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DRAFT MINUTES OF THE NCOP RULES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 19 SEPTEMBER 2000 AT 10H00 IN THE NCOP CHAMBER
G N M Pandor (Chairperson)
M L Mushwana (Deputy Chairperson)
B N Dlulane
E N Lubidla
T S Setona
M E Surty (Chief Whip)
M P Themba
Staff in attendance: L L Matyolo; B Nonyane; D Franks; J Borien; A Meyer; M Raphela; M D Ramurunzi; N Mgayiya
Apologies: L Suka; Q D Mahlangu; M V Moosa; K D S Durr
The Chairperson took the chair and declared the meeting opened.
Adoption of agenda
The agenda was adopted without amendment.
Consideration of the minutes of 10 May 2000
The minutes were adopted without amendment.
4.1 Appointment of Secretary to the NCOP
The NCOP passed a resolution on 16 May 2000 in which it confirmed the appointment of Ms L L Matyolo as Secretary to the NCOP.
Report of the Subcommittee on Review of the Council Rules : Proposed amendments to the NCOP Rules
The Chief Whip introduced and briefly explained the contents of the document " NCOP Rules that require amendment".
5.2 Proposed amendment to Rule 116:
Mr Marais enquired as to the position of the rotating Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP in the composition of the Rules Committee.
The Chief Whip replied that the rotating Deputy Chairperson would generally be able to attend the Rules Committee meeting in an observer capacity. Mr Ackermann added that the rotating Deputy Chairperson would also be included in the Rules Committee when attending the meeting as a special delegate, as proposed in the amendment.
The Chairperson raised her concern around the reference to the term "member" since it did not clearly indicate whether reference was being made to a permanent delegate or a special delegate. She added that the NCOP Rules must use terminology which is consistent with that used in the Constitution.
The Chief Whip indicated that since the NCOP Rules defined the term "member" with reference to the Council, as referring to a permanent delegate and a special delegate, the definition would have to be reconsidered in light of the issues that had been raised.
On the motion of the Chairperson, resolved that:
1) rule 116(1) be amended as follows:
" two representatives from each provincial delegation one of whom must be a permanent delegate".
2) the subcommittee on Review of the Council Rules consider the issues that have been raised regarding the definition of the term "member" and report to the Rules Committee meeting accordingly.
5.3 Proposed amendment to Rule 121:
the proposed amendment to Rule 121 be accepted.
5.4 Proposed amendment to Rule 126:
the proposed amendment to Rule 126 be accepted.
5.5 Proposed amendment to include Rule 129 A:
The Chairperson reiterated her concern that the in light of the existing definition of the term "member", rule 129A(1)(b) may be interpreted to refer to both permanent and special delegates. In light of the fact that it is the permanent delegates that form the substance of the subcommittees, the definition of member would have to be amended and rule 129A(1)(b), formulated accordingly.
the subcommittee on Review of the Rules address the issue of the definition of the term "member" in the Rules and the use of the term in relation to the composition of the various subcommittees and report to the Rules Committee accordingly.
2) the proposed amendments providing for the composition of subcommittees as provided for in Rule 129A, be resubmitted to the Rules Committee for consideration.
5.6 Proposed amendment to include Rule 129 B:
the proposed amendment to include Rule 129B be accepted.
5.7 Proposed amendment to include Rule 129 C:
the proposed amendment to include Rule 129C be accepted.
Proposed amendment to include Rule 129 D:
the proposed amendment to include Rule 129 D be accepted.
Proposed amendment to Rule 122:
the proposed amendment to Rule 122 be accepted.
5.10 Proposed amendment to insert a heading " Subcommittee on Support for Members" before Rule 125A:
the proposed amendment be accepted.
5.11 Proposed amendment to insert Rule 125A:
the proposed amendments providing for the composition of subcommittees as
provided for in Rule 125A, be resubmitted to the Rules Committee for
5.12 Proposed amendment to insert Rule 125B:
the proposed amendment be accepted.
Proposed amendment to insert Rule 125C:
5.13.1 The Chairperson of the NCOP expressed her concern regarding Rule 125C in particular paragraph (b) thereof in that it appeared to give the subcommittee fairly far-reaching powers. She suggested that the rule be brought in line with the corresponding provisions in the Joint Rules.
1) the subcommittee on Review of the NCOP Rules address the issue of the use of the phrase " monitor and oversee the implementation of policy" in describing the functions of the various subcommittees and to report to the Rules committee accordingly.
2) the proposed amendments providing for the functions and powers subcommittees as provided for in Rule 125C, be resubmitted to the Rules Committee for consideration.
Proposed amendment to insert Rule 125D:
the proposed amendment be accepted.
Report on the procedure in the NCOP for questions to the President
6.1 The Chief Whip of the NCOP referred members to the contents of the document headed "Report on the procedure in the NCOP for questions to the President"
6.2 Mr Ackermann made the following remarks:
There had recently been reference in the media to a report criticising the function of the NCOP. If the NCOP were therefore to decide not to put questions to the President, it would be giving support to its critics.
The Constitution provided that Cabinet was accountable to Parliament, which was both the National Assembly and the NCOP
He was of the view that instead of a blanket prohibition, an arrangement could be made whereby questions could be put to the President but with limited time-periods or time-frames.
Mr Marais responded by saying that the report which Mr Ackermann had referred to had not been tabled in Parliament and therefore had no status before the NCOP.
The Chairperson of the NCOP confirmed Mr Marais statement before putting the matter to the provinces for decision in terms of section 65 of the Constitution. The view of the minority parties was option 1. The view of the majority party was option2.
The Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West Province, Northern Province, and Free State voted in favour of option 2. The Western Cape voted in favour of option 1.
Option 2 be accepted (i.e. no questions should be put to the President.
the Deputy President should on every alternate occasion when questions are scheduled for plenary, be available to answer questions put to him).
Report of the Subcommittee on Delegated Legislation
Mr Setona informed the meeting that on 7 June 2000 the subcommittee, together with the subcommittee on oversight and accountability, had received a briefing from Professor Corder on the two reports which he had prepared. The committees had found it very useful to engage the Professor on aspects of the reports. The joint subcommittee was due to meet in the following week with a view to beginning a process whereby the report would be dealt with chapter by chapter.
7.2 The Chief Whip of the NCOP added that whilst there was a joint process taking place, the subcommittees in the NCOP had a particular focus which differed from that of the NA. The subcommittees could therefore meet to consider selected issues which were of particular significance to the NCOP
7.3 The Chairperson of the NCOP said that the work of the subcommittee was very important and that the Rules Committee looked forward to receiving a report on significant progress made by the committee.
Report of the Subcommittee on Internal Arrangements:
8.1 The Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP informed the meeting that the subcommittee was experiencing a crisis due to the lack of secretarial support. The Secretary to Parliament had been approached to appoint a permanent secretary to the subcommittee.
He added that the subcommittee on the lending of artworks had been constituted and were in the process of formulating the applicable policy.
8.3 The Chairperson of the NCOP called upon Ms Matyolo to assist in finalising the appointment of the secretary to the committee.
Report of the subcommittee on Powers and Privileges:
9.1 The Chairperson of the NCOP reported that the joint subcommittee on Powers and Privileges was going to meet in early October. The report of the consultant had been handed to parties and their responses were awaited so that a basis may be prepared for the formulation of legislation to replace the current Powers and Privileges of Parliament Act .
Report of Ad Hoc Committee on Oversight and Accountability:
10.1 The Chief Whip of the NCOP delivered a report on behalf of Mr Suka, the chairperson of the subcommittee. A copy of the of the report is attached hereto, marked as annexure C.
He added that a dynamic and constructive approach was required with respect to oversight and accountability in the NCOP, despite the joint process which was being embarked upon. When the committee considered those aspects of the report which referred to the NCOP specifically, it would therefore be useful to have a larger audience of NCOP members.
The Chairperson of the NCOP emphasised that the NCOP needed to be giving deliberate consideration to the issues so that we can clearly distinguish what the NCOP's role and function should be. She also referred to the role of political parties and said that the discussions should be more focussed.
Report of the Subcommittee on International Relations:
The Chairperson of the NCOP reported on the CPA Africa Region Conference that had taken place in August. Participants from 17 Parliaments had attended the conference and the discussions were of an excellent standard.
She added that the conference was very well planned and asked Ms Matyolo to convey the NCOP's thanks to the Secretary to Parliament.
11.3 The Chairperson of the NCOP also mentioned that an important matter that was raised at the conference was a discussion on the planned protocol for the establishment of a Pan - African Parliament. An NCOP committee would be established to consider the matter more formally. The South African Parliament would be formulating a perspective with a view to making a contribution at the Africa Parliaments Conference which will be held in Gauteng from 7 - 9 November 2000.
11.4 The Chairperson of the NCOP informed members that the International Relations Subcommittee had received a report on the Beijing +5 Conference which had taken place in June 2000 at the United Nations in New York. She said that there were concerns about the fact that the report from South Africa had been tabled without Parliament having had sight of the Government's response.
She added that Parliament should consider the report and assess whether it gave an indication of how South Africa was responding to the particular needs of women and whether there were indeed changes in the lives and status of women in this country. Due to the fact that the report had been submitted late, it did not form part of the basis of the overall report of the United Nations. Parliament should be more vigilant in respect of overseeing and monitoring whether deadlines, relating to treaties and conventions, have been met.
The Chairperson of the NCOP informed the meeting that the SADEC Parliamentary Forum Observer Team had tabled a report for consideration of members. Members should liase with the Chief Whip if they had views on the way in which the report should be dealt with. She added that she was of the view that the NCOP needed to give formal consideration to the report, but that she was not proposing a repetition of a debate that had taken place in the National Assembly.
11.7 The Chairperson of the NCOP informed the meeting that a series of parliamentary workshops would be taking place in different Commonwealth countries. The CPA had secured funding to allow countries to host seminars on different areas that were intended to strengthen members' understanding of Parliament and their role. The second of the seminars had taken place in Lusaka. The South African Parliament will be participating in the next set of seminars.
11.8 The Chairperson of the NCOP also informed members that the IPU report arising from the IPU Jordan Conference was available. There were a number of resolutions which members may want to look at and consider how these could by dealt with by the NCOP.
It was important to note that the IPU had called upon Parliaments to look more carefully at how they respond to international agreements which they have ratified and countries will have to report on the implementation of these agreements.
11.10 In conclusion, the Chairperson of the NCOP said that she was concerned that the expenditure statement received from the International Relations Committee did not draw a distinction
between parliamentary support for international activities and the Chairperson's budget, which is dedicated to staff of the Chairperson's office and their participation in international matters.
The Secretary to the NCOP replied that the matter had been set aright and that the policy was that the ordinary parliamentary international participation was to be catered for within the budget of International Relations, and that there should be separate line items for the participation of the Chairperson of the NCOP and the Speaker of the Assembly in international activities.
In conclusion, the Chairperson of the NCOP encouraged members to take more of an interest in the reports and resolutions that emanated from the NCOP's participation in international conferences.
11.14 Ms Ntlabati suggested that once in every six months members of the NCOP should meet and report on all the international conferences that had been attended.
The Chairperson of the NCOP said that the suggestion would be addressed. She added that she had held a discussion with the Chief Whip of the NCOP regarding the her concern that the parliamentary delegations usually included only female members of the NCOP, and that the matter was being looked at to ensure that all members of the NCOP had the opportunity to participate.
Report of the Subcommittee on the Council Budget and Support for Members:
12.1 Mr Marais informed the meeting that there was no report from the subcommittee, but that he would meet with the Chairperson of the NCOP and the Chief Whip of the NCOP since there were certain matters that needed to be discussed.
The Chairperson of the NCOP informed the meeting that the budget which had been proposed had been submitted to the Department of State Expenditure on 30 June 2000. The Presiding Officers and the Chief Whips would be meeting with the Minister of Finance during November 2000.
The meeting adjourned at 11h30.
G N M Pandor: Chairperson of the NCOP
Chairperson of the NCOP Rules Committee
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