Foreign Service Bill: adoption

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International Relations

22 November 2018
Chairperson: Mr M Masango (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee report on the Foreign Service Bill was adopted, after Members had made grammatical and word choice amendments.

Meeting report

Foreign Service Bill adoption

The Chairperson said as matter of procedure, Members had to look at proofs A and B to see what had been agreed to yesterday, and to adopt that for record purposes. The adoption of the draft report as discussed yesterday was the main item for the day.

The Members went through the report page by page.

Page 1

The Chairperson said the title had to be corrected to “Report of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation on the Foreign Service Bill [B 35-2015], dated 22 November 2018”.

“1. Background to the Bill” had to be changed to “1. Background on the Bill”.

First Paragraph

Ms M Lesoma (ANC) said the last line in the paragraph should say “The Bill was published on 18 July 2016, and translated into 11 official languages for public comments in the national and provincial media,” and not “The Bill was published on 18 July 2016, and translated into 11 official languages for the national and provincial media”.

Ms S Kalyan (DA) asked if this referred to the Act in the media.

Ms Lesoma said it was an assumption

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Lesoma.

Second Paragraph

The Chairperson said in the first line, the use of the word “minimal” did not appear appropriate. With Ms Lesoma and Kalyan’s assistance, the sentence was changed to “The resultant challenge was that the initial response was minimal, with only four individuals and organisations having submitted written submissions.”

Ms Kalyan said in line 2, it should be corrected to “extended the period” instead of “… had to leave the period for submissions open,” and insert “subsequently” instead of “subsequent to this move”.

Third paragraph

The Chairperson said certain letters should be in capital letters, as they were events. It must be decided if it was a public seminar or hearing seminar.

Ms Kalyan said it had to be corrected to “Public Seminar”. She added that the last sentence on the page did not make sense.

Mr David Madlala, Committee Researcher, said it should say “labour organisations” instead of “the labour…”

Ms Kalyan corrected the sentence to “The Public Seminar was able to reach a wider range of stakeholders. Labour organisations and practitioners of Foreign Service were among the last stakeholders to be engaged on 17 April 2018 in Pretoria”.  She asked if it was January 2018 or 2017 in the third line from the bottom.

The Chairperson responded that it was 2017.

Mr D Bergman(DA) asked if the April date was for 2018 or 2017 in the last line.

Ms Kalyan said it was 2018.

Page 2

First paragraph

Ms Kalyan proposed the wording of “during the committee engagement with the department” and remove “When engaging with departments”.

The Chairperson said in line 4, it had to state “fact finding” and not “investigative/fact-finding”. He questioned the placing of “assets” in quotation marks in the last line of the paragraph.

Mr Madlala said that he thought that the intention of the quotation marks on assets was to include movable and immovable assets.

Ms Kalyan said the English needed to be corrected. She suggested the sentence be changed to ”The oversight visit was linked to clause 8, ‘assets’ of the Bill”.

Second paragraph

Ms T Kenye (ANC) referred to the second paragraph, and said “and” should be removed when the dates were listed, and commas should be inserted instead.

Ms Kalyan said it should read “… and formally considered and adopted the Bill on 21 November 2018”.

Page 3

Second Paragraph

Ms Kalyan said that in the third line, the use of “is not consistent” was not appropriate and it should be corrected.

Mr Bergman agreed with Ms Kalyan.

Ms Kalyan said it should be corrected to “… is inconsistent and in many cases not optimal.”

Third paragraph

The Chairperson suggested that in the first line, the word “professional” should be included. The sentence had to read “… Bill would provide for a single and professional Foreign Service…,” and not “…Bill would provide for a single Foreign Service…”.

Ms Kalyan called for the omission of the word “system” after the Foreign Service in the first line.

Fourth paragraph

Ms Lesoma, in the first line, suggested it should state “The Committee was convinced”.

Mr Bergman suggested that the tense should not be changed from the present to the past. They should not change the “was,” keep the “is,” remove “further” and change “recognise” to “recognises”.

Ms D Raphuti (ANC), in the last line of the paragraph, said “different” and “diverse” are one and the same.

The Chairperson responded that it was not the same. He said it was referring to diversities among countries and secondly, political economic contexts and diplomatic environments, which were different.

Page 4

First paragraph

Ms Kalyan said it was “ …challenges faced…” not “…challenges posed…”.

Second paragraph

Ms Kenye said in the first line it had to be “…is of the view…,” and not “was of the view”.

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Kenye.

Ms Raphuti reiterated that diversity meant difference.

Mr Bergman added that although Ms Raphuti was correct, the two words could still be used in the same sentence.

Paragraph 3

Mr Bergman said that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) did not dissent from the entire Bill, but a clause.

Ms Kalyan said the lines on the dissenting view of the EFF had to be removed from the “2. Majority View” section and incorporated into the “4. Dissenting view of Economic Freedom Fighters” section.

Ms Raphuti said she could not understand that most parties had been involved in the processes of the Bill, but the EFF had attended only one meeting and their view still appeared in the report.

Mr M Maila (ANC) said the EFF had participated in the process, but the Members who had been involved in the process had alternated.

The Chairperson added that it was procedure to include the majority and minority views.

Ms Kenye said in the second line, “as a minority party” should be changed to “as a minority view”.

Page 5.  Recommendation

Ms Kalyan said “(EFF dissenting)” had to be omitted from the first line.

Foreign Service Bill ‘B’ version

Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) asked for clarity on page 3 of the Bill 35B, clause 2(1).

Mr Bergman said it was adequate, because the person could come from South Africa or another country.

Mr Mpumlwana, on page 3, asked if the definition of the member of the foreign service included locally recruited South Africans.

Mr Maila asked if it was deliberations or the adoption of the report.

Mr Bergman said these were not dictionary definitions, but definitions determined specifically for the Bill.

Mr Mpumlwana said locally recruited staff were not necessarily accredited.

The Chairperson responded that locally recruited members were accredited by missions, therefore the definition for now was adequate. 

Mr Maila said as Members had deliberated on the bill, he moved the adoption of the report with the proposed amendments. He was seconded by Ms Raphuti and Mr Bergman. The report was adopted.

The Chairperson said the Chief Whip had asked how far the bill process was, and had requested a letter from the Chairperson.

The meeting was adjourned

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