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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


8 March 2000

Here follows the draft minutes of the NCOP Rules Committee as provided by Ms J. Borien.

The Chairperson took the chair and declared the meeting opened.

The Chairperson proposed that the Rules Committee and its subcommittees were to meet once each quarter. She instructed the relevant staff to prepare a schedule of dates for discussion with the Chief Whip.

1.4 The Chief Whip indicated that he supported the comments of the Chairperson, and added that advance notice of meetings would be very useful.

That the staff compile the necessary schedule for discussion with the Chief Whip.

Adoption of Agenda
The agenda was adopted without amendment.

Consideration of the minutes of 21 October 1999
3.1 The Chairperson proposed that paragraph 4.1 at page 2 of the minutes be amended by substituting "is" with "are" in the first sentence.

The minutes, as amended, were adopted.

Matters arising:
KwaZulu-Natal representative on the Rules Committee:

Mr Bhengu confirmed that Mrs J N Vilakazi was the KwaZulu-Natal representative on the Rules Committee.

Financing and administration of support staff and political parties:

The Chief Whip reported that this matter was still being finalised.

Report from the Subcommittee on Delegated Legislation:
Ms le Roux reported that the chairperson of the subcommittee,
Mr Setona, had not yet arrived at the meeting to deliver his report.

The Chairperson indicated that the matter stand over until a later time.

On his subsequent arrival Mr Setona tendered his apology and indicated that he had not received notice of the meeting. He proceeded to deliver his report.

In response to a question from the Chairperson, Ms le Roux explained that, as in most other parliaments, delegated legislation needed to be scrutinised to determine inter alia, whether it was in accordance with the empowering legislation and the Constitution.

Mr Moosa mentioned that in light of the volume of work that was required for scrutiny, the subcommittee could possibly consider a scrutiny mechanism that did not require members to do the bulk of the work. He suggested that a unit of lawyers/researchers, which was attached to the Rules Committee, provide the necessary support and alert members to potential problems.

5.6 After further discussion, the Chairperson indicated that the matter was one that required fairly urgent attention.

Report from the Subcommittee on Review of the Council Rules and Parliamentary Privilege
Mr Moosa reported that the Review of the Rules subcommittee had met on a number of occasions, and that the subcommittee was currently concentrating on a Plain Language text of the Rules. He went on to explain that the process had been initiated by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), which had appointed Ms Sue De Villiers as a consultant to draft the Plain Language text.

To facilitate the process, Ms De Villiers had met with Mr Moosa and the relevant staff earlier that morning. He indicated that the process would take approximately four or five weeks to complete.

Mr Moosa proceeded to highlight the issue of the use of Westminster Language in Parliament and the difficulties that this posed for drafting in Plain Language. He emphasised the need to begin to discuss these issues since it would also impact on the rules of the provincial legislatures.

In closing Mr Moosa remarked that once the Plain Language project had been completed, the subcommittee would focus its attention on possible amendments to the NCOP Rules.

The Chief Whip thanked Mr Moosa and his team for their hard work thus far. He indicated that other members should also support
Mr Moosa so that the he did not have to take sole responsibility for the project.

The Chairperson requested that at the Rules Committee meeting of the next quarter, the subcommittee provide a fairly detailed report on the issues and recommendations emerging from the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges report of Professor Christina Murray.

Mr Moosa added that the subcommittee would be conducting a survey on the issue of plain language, and asked members for their full co-operation.

6.10 The Chief Whip went on to say that the Powers and Privileges Act applied only to Parliament, not also to the Provincial Legislatures. He commented that any amendments to the Act should take that into account.

The Chairperson encouraged parties to give consideration to the
Report; and that members discuss and familiarise themselves with the issue of the integrity of institutions.

7. Report from the Ad hoc Committee on Oversight and Accountability
Mr Moosa delivered a report on behalf of the chairperson of the subcommittee, Mr Suka.

8. Report from the Subcommittee on Internal Arrangements
8.1 The Deputy Chairperson indicated that he was not aware of any outstanding issues that needed to be reported. He indicated that the subcommittee was meeting later that day to consider aspects of the parliamentary symbols campaign.

Report from the Subcommittee on International Relations
As an ancillary matter, the Chief Whip raised the issue of the composition of NCOP delegations, particularly in instances where only two members were required.

He proposed that there be an informal arrangement which allowed one ANC member and that the DP and NNP alternate as regards the second member.

Mr Ackermann said that he reserved his position on the proposal.

Mr Moosa raised the possibility of the composition being determined on a provincial, rather than a party basis.

The Chairperson replied that there had to be a balance between the appointment of members to the delegation on a party basis and on a provincial basis. She requested the Chief whip to consider the issue and formulate a suitable arrangement.

Mr Mushwana raised a concern about the possible advantage gained by members of the minority parties in the number of times that they visit abroad.

The Chairperson responded that the subcommittee had tried to establish some limits on the number of times a member may visit abroad.

The Chairperson went on to report that the SADEC Parliamentary Forum Plenary would be hosted at Parliament in April 2000. She encouraged members to take an interest in the discussions.

She also informed members that the CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) Africa Region Conference would be held in South Africa some time in August 2000. A formal delegation from Parliament would attend. She added that a large presence of members in the form of observers would be expected to attend.

As a final point, the Chairperson mentioned that the IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union) Conference would be held in late April 2000. She called on members to look into the issues and to prepare adequately for the discussions.

Report from the Subcommittee on Council Budget and Support for Members
Ms le Roux reported that Mr Marais had indicated that he would not be able to attend the meeting but that he that he would ask one of the other committee members to give a report.

The Chief Whip supported these comments. In the absence of a report he mentioned the concern that Mr Marais had raised with him regarding Joint Rules 71 and 72(2).

Ms Borien reported that in relation to Joint Rule 71, it would in all likelihood be amended at the Joint Rules Committee meeting on Friday, 10 March 2000. In relation to Joint Rule 72(2), members would have to arrange themselves so that they did not form part of the NCOP component of the Joint Subcommittee on the Parliamentary Budget and the NCOP component of the Joint Subcommittee on Support for Members when the two committees were conferring.

Ms le Roux referred members to the proposed amendments included in the documentation that had been distributed. She explained that the amendments were consequential amendments, arising from the amendments to the Joint Rules which had been adopted by the NCOP, during 1999.

11.2 The amendments were agreed to and would be brought to the House for adoption at the plenary on 9 March 2000.

The Chairperson informed the meeting that Ms Sparg, Secretary to the NCOP, had tendered her resignation and would be leaving at the end of the month. She mentioned her disappointment at the loss of Ms Sparg and expressed her gratitude for all Ms Sparg's efforts.

The meeting closed at 11h20.

G N M Pandor (Chairperson)
M L Mushwana
C Ackermann
E N Lubidla
M E Surty
M P Themba
M V Moosa
S Ntlabati
M A Sulliman
M J Bhengu
L Lever
T S Setona
M I Makoela

In attendance: D Le Roux; D Franks; J Borien; B Nonyane; B Matutle; P van Stavel; A Grinker; N Mgayiya;

APOLOGIES: A Versveld; A Marais; J N Vilakazi


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