by Semenya although “a little more conservative”.
He suggested that “minor adjustments” be specifically built into the Bill to limit the harm caused by such a search‚ to avoid “legal combustion”.
CASAC’s Lawson Naidoo urged the committee to send the Bill back to the president “unchanged”.
TMG Digital/The Times