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MINUTES OF MEETING OF NCOP RULES COMMITTEE 22 JULY 1999 (AT 14:00)
Dlulane, Ms B N
Ntlabati, Ms S N
Mahlangu, Ms Q D
Bhengu, Mr M J
Themba, Ms M P
Lubidla, Mrs E N
Fenyane, Mr S L E
Moatshe, Rev P
Versfeld, Mrs A M
Nyakane, Mr R M
Tlhagale, Mr J 0
(United Democratic Movement)
(United Christian Democratic Party)
Additional permanent members present: Mr M E Surty (Chief Whip of the Council), Mr L Suka
(Eastern Cape), Mr M V Moosa (Gauteng), Mrs J N Vilakazi (KwaZulu-Natal), Prince B Z Zulu
(KwaZulu-Natal), Mr A E Van Niekerk (New National Party), Mr P A Matthee (New National Party).
Special delegates present: Ms S Ntombela (Free State), Ms J L Kgoali (Gauteng), Mr E T Vezi (Kwazulu-Natal).
Apologies: Mr M L Mushwana (Deputy Chairperson).
Parliamentary staff members present: Mr S G Mfenyana (Secretary to Parliament), Mr C J P Lucas
(General Manager), Ms M Sparg (Secretary to the NCOP), Mr I H Klassen (Manager: Finance and
Administration), Mr A M Meyer (Chief Law Adviser), Ms J-A Borien, Mr B Coffman, Mr A Grinker,
Ms I Komnick, Ms D Le Roux, Ms C Marais, Mr W Matidze. Mr B Matutle, Mr B Nonyane, Mr K
Pauw, Ms M Raphela, Mr I Sipoyo, Mr K Sojola, Ms E van der Horst, Ms P A van Stavel.
1 OPENING REMARKS
The Chairperson welcomed members to the first meeting of the NCOP Rules Committee. She explained that the members designated by their provinces were attending as formal representatives with voting rights. Other members had the right to attend and to speak, as was the case with all committee meetings in Parliament, but did not have the right to vote if they were not full members of the committee.
2. ESTABLISHMENT OF RULES COMMITTEE (Item 1):
The Chairperson explained the provisions dealing with the membership of the Rules Committee, as contained in NCOP Rule 116(1) and (2).
Mr Moosa confirmed that Rule 116(1) required that one permanent member per province be designated to serve on the Rules Committee. The attendance of special delegates was the choice of the province but was not required in terms of the Rules.
On the motion of the Chairperson,
AGREED: That the permanent members designated for this meeting would be the members of the Rules Committee as described in Rule 116.
3. ESTABLISHMENT OF SUBCOMMITTEES OF THE RULES COMMITTEE (Item 21)
2.1 Subcomm on the Council Budget and Support for Members
2.2 Subcomm on Review of Council Rules and Parliamentary Privileges
2.3 Subcommittee on Delegated Legislation
2.4 Subcommittee on Internal Arrangements
2.5 Subcommittee on International Relations
The Chairperson explained that, between this meeting and the next meeting of the NCOP Rules Committee, persons had to be identified to serve on the above subcommittees. At the next meeting of the Rules Committee in early August such persons would then be appointed by resolution of the Rules Committee.
Mr Moosa added that it should be noted that the membership of the above subcommittees was not restricted to members of the Rules Committee.
The Chairperson suggested that nominations be sent to the Office of the Chief Whip of the Council. These would then be referred to staff for processing to be ready for proper presentation at the next meeting of the Rules Committee.
4. ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAMME COMMITTEE AND OF COMMITTEE ON MEMBERS' LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS (Items 3.1 and 3.21)
The Chairperson said that these two committees were to be established in terms of the NCOP Rules. She added that, as had been discussed at the Business Meeting held earlier that day, it was fairly urgent to convene a Programme Committee meeting early in August. The matter would be addressed by her Office. Members should study the composition of the Programme Committee as set out in Rule 142.
5. ESTABLISHMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (Item 4):
The Chairperson reminded members that this committee had started its work in 1 998 and had submitted a report which both Houses had considered and adopted. The committee would continue its work in the Second Parliament. The composition and functions of the Committee were described in Joint Rules 98 - 103.
6. POLICY FOR APPOINTMENT OF WHIPS (Item 5):
The Chairperson explained that the Chief Whip of the Council was attempting to assist the Council in arriving at a policy with respect to the designation of Whips. The policy needed to have a rational basis, but also had to ensure that the required support for permanent members be provided.
Mr Surty presented his proposals, as follows:
1. Each province shall be entitled to designate one provincial whip.
2. One programming whip to be nominated by the provinces.
3. Political parties with seven or more permanent delegates who do not have a designated provincial whip shall be entitled to designate a party whip. (At present this provision would include only the Democratic Party.)
Mr Van Niekerk then tabled a document on the concerns of the New National Party regarding the above proposals. Their main concern was the extensive workload of party whips, including administrative issues, obtaining party mandates in respect of Section 75 legislation and liaison between a party's NCOP component and its MPL's in all the provinces in respect of Section 76 legislation.
The additional proposal of the NNP was: One party whip for every political party with seven or more permanent delegates which did not already have a party whip, but which did have representation in provincial legislatures where the provincial whip for that provincial legislature was not a member of such a political party. The effect of this proposal was one party whip for the ANC and one party whip for the NNP.
Discussion on the two proposals followed. The Chairperson said, inter alia, that the provincial whips were responsible for all NCOP members from a province, regardless of their party political affiliation. A policy had to be agreed on during this meeting so that it could be implemented as soon as possible. Further discussions could take place in future.
Mrs Versfeld reiterated her request which she had put to the Business Meeting held that morning, namely that the required number of permanent members which a party without a provincial whip needed to qualify for a party whip, be reduced from seven to six. The rationale was that six members constituted a full provincial delegation.
The Chairperson replied that this was a good point to which the Chief Whip of the Council could give consideration.
After further discussion, on the motion of the Chairperson,
AGREED: 1) That the policy proposed by the Chief Whip of the Council be adopted;
21 that Mr Van Niekerk should at a future date return with a proposal which had been mandated by his provincial legislature; and
3) that Mr Van Niekerk should circulate this proposal amongst all provincial delegations so that it could be discussed by all the provinces prior to the Rules Committee meeting where a decision would be taken.
7 FINANCING AND ADMINISTRATION OF SUPPORT STAFF FOR POLITICAL PARTIES, AND GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT IN THE NCOP (Item 6):
Mr Lucas presented a document on Support Staff and General Administrative Support in the NCOP which had been distributed previously. He explained that the proposed dispensation. which allowed parties a large degree of flexibility, differed essentially in two respects from the previous dispensation:
1) The Secretary to Parliament would no longer be the employer of support staff for political parties, as the parties themselves would employ them.
2) The Secretary's Office would no longer determine salary packages for such support staff. The political parties themselves now had to negotiate an appropriate salary structure between employer and employee.
As this would place an administrative burden on parties, money for supervisors would be made available to them on the basis of:
1 supervisor @ R120 000 pa (all inclusive) per 10 staff members.
The Secretary's Office would also give political parties a certain amount of assistance, as specified in the document. This included the recruitment and resignation of staff, the designing of their job descriptions, and the determination of their salaries.
What Parliament required in return was that:
1) All employment contracts between parties and their staff members be registered with the
Secretary's Office; and
2) Parties give audited statements on the expenditure of the allocated money.
The Chairperson added that the proposal had originated from a request articulated by parties to the Presiding Officers and the Secretary to Parliament.
In reply to a question, the Chairperson explained that the funds referred to in this document were allocated to parties within the NCOP. if they so wished, the NCOP members of a party could discuss with their colleagues in the NA how to utilise the funds.
Mr Klassen added that, with reference to audited statements, Parliament did not require separate audited statements for the NCOP and the National Assembly. One statement from a party would suffice.
In reply to a question, Mr Lucas said that parties would have to purchase their office equipment from the allocated funds.
In reply to a further question, Mr Lucas explained that, if required by parties, Parliament would assist as much as possible with administration matters, eg salaries, maintaining a filing system for employment documentation, the processing of performance assessments, and general labour advice. A one-stop unit within Parliament's Human Resources Section would be established to deal specifically with party support staff.
On the motion of the Chairperson,
AGREED: That the proposed policy be adopted.
8 ESTABLISHMENT OF JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION (Item 7):
The Chairperson said that this matter had been discussed at the Business Meeting that morning and would dealt with at the Council plenary the following day.
9. ESTABLISHMENT OF AUDIT COMMISSION (Item 8):
The Chairperson presented a summary of the proposed procedure and explained the various steps as follows:
The President of the country appointed members to the Audit Commission. The Chief Whip of the Council would be requested to consult with provincial whips and the whips of parties that do not hold a majority of seats in a provincial legislature. He would provide the names to the Presiding Officers, who would forward the names to the Office of the President.
The Chairperson reiterated that the nominations had to be finalised as a matter of urgency.
10. ESTABLISHMENT OF AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE ON APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH COMMISSION (Item 9):
The Chairperson explained that an ad hoc Joint Committee had been established during the First Parliament to recommend to the Office of the President ten persons for appointment to the National Youth Commission. This committee had submitted a list of 16 names and did not rank them in a preferred order.
The President then referred the matter back to Parliament, and the Speaker and the
Chairperson appointed an ad hoc Joint Committee consisting of seven members from both
Houses who had served on the previous ad hoc Joint Committee. The Committee had to
finalise the matter and decide on the ten preferred names.
Both Houses needed to ratify this decision of the Presiding Officers, and the Council would do it by way of a motion at the plenary the following day.
11. REPORT ON THE BUDGETARY PROCESS (Item 10):
Mr Klassen presented the document Report on Parliamentary Budget 2000/;2001. He explained that the Budget 2000/2001 had been submitted on 15 July. This budget of R415,7 million exceeded by R39,1 million the guideline of R376,6 million given by the Department of State Expenditure. The main reasons for the excess were:
1) A once-off investment in Information Technology of R22,5 million.
2) An increase in support to political parties of R8,3 million.
3) An increase in the provision for committees of R7,3 million.
He explained the process that had been followed in the compilation of this budget and said that at the end of August (the date still had to be established) the Presiding Officers would meet with the Minister's Committee on the Budget to finalise the amount to be allocated to Parliament.
12. PROPOSAL ON THE TERM "SECOND PARLIAMENT" (Item 11):
The Chairperson explained that since the adoption of the 1 996 Constitution, the papers of Parliament have referred to the First Parliament as the Second Parliament. This should not have occurred. The Presiding Officers were proposing that the present Parliament which had been elected on 2 June 1 999 be identified as the Second Parliament.
Furthermore, the sessions of Parliament should be regarded as annual sessions. The session
which commenced after the June elections would therefore be the First Session, Second
Parliament. The session which would commence in the year 2000 would be the Second
Session, Second Parliament.
On the motion of the Chairperson,
AGREED: That the proposal be adopted.
13, STARTING TIME FOR PLENARY ON FRIDAY (Item 121)
The Chairperson reminded members that the NCOP Rules stated that the sitting time of the
Council was l0h00 or any other time as the Chairperson of the Council may determine. The
Council therefore did not require a resolution regarding this matter.
14. ISSUING OF PARLIAMENTARY PERMITS (Item 73.1):
Ms Van der Horst presented the document Parliamentary Permits. She drew members' attention to the request that special delegates should always come to the NCOP entrance first to obtain their permit.
Consideration was being given to issuing all MPL's with laminated cards, which would be more cost-effective than the visitors' cards which were issued at present.
The Chairperson requested that Ms Van der Horst have the parking of vehicles outside the steps of the NCOP reviewed. The vehicles of the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson should be the only ones allowed access to this area. Delivery vehicles were also allowed for the required period.
On the motion of the Chairperson,
AGREED: 1) That the proposals be agreed to; and
2) that the matter of vehicles being parked outside the steps of the NCOP be followed up.
15. PROCEDURE ON NOMINATION OF MEMBERS (Item 13.2):
Ms Le Roux presented the document Allocation and Nomination of Delegates to the NCOP. The Chairperson said that it would be useful for members to familiarise themselves with the process, and also to explain it to members in the provincial legislatures.
Mr Moosa said that further consideration should be given in the Rules Committee as to how the permanent delegations should be established in terms of the Determination of Permanent Delegates (NCOP) Act. Because this Act was flawed in some respects, anomalies could arise from it, eg: A fairly large party in a province could have only one permanent member in the NCOP, with a number of smaller parties taking the other five seats. He suggested that some recommendations be made to the Department of Constitutional Affairs regarding this matter.
The Chairperson said that once the select committee dealing with constitutional affairs was established, it should be asked to examine and report on the matter. Mr Moosa could then give evidence before this committee.
Mr Surty suggested that the matter should also be referred to the select committee dealing with provincial and local government.
On the motion of the Chairperson,
AGREED: That Mr Moosa present a proposal regarding this matter to the Rules Committee for consideration at a future meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 16H00
MRS G N M PANDOR
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
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