Meeting with the delegation from Mozambique

Constitutional Review Committee

30 May 2012
Chairperson: Mr S Holomisa (ANC) and Mr B Mnguni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met with a delegation from the Mozambican Parliament. The delegates served on the Committee for the Revision of the Constitution, which had been established to review the Mozambican Constitution. The purpose of their visit was to find out more about the work of the Committee. 
The delegates asked whether private members could propose constitutional amendments, what the proportion of the diverse parties that participated in the Committee was, what sort of majority was required to amend the Constitution and about the role of the judiciary and the Executive played in the reviewing of the Constitution.

Meeting report

Mr Mnguni welcomed the delegates from Mozambique and explained that the Committee had two chairpersons- one from the National Assembly and another from the National Council of Provinces. The latter was currently in Mozambique.
Mr Mnguni opened the floor to Members to illustrate the main role the Committee had to play with regards to its jurisdiction. Mr S Neves a Staff Member and the Interpreter of the Mozambique Members of Parliament was the main interpreter in the meeting.

Mr A Guam (ANC) stated that the Committee’s existence was based on the Constitution. The Constitution required that the Committee review it annually. As a result, the Committee advertised to the public to make submissions on what needed to be amended or reviewed from the Constitution. The process is then taken through Parliament.

Mr S Swarts (ACDP) added that private members may also bring constitutional amendments. However, they would have to persuade the majority party if they wanted their proposal to succeed. In addition, he added that the participation and involvement of all political parties was very significant and present in the Committee.

Mr E Comiche the Chairperson of the Planning and Budgeting Commission in Mozambique, gave a picture of the situation in his country. The National Assembly was composed of 200 deputy directors. Since 1990, there had been a significant realisation of multi partisan which was not visible before the 1990. In December last year, the Republic of Mozambique established an Adhoc Committee for the Constitution. The main purpose for the visit was to learn from South African experienced in relation to its transformation document. The Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique was approved after extensive considerations.

Mr J Katupha, a member of the Mozambique House of Parliament, probed whether the essence of reviewing the Constitution annually crystallised the realities of the Constitution. Secondly, he asked whether parties that were not in Parliament had access to participate in the Constitutional Review. Lastly, he also wanted to know whether the judiciary formed part of the Committee

Mr M Sevene, a member of the Mozambique Parliament, wanted to know the proportion of the diverse parties that participated in the Adhoc Committee. Secondly, he asked what sort of majority was required to amend the Constitution. Lastly, he probed the mechanisms which existed to ensure the success of the Review Committee

Ms C Sortane, a member of the Mozambique Parliament, posed three questions to the Committee. Firstly, she wanted to know in which period the amendments of appeals took place. Secondly, she asked whether Private Members Bills could be proposed by Members of Parliament or individuals. Finally, she wanted know whether the Executive played any role in the process of reviewing the Constitution

Mr Guam replied that the Constitutional Court played a major role in testing and upholding the essence of the Constitution. The main purpose of the Committee was to allow the public to participate and feel more involved in the Constitutional framework .M embers of the Judiciary were not members of the Committee due to the separation of powers, however if specific submissions were given to the Committee then they may hold meeting in conjunction with the Judiciary. The Constitution could be amended by a two thirds majority in the National Assembly. An amendment to the Bill of Rights required a 75% vote in the National Assembly.

Mr Swarts stated that the principle of proportional representation applied to the composition of the Committee and most parties served on it. In addition, he explained that a separate committee dealt with the legislative proposals of individual Members of Parliament. Members of Parliament could bring any issue forward even constitutional amendments.
Mr Holomisa addressed the question concerning the Executive. The Executive did not sit in when Committee discussed constitutional amendments. This was also due to the separation of powers. The Executive did not participate in the deliberations of the Committee. Submissions were done annually and not all submissions required an amendment. There were currently six issues from the Constitution which had been submitted for review. Section 25 of the Constitution which dealt with the property clause was also being reviewed and each political party was currently discussing whether it should be amended or not .The lastly appreciated the delegation of the Mozambique House of Parliament

Mr Comiche thanked the Committee for welcoming its delegation and hoped that there would be a continuous progress in strengthening the relationship between the two Committees

Mr Holomisa wished the best for the delegates and also assured the collaboration and working together of both Committees.

The meeting was adjourned.


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