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NCOP RULES COMMITTEE
13 August 1999
ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMITTEES; APPOINTMENT OF WHIPS; LOCAL GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS
The select committees have been decided on. Membership of these committees should be finalised by Monday/Tuesday. All the appointments of whips have been finalised.
The increase in the number of local government interventions is cause for concern as the procedure as laid out in the Constitution is cumbersome and constraining on the NCOP. There needs to be an intensive assessment with regard to the procedures that the NCOP should follow in future interventions.
Establishment of committees
The list of proposed select committees which had been approved by all provincial whips and representatives of all political parties was accepted by the committee. They are as follows:
1. Justice & Constitutional Development, Safety and Security, Defence, Intelligence And Correctional Service
3. Provincial & Local Government, Public Service & Administration
4. Education, Arts, Science & Technology, Sports & Recreation Trade & Industry, Foreign Affairs, Mineral & Energy Affairs
6. Agriculture & Land Affairs, Water & Forestry, Environmental Affairs & Tourism
7. Health (Social Services), Welfare And Population Development and Home Affairs
8. Labour, Youth Women and Persions with Disabilities, Public Enterprises, Post Telecommunication & Broadcasting
9. Housing, Public Works and Transport
10. Members Legislative Proposals
The possibility of estasblishing a Public Accounts committee has been left open.
The Chairperson, Ms N Pandor, requested that the names of delegates nominated for each committee be forwarded quickly so that committees, partcularly the priority committees, could start working by Monday.
The nominated members on the subcommittees of the Rules Committee were approved in this meeting with one member of each province represented on each of the subcommittees [that is, Council Budget and Support for Members; Review on Council Rules and Parliamentary Privileges; Delegated Legislation; Internal Arrangements; International Relations].
Ms Pandor urged the members of these subcommitttees to take their work seriously which had often not been the case in the previous term. There was a great deal of work to do especially with regard to the Budget, Internal Arrangements, Delegated Legislation and International Relations.
Appointment of whips
The Chief Whip, Mr E Surty, read out the names of the Provincial whips, the Programming whip [Mr M Sulliman] and the Official Opposition party whip [Ms A Versveld].
Currently there is a programme of ministerial briefings to help members decide on which select committees they would like to serve.
Priority National Assembly committees [Defence; Finance; Justice; Communication; Safety & Security] will most probably meet on Monday to elect chairpersons. The relevant select committees should be ready on Monday as well.
There will be a plenary session on 19/8/99 regarding the Prevention of Organised Crime Second Amendment Bill. The Joint Ad Hoc committee dealing with this Bill will meet jointly for briefing and discussion but each chamber will vote separately.
There is a joint Programming meeting on 20/8/99
Local Government Interventions
The Ad Hoc Committee on Tweeling Local Council will send a delegation on Tuesday to investigate. A special plenary will most probably be held on 23/8/99 in order to approve or not approve intervention there subsequent to the delegation's report. Three other interventions are also in process.
Ms Pandor noted the increase of these interventions as a worrying development as the intervention process as laid out in the Constitution is constraining the work of the NCOP. There is a definite need to improve this process.
The Chief Whip, Mr E Surty, concurred with Ms Pandor and identified three areas of concern or areas where process was not being followed:
- Approval of an intervention must be taken by the NCOP and not the provincial legislature
- The process prior to an intervention is not being followed properly.
- The ten-member delegations [one provincial representative and a presiding officer] are too big making them unwieldy and costly.
He proposed reducing the number in the inspection delegation and leaving the size up to the chairperson of that committee. Further he recommended allowing non-committee members to join the delegation if the locality of the intervention was of immediate interest to them as provincial representatives.
Mr C Ackermann (NNP) agreed that costs should be kept in mind but said that in reducing the size of the delegation, he hoped that the balance with regard to political party representation in such a delegation be retained.
Ms Pandor added that non-committee members must meet their own transport costs. Further she was concerned about this proposal as interventions are highly sensitive and it is necessary to keep an intervention formal and not dilute a delegation's ability to interact with a local council by having non-committee members present. She believed that firmer consideration needed to be giving to this proposal.
Mr Moosa (ANC) pointed out that another area of concern is the lack of an early warning mechanism for the NCOP. He said that MECs are not enjoined by the Constitution to give notification to the NCOP of a possible intervention early on in the process. There might be the need for the creation of an NCOP rule to ensure the presiding officer of the NCOP is notified early on in the process.
It was agreed that the NCOP should hold intensive discussions with both the executive and legislative levels of provinces to develop a suitable process of intervention.
Ms Pandor also resolved that the Ad Hoc Committee on Tweeling Local Council, using their experience, should review and make recommendations with regard to the procedures that the NCOP should follow in future interventions.
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