Bills before Parliament and Legislation in 2017; Parliamentary Programme Framework for 2018

Joint Rules

16 November 2017
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Meeting Summary

JOINT PROGRAMME COMMITTEE

Chairpersons:                                                                         Committee Secretaries:

Ms B Mbete: Speaker of the NA                                                          Andrew Mbanga (2623

Ms T R Modise: Chairperson of the NCOP                                           Jeremy Michaels (3245

 

DRAFT MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Thursday, 16 November 2017 at 09:15

E249

 

Present:

 

Tsenoli, S L (Deputy Speaker)

Modise T R (Chairperson of the NCOP)

 

National Assembly

National Council of Provinces

Bhengu, F

Dikgale M C

Didiza, A T (House Chairperson)

Fihlani, K

Khubisa, Prof N M

Hlongwa, B 

Koornhof, Dr G W (Parliamentary Counsellor to the Deputy President)

Labuschagne, C

Mkhaliphi, H O 

Khawula, M

Mthembu, J M (Chief Whip of the Majority Party)

Lekwene, M

Steenhuisen, J H (Chief Whip of the Opposition)

Mampuru, T K

Waters, M 

Madala, M

 

Mdaka, F P

 

Mohai, S J

 

Moleleki, S

 

Moshodi, M L

 

Mokwele, T

 

Mthimunye, S G

 

Ncitha, Z

 

Nzimande, L

 

Parkies, J P

 

Stock, D M

 

Pretorius, P J C

 

Wiley, M

 

 

Staff in attendance:

Adv. M E Phindela (Acting-Deputy Secretary to Parliament), M Xaso (Secretary to the NA), N Bell (CLSO), S Tshabalala (Committee Section), SALGA and Provincial Liaison Officers.

 

 

  1. Opening and welcome

 

The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly declared the meeting open and welcomed all present. 

 

 

  1. Apologies

 

Apologies were tendered on behalf of the Speaker of the National Assembly, House Chairpersons Ms MG Boroto and Mr CT Frolick, Ms DE Dlakude (Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party), Messrs NV Mente, N Singh, NF Shivambu Ms NWA Mazzone, Mr JP Tau (Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP), Mr AJ Nyambi (House Chairperson: Committees, Oversight,Cooperative Government and Intergovernmental Relations), Mr BG Nthebe (Provincial Whip – North West) and Ms T Motara (Provincial Whip – 
Gauteng).

 

  1. Consideration of agenda

 

The agenda, as proposed, was adopted.

 

  1. Consideration of the Minutes of 9 March 2017

 

Correction: page 6: “He said that during the visit to the Eastern Cape during the previous visit, the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training was part of the programme and indicated that would be the practice in the future”.

 

On the proposal of Mr Bhengu, seconded by Ms Mampuru, the minutes of 9 March 2017, as amended were adopted.

 

  1. Matters arising

 

Mr Steenhuisen said that the concern regarding the processing of legislation was raised in the previous meeting and that it was clear that by the end of 2017 Parliament would have finalized the lowest number of bills since 1994. He emphasized the need to have a  work study conducted to ascertain the expected timeframe to process legislation and to establish what would be a realistic number of bills to process within a year. The work study would further assist in ensuring that Parliament process bills of high quality, avoid the repeat of the low number of bills finalized in 2017 and ensure that bills don’t pile up closer to the end of the year and compromise the quality of legislation passed.

 

The Deputy Speaker indicated the Speakers Forum has commissioned a study by the High Level Panel on the assessment of key legislation and the acceleration of fundamental changes that address some of the concern raised by Mr Steenhuisen. He said that the report was expected to be tabled before the end of November 2017. It was AGREED that the work study be conducted by the administration of the two Houses  including, the historical background to the processing of legislation, methodology and timeframes required by both Houses to finalize legislation. The draft work study should be made available to members before Parliament rise at the end of 2017.  

 

 

6.       Report on Bills before Parliament and Legislation in 2017

 

Mr Bell presented a report on the status of Bills before Parliament. He advised that the Leader of Government Business indicated in a letter received on 16 March 2017 the list of Bills to be introduced in 2017. The list was amended in September 2017 to include 10 bills of which 4 were introduced and an addition 3 were in the process of being introduced. At the request of the Chief Whip, it was AGREED that the report also include the number of bills finalized during the previous year.

 

 

 

  1. Consideration of Parliamentary Programme Framework for 2018

 

Mr Parkies presented the draft parliamentary framework highlighting the following  NCOP activities:

 

In the First Term, Members training was scheduled from 30 – 31 January followed by the NCOP Review Session from 6 – 7 February. The NCOP Committees Strategic Planning (Annual Review) Session will take place from 27 – 28 February. The Taking Parliament to the People - Report Back Session: Eastern Cape was scheduled from 12 – 16 March.

 

In the Second Term, the Local Government Week will take place from 23 – 26 April and Committees Oversight Week from 8 – 11 May.  Question to the Deputy President was scheduled in May. The consideration of the Appropriation Bills was provisionally scheduled on 28 June.

 

In the Third Term, Taking Parliament to the People - Report Back Session: Free State  was scheduled from 28 – 31 August. Question to the Deputy President was scheduled in September and Preliminary oversight visits – Taking Parliament to the People: Gauteng from 17 – 21 September.  

 

In the Fourth Term, Provincial Week will take place from 16 – 19 October. Questions to the President were scheduled in October or November, as well as Questions to the Deputy President in November. Taking Parliament to the People: Gauteng main event was scheduled for 19 – 23 November, including the President’s Annual Address to the NCOP on 23 November.

 

Mr Bhengu also presented the draft Parliamentary Programme Framework for 2018 with specific reference to the National Assembly as follows:

 

The Constituency Period was scheduled from 8 – 22 January, followed by Member Training from 23 – 26 January. Committee will be meeting from 30 January – 7 February. The Joint Sitting on the State of the nation Address on 8 February will be followed by the debate on 13 – 14 February and the reply by the President to the debate on 15 February. The Budget Speech was scheduled for 21 February. Questions to the Deputy President were scheduled on 28 February and 14 March, as well as Questions to the President provisionally scheduled on 8 March. The National Assembly debate on the Fiscal Framework was provisionally scheduled on 13 March, followed by the Tabling of departmental strategic plans on 14 March and Plenary on Division of Revenue Bill on 15 March.

 

In the Second Term, Committees were scheduled for 17 April – 4 May. Plenaries were scheduled from 8 – 11 May and Budget Vote debates from 15 May – 1 June. Budget Votes 1 (Presidency), 2 (Parliament) and the Decision on the Appropriation Bill will take place in May.  On 9 – 12 May, plenaries were scheduled. The Constituency Period was scheduled for 2– 31 July.

 

In the Third Term, Committees/oversight was scheduled from 31 – 17 August.  On 21 August – 7 September, plenaries were scheduled and Committees/ oversight from 11 – 14 September. The Constituency Period was scheduled for 25 September – 8 October.

 

In the Fourth Term, Budgetary Reviews and Recommendation Reports were scheduled for 9 – 19 October.  Plenaries were scheduled from 16 October – 30 November. The Tabling of the 2018 Medium – Term Budget Policy Statement and Adjustments Budget and; the Revised Fiscal Framework were scheduled in October. The Division of Revenue Bill and the decision on the Adjustments Appropriation Bill will take place in November. On 3 - 14 December and 18 December – January 2019, the Constituency Period and Leave Period were scheduled, respectively.

 

Mr Parkies further proposed that Joint Sittings be convened to debate Human Rights Day, Freedom Day and Women’s Day.

 

The Deputy Speaker said that the 20th year of the White Paper on Local Government will be commemorated in 2018 and proposed that the Local Government Week be a joint programme between the two Houses, which will include external stakeholder. He further suggested that the programme should reflect on the milestones and future of Local Government.

 

Mr Steenhuisen stated that the timeframe for the processing of the Medium Term Budget and Revised Fiscal Framework should be reconsidered. The Money Bills Amendment Act should be used to recalculate the timeframes for the processing of these financial instruments in order to avoid the situation whereby the programme was being compressed in order to comply with the date of closing of Parliament at the end of the year. After this process has been  completed, the Minister of Finance should be advised on a suitable date to table the 2018 Medium – Term Budget Policy Statement in order for Parliament to be afforded enough time to deal with these financial instruments. Mr Steenhuisen further made reference to Joint Sittings and the importance of commemorating these dates. He suggested that the two Houses schedule these debates separately and that an analysis on members’ attendance to Joint Sittings should be conducted.

 

The Chief Whip said that Joint Sittings contribute to how Parliament define itself in the context of the Republic of South Africa and from that perspective the two Houses should clearly schedule it on the Parliamentary Programme Framework. He further said that in order to prevent the perception of duplication of the work in National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces the two Houses should clearly distinguish what make them unique in order to complement each other. He suggested that an analysis in this regard be conducted and concluded by the start of 2018.

 

 House Chairperson Ms Didiza proposed that one Joint Sitting be convened to debate Human Rights Day and Freedom Day, given the close proximity of these dates. She suggested that the theme for the debate should have a focus on Human Rights in the context of Freedom Day. Instead of a Joint Sitting to commemorate Women’s Day a Women’s Parliament should be arranged that will include civil society. Further, a series of events to celebrate Africa Day, culminating in a seminar that will be concluded with a cocktail dinner and keynote speaker should be considered.  The Local Government Week theme should maybe focus on the 20 years of Local Government and benefits of local government to the people of South Africa, which could also include a number of events that will not necessarily be in conflict with the programmes of the two Houses. Creative ways in conjunction with tertiary education institutions should be explored wherein members of parliament could be part of panel discussions.

 

The Deputy Speaker said that interactive engagement with people with disabilities should be incorporated in the Parliamentary Programme in the same matter as suggested by 

Ms Didiza.

 

On the proposal of the Chief Whip it was AGREED that mini plenaries should be incorporated into the Programme Framework.

 

It was AGREED that the Parliamentary Programme Framework as amended be adopted.

 

8.       Closure

 

The meeting adjourned at 09:54.

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                        ___________________________

B MBETE, MP                                                              T R MODISE, MP

SPEAKER OF THE NA                                                 CHAIRPERSON OF THE

                                                                                    NCOP

 

Meeting report

Minutes for this committee meeting are not yet available.

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