The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DJ) has called on the public to source and provide accurate information on the provisions of the new trespassing bill.

A TikTok post inadvertently shared incorrect information about the new bill. The post has since been removed.

“All people are undoubtedly entitled to their views and to freedom of expression, but threats, misinformation, fake news, hyperbolic statements and insults serve no purpose in a constitutional democracy and do not assist the legislative process.

“It is deeply concerning that vitriolic, racist and abusive comments and insults are now aimed at public servants who do this very important job of developing legislation and promoting our constitutional principles in all areas of society,” it said yesterday.

The DJ explained that the Unauthorized Unlawful Access Act, passed some 63 years ago, was “outdated legislation” that was limited in nature and “not fit for purpose”.

“The proposed new bill extends the remedies for trespassing to land and building boundaries by providing a much broader definition of ‘premises.’ Therefore, the proposed bill gives the owner or legal occupier more protection than they had before.

β€œThe draft law is clear that a person who enters premises without permission or lawful reason is guilty of an offence. If the intruder does not leave the premises, the South African Police Service must assist in removing the person. If a person is found guilty of committing an offense provided for by the bill, he may be fined and/or imprisoned for up to two years.”

The bill also makes no changes to other crimes such as theft, burglary and robbery, while the law on self-defense also remains unchanged.

“The draft law has been published [department] for initial comments. After the deadline for receiving comments, all comments will be reviewed and evaluated, and the draft law will be revised taking these comments into account.

READ ALSO: Concerns over new anti-access law

“Only after that, the bill will be sent to the cabinet for approval to be introduced in the parliament. Once in parliament, the public will have further opportunities to contribute to the bill as it moves through the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces,” said the DJ.

The bill has been released for public comment and is available here. Comments must be sent no later than September 16. Comments can also be sent to: Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development, Private Bag X 81, Pretoria, 0001 – marked for the attention of Ms Botha. Or email AlBotha@justice. gov.za or fax 012-406-4632.

– SAnews.gov.za

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