Commissions Act, 1947

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South Africa

Commissions Act, 1947

Act 8 of 1947

(Afrikaans Text signed by the Governor-General.)ACTTo make provision for conferring certain powers on commissions appointed by the Governor-General for the purpose of investigating matters of public concern, and to provide for matters incidental thereto.
BE IT ENACTED by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, as follows:—

1. Application of this Act with reference to commissions appointed by the Governor-General

Whenever the Governor-General has, before or after the commencement of this Act, appointed a commission (hereinafter referred to as a "commission") for the purpose of investigating a matter of public concern, he may by proclamation in the Gazette declare the provisions of this Act to be applicable with reference to that commission.

2. Commission’s sittings

A commission may sit at any place in the Union or the mandated territory of South-West Africa for the purpose of hearing evidence or addresses or of deliberating.

3. Commission’s powers as to witnesses

(1)For the purpose of ascertaining any matter relating to the subject of its investigations, a commission shall in the Union have the powers which a Provincial Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa has within its province, and in the mandated territory of South-West Africa have the powers which the High Court of that territory has, to summon witnesses, to cause an oath or affirmation to be administered to them, to examine them, and to call for the production of books, documents and objects.
(2)A summons for the attendance of a witness or for the production of any book, document or object before a commission shall be signed and issued by the secretary of the commission in a form prescribed by the chairman of the commission and shall be served in the same manner as a summons for the attendance of a witness at a criminal trial, in a superior court at the place where the attendance or production is to take place.
(3)If required to do so by the chairman of a commission a witness shall, before giving evidence, take an oath or make an affirmation, which oath or affirmation shall be administered by the chairman of the commission or such official of the commission as the chairman may designate.
(4)Any person who has been summoned to attend any sitting of a commission as a witness or who has given evidence before a commission shall be entitled to the same witness fees from public funds, as if he had been summoned to attend or had given evidence at a criminal trial in a superior court held at the place of such sitting, and in connection with the giving of any evidence or the production of any book or document before a commission, the law relating to privilege as applicable to a witness giving evidence or summoned to produce a book or document in such a court, shall apply.

4. Sittings to be public

All the evidence and addresses heard by a commission shall be heard in public: Provided that the chairman of the commission may, in his discretion, exclude from the place where such evidence is to be given or such address is to be delivered any class of persons or all persons whose presence at the hearing of such evidence or address is, in his opinion, not necessary or desirable.

5. Hindering or obstructing a commission

Any person who wilfully interrupts the proceedings of a commission or who wilfully hinders or obstructs a commission in the performance of its functions shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

6. Offences by witnesses

(1)Any person summoned to attend and give evidence or to produce any book, document or object before a commission who, without sufficient cause (the onus of proof whereof shall rest upon him) fails to attend at the time and place specified in the summons, or to remain in attendance until the conclusion of the enquiry or until he is excused by the chairman of the commission from further attendance, or having attended, refuses to be sworn or to make affirmation as a witness after he has been required by the chairman of the commission to do so or, having been sworn or having made affirmation, fails to answer fully and satisfactorily any question lawfully put to him, or fails to produce any book, document or object in his possession or custody or under his control, which he has been summoned to produce, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(2)Any person who after having been sworn or having made affirmation, gives false evidence before a commission on any matter, knowing such evidence to be false or not knowing or believing it to be true, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding twelve months, or to both such fine and imprisonment.

7. Short title

This Act shall be called the Commissions Act, 1947.
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History of this document

04 October 1996 amendment not yet applied
21 June 1967 amendment not yet applied
24 June 1964 amendment not yet applied
18 April 1947 this version
01 April 1947
Assented to

Cited documents 0

Documents citing this one 300

Gazette 261
  1. Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette dated 1996-02-26 number 146
  2. Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette dated 2014-08-04 number 3236
  3. Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette dated 2017-05-01 number 3835
  4. Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette dated 2020-09-14 number 4445
  5. Free State Provincial Gazette dated 1998-09-11 number 80
  6. Gauteng Provincial Gazette dated 1997-11-07 number 408
  7. Gauteng Provincial Gazette dated 1998-04-22 number 482
  8. Gauteng Provincial Gazette dated 1998-04-22 number 483
  9. Gauteng Provincial Gazette dated 2001-10-03 number 186
  10. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2012-06-28 number 767
  11. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2015-02-13 number 1308
  12. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2015-07-21 number 1411
  13. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2016-03-31 number 1647
  14. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2016-11-17 number 1757
  15. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2017-03-30 number 1807
  16. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2017-06-29 number 1842
  17. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2017-07-06 number 1846
  18. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2017-10-19 number 1888
  19. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2018-04-05 number 1940
  20. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2019-04-25 number 2071
  21. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2019-05-02 number 2072
  22. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2021-07-01 number 2301
  23. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2023-07-06 number 2569 part 1
  24. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Gazette dated 2023-09-28 number 2600
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  26. Mpumalanga Provincial Gazette dated 2018-06-01 number 2933
  27. North-West Provincial Gazette dated 2016-07-12 number 7669
  28. North-West Provincial Gazette dated 2016-09-21 number 7694
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  113. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1963-10-25 number 636
  114. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-01-31 number 707
  115. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-04-03 number 758
  116. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-06-05 number 812
  117. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-06-24 number 829
  118. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-06-26 number 831
  119. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-07-07 number 849
  120. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-07-31 number 862
  121. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1964-08-14 number 876
  122. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1965-03-12 number 1059
  123. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1965-03-19 number 1061
  124. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1965-05-28 number 1121
  125. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1965-07-30 number 1191
  126. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1966-09-23 number 1545
  127. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1966-10-17 number 1566
  128. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1966-12-15 number 1611
  129. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1967-03-08 number 1677
  130. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1967-06-21 number 1771
  131. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1967-09-15 number 1846
  132. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1968-02-23 number 1994
  133. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1968-06-28 number 2108
  134. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1968-11-22 number 2217
  135. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1969-04-11 number 2351
  136. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1969-04-11 number 2353
  137. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1971-05-14 number 3100
  138. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1972-07-14 number 3613
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  140. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1973-02-09 number 3779
  141. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1973-04-04 number 3838
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  144. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1973-06-29 number 3956
  145. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1974-01-25 number 4144
  146. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1974-06-28 number 4323
  147. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1974-10-25 number 4467
  148. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1974-11-01 number 4477
  149. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1974-11-01 number 4481
  150. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1975-06-13 number 4740
  151. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1975-07-21 number 4800
  152. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1976-11-19 number 5338
  153. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1977-02-25 number 5411
  154. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1977-06-15 number 5589
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  177. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1982-12-10 number 8473
  178. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1986-05-02 number 10211
  179. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1989-02-03 number 11683
  180. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1989-09-22 number 12100
  181. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1990-06-18 number 71
  182. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1991-07-05 number 13351
  183. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1991-07-05 number 13354
  184. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1992-04-15 number 13918
  185. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1993-06-08 number 14864
  186. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1993-07-16 number 14948
  187. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1993-09-03 number 103
  188. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1995-01-19 number 16235
  189. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1996-07-26 number 17320
  190. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1996-10-04 number 17477
  191. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1996-11-22 number 17607
  192. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1998-11-02 number 19418
  193. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1998-11-27 number 19519
  194. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1998-11-27 number 19522
  195. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1998-12-18 number 19614
  196. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1999-08-06 number 20357
  197. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2000-11-20 number 21776
  198. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2001-05-10 number 22215
  199. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2001-09-27 number 22718
  200. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2001-11-22 number 22854
  201. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2002-03-15 number 23233
  202. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2002-06-28 number 23253
  203. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2002-11-15 number 24079
  204. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2002-12-05 number 24149
  205. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2002-12-13 number 24182
  206. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2003-06-27 number 25155
  207. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2003-09-10 number 25438
  208. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2003-10-10 number 25579
  209. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2003-11-12 number 25722
  210. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2003-12-19 number 25855
  211. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2004-04-28 number 26311
  212. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2004-08-18 number 26684
  213. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2005-01-24 number 27190
  214. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2009-02-27 number 31956
  215. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2010-01-25 number 32904
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  257. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2020-06-02 number 43383
  258. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2020-12-11 number 43981 part 1
  259. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2021-04-09 number 44434
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Judgment 24
  1. Association of Regional Magistrates of Southern Africa v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others [2013] ZACC 13 (23 May 2013)
  2. Ayo Technology Solutions Limited v Access Bank South Africa Limited (12629/2022) [2022] ZAWCHC 161 (13 October 2022)
  3. Bapedi Marota Mamone v Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims and Others [2014] ZACC 36 (15 December 2014)
  4. De Lange v Smuts NO and Others [1998] ZACC 6 (28 May 1998)
  5. Democratic Alliance v President of South Africa and Others [2012] ZACC 24 (5 October 2012)
  6. Impact Financial Consultants CC and Another v Bam NO and Others (856/2019) [2021] ZASCA 54 (30 April 2021)
  7. Kamiesberg Local Municipality and Another v Koingnaas Belastingbetalersvereniging and Another ; In re: Koingnaas Belastingbetalersvereniging v Kamiesberg Local Municipality and Others (2609/2021) [2024] ZANCHC 15 (16 February 2024)
  8. Korabie v Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector, including Organs of State and Others (9946/2022) [2022] ZAWCHC 138 (20 September 2022)
  9. Legal-Aid South Africa v Magidiwana and Others (1055/2013) [2014] ZASCA 141 (26 September 2014)
  10. Member of Executive Council Responsible for Local Government, Western Cape Mazikama Local Municipality and Others (747/2021) [2022] ZASCA 167 (30 November 2022)
  11. Minister of Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs (Kwazulu-Natal) v Umlambo Trading 29 CC and Others (487/2006) [2007] ZASCA 130 (28 September 2007)
  12. National Tertiary Retirement Fund v Registrar of Pension Funds (221/2008) [2009] ZASCA 41 (31 March 2009)
  13. Nichol and Another v Registrar of Pension Funds and Others (467/2004) [2005] ZASCA 97 (29 September 2005)
  14. Premier, Gauteng and Others v Democratic Alliance and Others; All Tshwane Councillors who are Members of Economic Freedom Fighters and Another v Democratic Alliance and Others; African National Congress v Democratic Alliance and Others [2021] ZACC 34 (4 October 2021)
  15. President of the Republic of South Africa and Others v South African Rugby Football Union and Others - Judgment on recusal application [1999] ZACC 9 (4 June 1999)
  16. President of the Republic of South Africa and Others v South African Rugby Football Union and Others [1998] ZACC 21 (2 December 1998)
  17. President of the Republic of South Africa and Others v South African Rugby Football Union and Others [1999] ZACC 11 (10 September 1999)
  18. Prudential Authority of the South African Reserve Bank v Msiza and Another (A 294/2021) [2023] ZAGPPHC 529 (2 May 2023)
  19. S v Beyers Naude (130/74) [1974] ZASCA 19 (2 December 1974)
  20. Secretary of Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in Public Sector including Organs of State v Zuma [2021] ZACC 2 (28 January 2021)
  21. Seriti and Another v Judiciary Service Commission and Others (32193/2023) [2023] ZAGPJHC 303 (14 April 2023)
  22. Sonke Gender Justice NPC v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others [2020] ZACC 26 (4 December 2020)
  23. South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), AA Ewerts & Others v Kannaland Municipality (CA5/2007) [2010] ZALAC 3 (29 January 2010)
  24. Zululand District Municipality and Others v Mdedle Inc and Another (5660/2020) [2022] ZAKZPHC 20 (6 May 2022)
Legislation 15
  1. Copyright Act, 1978
  2. Directions to Address, Prevent and Combat the Spread of COVID-19 in All Courts, Court Precincts and Justice Service Points in the Republic of South Africa (Adjusted Alert Level 3)
  3. Directions to Address, Prevent and Combat the Spread of COVID-19 in All Courts, Court Precincts and Justice Service Points in the Republic of South Africa (Alert Level 3)
  4. Directions to Address, Prevent and Combat the Spread of COVID-19 in All Courts, Court Precincts and Justice Service Points in the Republic of South Africa (Alert Level 4)
  5. Directions to Address, Prevent and Combat the Spread of COVID-19 in all Courts, Court Houses and Justice Service Points in the Republic of South Africa
  6. Eastern Cape Traditional Leadership and Governance Act, 2017
  7. Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002
  8. Judges Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act, 2001
  9. Legal Aid of South Africa Regulations, 2017
  10. National Environmental Management Act, 1998
  11. Pension Funds Act, 1956
  12. Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004
  13. Promotion of Local Government Affairs Act, 1983
  14. Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013
  15. South African Law Commission Act, 1973