On 16 October, the Crime Justice and Politics programme held a seminar at the ISS office in Pretoria to launch South African Crime Quarterly (No 25, September 2008) and a monograph on the Child Justice Bill that was authored by Ann Skelton and Boyne Tshehla. Since the September edition of SACQ was focused on the Child Justice Bill it was appropriate to combine the launches of the two publications. A few days prior to the launch the Bill was approved by the National Council of Provinces and had been sent back to the parliamentary portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development for their approval of changes suggested by the NCOPP. Despite the political changes taking place at the time the Bill was sent to the Portfolio Committee, it was believed that the Child Justice Bill would be passed as legislation before the end of 2008.11.03
The launch was well attended, and drew a diverse audience (please see Appendix 2: registration list). The two speakers, Ann Skelton and Cheryl Frank presented complimentary papers. Skelton spoke extensively about the role civil society organisations played in shaping the Child Justice Bill and ensuring that the final draft of the legislation reflected the views of civil society with regard to how children in conflict with the law should be dealt with. She drew lessons from the process arguing that civil society can be effective in bringing about positive changes in legislation if they engage with parliament, present evidence to show what works and what does not, and commit time and resources to engage with policy makers.
Cheryl Frank spoke about the philosophy behind the Bill and what it seeks to achieve. She reflected the lessons learned by RAPCAN in working with young offenders and victims and how this experience was used to inform the current form of the Child Justice Bill.
This seminar is made possible by funding from the Hanns Sidel Stiftung