The Multi-party Women’s Caucus held its first meeting of the sixth term of Parliament to elect its Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and a five-Member Steering Committee.
The duly elected Members were as follows:
Ms K Bilankulu (ANC) - Chairperson
Ms P Kopane (DA) - Deputy Chairperson
Ms M Pilane-Majake (ANC)
Ms N Tolashe (ANC)
Ms M Semenya (ANC)
Ms K Tlhomelang (ANC)
Ms G Tseke (ANC)
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) was nominated and seconded to the Steering Committee as an Alternate after Members from the opposition expressed concern about their non-inclusion and lack of multi-partyism in the said Committee.
Ms Mandy Baile, Committee Secretary, presided over the election of the Chairperson as per parliamentary Rules. She called for nominations for the position of Chairperson from Members present.
Election of Chairperson
Ms Z Nkomo (ANC) nominated Ms K Bilankulu (ANC) for the position of Chairperson.
Ms B Dlulane (ANC) seconded the nomination.
Ms Bilankulu accepted the nomination.
Ms Baile duly declared Ms Bilankulu the Caucus Chairperson.
The elected Chairperson assumed her position and thanked Members for affording her the opportunity to serve in this capacity. She hoped the Caucus would be taken forward during the sixth term of Parliament. She presided over the election of a Deputy Chairperson and called for nominations for the position. Nominations would have to come from opposition parties.
Election of Deputy Chairperson
Ms P Kopane (DA) was nominated for the position of Deputy Chairperson.
Ms Kopane accepted the nomination.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) seconded the nomination.
The Chairperson duly declared Ms Kopane as the Deputy Chairperson of the Caucus.
Election of five-Member Steering Committee
The Chairperson called for nominations for five Members to constitute the Steering Committee.
Ms M Semenya (ANC) nominated Ms M Pilane-Majake (ANC) as a Member of the Steering Committee.
Ms F Muthambi (ANC) seconded.
Ms Pilane-Majake accepted the nomination.
Ms N Abraham (ANC) nominated Ms N Tolashe (ANC).
Ms J Hermans (ANC) seconded.
Ms Tolashe accepted the nomination.
A Member nominated Ms Semenya.
Ms W Ngwenya (ANC) seconded.
Ms Semenya accepted the nomination.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) nominated Ms G Tseke (ANC).
Ms R Moatshe (ANC) seconded.
Ms Tseke accepted the nomination.
A Member nominated Ms K Tlhomelang (ANC)
Ms V Siwela (ANC) seconded.
Ms Tlhomelang accepted the nomination.
Ms N Mazzone (DA) said while she understood the Steering Committee had to be comprised of five Members, she strongly felt it should also be constituted by at least one Member from the opposition. Multi-partyism should find expression in the Caucus. She further suggested the Caucus come up with ten Members of the Steering Committee so that there be Alternates in an event that the already elected Members were not available.
The Chairperson pointed out there were five Members that were already ATC’d (Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports) to constitute the Steering Committee. These would serve as Alternates.
Ms C Ndaba (ANC) said the Caucus should have been presented with the election procedures from the onset.
Ms Nomvula Giba, Unit Manager: Committee Section, apologised for not briefing Members on the election procedures from the onset. In terms of the Joint Rules of Parliament, the Women’s Caucus is directed by the Steering Committee consisting of the Chairperson, her Deputy and five Members elected by the Caucus. That makes the total number of the Steering Committee seven. The Steering Committee would meet on behalf of the Caucus. However, whenever decisions need to be taken, the Caucus would require at least 15 of its Members to be present. In terms of the composition of the Caucus, it consists of all female Members. She pointed out that the ATC published nine Members from the National Assembly and five from the National Council of Provinces to make it 15, including the Chairperson, for decision-making purposes.
Ms Mazzone said the five nominated and seconded could not just be accepted. She suggested the Caucus should hold an election so they are subjected to a vote.
The majority of Members protested against the idea.
Ms van der Merwe raised a point of procedure and indicated Members should have been provided with information on the procedure prior to the nomination process. She appealed for fairness and suggested that there be a new nomination process as the initial process only considered one side of the room and failed to recognise Members from the opposition, seated on the left side. Women’s issues were for everyone and do not belong to any specific party. No one should be left feeling undermined. She suggested the nomination process be reopened.
The Chairperson invited further suggestions from Members.
Ms Ndaba said in the spirit of multi-partyism, the Caucus should consider nominating an additional Member from the opposition to be part of the Steering Committee. She nominated Ms van der Merwe.
Ms Pilane-Majake seconded.
Ms van der Merwe accepted the nomination.
The Chairperson appreciated the engagements and thanked everyone for their attendance.
The meeting was adjourned.
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