CHAPTER 12
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (POWERS AND PRIVILEGES) ACT

Arrangement of Sections

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

PART II
PRIVILEGES OF THE ASSEMBLY AND ITS OFFICERS

   3.   Freedom of speech and debate

   4.   Immunity from legal proceedings

   5.   Freedom from arrest

   6.   Exemption from certain services

   7.   Power to exclude strangers

   8.   Evidence of proceedings in Assembly or committee not to be given without leave

   9.   Civil process not to be served nor members arrested on civil process within precincts of the Assembly Chamber

PART III
EVIDENCE

   10.   Power to order attendance of witnesses

   11.   Attendance to be notified by summons

   12.   Witnesses may be examined on oath

   13.   Objection to answer question or produce papers

   14.   Privileges of witnesses

   15.   Certificate issued to witnesses making full disclosure to be a bar to civil or criminal proceedings

   16.   False evidence

   17.   Interference with witnesses

   18.   False documents

   19.   Contempt

   20.   Questions relating to evidence and production of documents before the Assembly or a committee to be determined in accordance with usage of Parliament

PART IV
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

   21.   Penalty where not otherwise provided

   22.   Corrupt or improper practices

   23.   Other offences against members and officers

   24.   Disobedience

   25.   Other offences

   26.   Officers of the Assembly to have powers of police officer

   27.   Sanction of Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecutions

   28.   Powers of the Assembly

PART V
MISCELLANEOUS

   29.   (Repealed)

   30.   Votes and proceedings printed by order of the Assembly to be admitted as evidence

   31.   Protection of persons responsible for publications authorised by the Assembly

   32.   Publication of proceedings without malice

   33.   Powers to be supplementary to powers under the Constitution

   34.   Courts not to exercise jurisdiction in respect of acts of the Assembly, Speaker and officers

   35.   Absence of the Speaker, etc.

AN ACT

to declare and define certain powers, privileges and immunities of the National Assembly and of the members and officers of such Assembly; to secure freedom of speech in the National Assembly; to regulate admittance to the precincts of the National Assembly; to give protection to the persons employed in the publication of the reports and other papers of the National Assembly; and to provide for matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.

[28th September, 1956]

Act 34 of 1956,

Act 4 of 1957,

Act 68 of 1957,

Act 6 of 1970,

Act 23 of 1976,

Act 13 of 1994.

GN 421 of 1962,

GN 497 of 1964.

SI 174 of 1965.

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.

2.   Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“Assembly” means the National Assembly;

“authorised committee” means any standing committee, sessional committee or select committee of the Assembly;

“Clerk” means the Clerk of the Assembly and includes any person acting as such on the authority of the Speaker;

“committee” means any standing, select or other committee of the Assembly;

“meeting” means the period between the time when the Assembly first assembles after being summoned and the time at which it is adjourned sine die;

“member” means any member of the Assembly and includes the Speaker;

“officer” means the Clerk or any other officer or person acting within the precincts of the Assembly Chamber under the orders of the Speaker;

“precincts of the Assembly Chamber” means the chamber in which the Assembly sits in session for the transaction of business, together with the offices, rooms, lobbies, galleries, courtyards, gardens and other places provided for the use or accommodation of members, officers or strangers, and any passages connecting such places, and any other places immediately contiguous thereto as may from time to time be designated by the Speaker;

“Standing Orders” means the Standing Rules and Orders of the Assembly which came into force on the 2nd August, 1974, and any order or rules of procedure amending or replacing them made in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution;

“stranger” means any person other than a member or an officer;

“votes and proceedings” means the official daily record of the proceedings in the Assembly.

[S 2 am by Act 68 of 1957 ; S.I. 174 of 1965 ; 23 of 1976.]

PART II
PRIVILEGES OF THE ASSEMBLY AND ITS OFFICERS

3.   Freedom of speech and debate

There shall be freedom of speech and debate in the Assembly. Such freedom of speech and debate shall not be liable to be questioned in any court or place outside the Assembly.

4.   Immunity from legal proceedings

No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, the Assembly or to a committee thereof or by reason of any matter or thing brought by him therein by petition, Bill, resolution, motion or otherwise.

5.   Freedom from arrest

For the duration of a meeting members shall enjoy freedom from arrest for any civil debt except a debt the contraction of which constitutes a criminal offence.

6.   Exemption from certain services

   (1) No member or officer shall be required to serve as an assessor at any proceedings in any court or other place.

   (2) Save by the leave of the Assembly first obtained, no member or officer shall be required, while attending the Assembly, to attend as a witness in any civil proceedings in any court or in any proceedings before any commission appointed under the Inquiries Act, unless that court or commission holds its sittings at the seat of the Assembly.

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