India, Brazil & South Africa Trilateral Co-Operation Forum; Sugar Industry & Free Trade Agreements: briefing

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Trade and Industry

07 September 2004
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE AND INDUSTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES: JOINT MEETING
8 September 2004
INDIA, BRAZIL AND SOUTH AFRICA TRILATERAL CO-OPERATION FORUM; SUGAR INDUSTRY AND FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS: BRIEFING

Chairperson:

Mr A Martens (ANC)

Documents handed out:

IBSA: India Brazil and South Africa Trilateral Co-operation Forum
Brasilia Declaration
DTI's interaction with India and Brazil in the context of the Brasilia Declaration
Sweets and Chocolates Manufacturers Association presentation

SUMMARY
The Committees were briefed on the India, Brazil and South Africa Trilateral Co-operation Forum (IBSA). The Department of Foreign Affairs painted a background to the formation of IBSA, the content of the Declaration, and what had been achieved. A proposed seminar on Economic Development with Social Equity would probably take place in Brazil. An IBSA Fund had been established for poverty and hunger alleviation. The Department of Trade and Industry explained how this department was involved with ongoing interaction with India and Brazil in manifesting their component of the declaration.

The Committees also heard a presentation made by the Sweets and Chocolates Manufacturers Association (SACMA), with regard to the plight of manufacturers in South Africa and the reasons behind this. Recommendations for alleviation of the problem were put to the committees.

The Deputy Foreign Minister brought the committees up to date on the preparations that had been made to receive the Pan African Parliament in Gauteng. This would be its second sitting opening on 16 September. She explained what was being done to provide a semi-permanent structure in which the parliament would reside for the next five years.

MINUTES
India, Brazil &South Africa Trilateral Co-operation Forum
Dr Anil Sooklal commented that despite the appearance that there was little connection between the three countries, the contrary was true. President Mbeki had proposed the formation of a block of countries from the South that all had similar political and economic agendas in 2001. This idea was not necessarily in reaction to the G8, although this group similarly supports development in the North, while also involving itself and setting the agenda for development in the South. Increasingly it was felt among leaders of the South that the G8 should not represent the South. This proposal for like-minded countries of the South to get together was derailed by the events of September 11, the consequences of which were far reaching. The India Brazil South Africa Trilateral Forum (IBSA) was launched with the Brasilia Declaration in June 2003, with the blessing of each of the country's head of state after consultations between the foreign ministers of these countries. The Forum looked at how the countries could work together around common issues.

Dr Sooklal said that India, Brazil and South Africa shared common challenges, similar developmental needs and struggles with poverty and hunger. All three countries were leaders in their respective regions and had vibrant democracies. He said that this trilateral forum would provide each member access to massive markets. South Africa was the door to sub Saharan Africa, Brazil with its sixth largest population in the world and India with the second largest population in the world. These three countries had formed the core of the G20 meeting at the Canun WTO meeting and had championed the cause of the South.

The foreign ministers of each of these countries would act as the nodal points of IBSA. At the New Dehli meeting, ministerial discussion had moved towards co-operation in the areas of foreign affairs, trade and industry, agriculture, transport, science and technology and more. Respect for international law and the reform of the UN Security Council were priorities shared by all three members. Emphasis on the promotion of social equity and eradication of poverty and trilateral socio and economic development all formed part of the common aims of IBSA. The grouping would enable them to speak as one voice on many of these issues on the international front and would provide a better chance of being heard. This would provide political clout and it would have economical implication for IBSA as well.

The envisaged increase in interaction between the three countries would bring with it an enormous potential for growth and a flurry of visits had already started the ball rolling.

An IBSA Fund had been established to which each of the members had already contributed US$100 000. This fund would be used for the alleviation of poverty and hunger. The first project to be put forward for funding was a livestock development project in Guinea-Bissau. The UNDP and the IBSA Missions in New York were involved in the process of designing Terms of Reference for the operation of the fund. The three countries had appointed senior officials to serve on the board of directors, with the UNDP as ex-officio member.
At the first trilateral meeting in March 2004 in New Delhi, the foreign ministers of IBSA released the New Delhi Agenda for co-operation and the New Delhi Plan of Action. One of the targets stated in the latter was a more than doubling of trade flows by 2007 from current total trade of US$4.6 billion to US$10 billion. Dr Sooklal said that this was an attainable target. The New Delhi Plan of Action had also further developed areas of sectoral co-operation by establishing working groups for economic and commercial partnerships, information society, science and technology, education, health, energy, and defence. Further meetings between the ministers of tourism were still to take place in this regard. The ministers of defence had already met in South Africa in February this year and merchant shipping and trilateral air services agreements would be discussed and explored in the future. It was envisaged that air and sea linkages between the three countries would enhance the flow of trade. Each of the working groups was in a process of increasing interaction between the countries and various fairs and visits were envisaged.

Dr Sooklal said that the launch of IBSA had caused a great deal of interest and excitement around the world and many countries had made enquiries about its aims and membership and in particular whether it was an exclusive group. Sweden had already made overtures to join. It was felt that this trilateral forum was still in its infancy and that it should first work at fulfilling the aims and objectives of its three members in tangible and practical ways before seeking to broaden its base.

Department of Trade and Industry's trade interactions under the Brasilia Declaration
Mr I Sharma, chief director of the Department of Trade and Industry, discussed the Brasilia Declaration with regard to trade. The Declaration stated that the foreign ministers had identified the trilateral co-operation as an important tool to build on existing bilateral and multilateral co-operation. Both India and Brazil were considered strategic partners with common interests. Strengthening the ties with India and Brazil would mean greater penetration of key markets, such as for example India's large middle class sectors. This trilateral agreement would provide South Africa with an opportunity to diversify its markets in terms of trade and to increase its exposure to important poles of investment, technology and demand, which until now had remained relatively untapped.

South Africa's largest trading partner at present was the European Union and USA, accounting for 15% of trade. Mr Sharma said South Africa was a trading nation with a large portion of its GDP being traded. He said that although economic potential was important in considering strategic partners, it also required the convergence of perspectives on developmental and geo-political issues. It was such common perspectives between India, Brazil and South Africa, which led to the Brasilia Declaration. Mr Sharma pointed out that increasingly in multilateral negotiations such as those recently held in Cancun, it was essential to form alliances and build coalitions, in order to have the necessary economic strength and therefore bargaining power. India, Brazil and South Africa shared common perspectives in the shaping of the multilateral system. Mr Sharma said it was significant that IBSA was launched in June 2003 and that in September that year the multilateral talks in Canun had failed. Countries of the South had formed the G20 and had coalesced around the interest of agriculture. It was the first time that a group of developing countries could stand their ground on this issue. It was India, Brazil and South Africa who played a significant role in this.

Mr Sharma said that Brazil had proposed a Trilateral Free Trade Area between the three countries. He commented that such an agreement, especially on a trilateral scale would be complex. South Africa was currently engaged with Brazil through Mercosur, which included Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. During the last few months significant progress had been made on a proposal for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India. Mercosur and India were also engaged in negotiations for a bilateral preferential trade agreement. A trilateral trade agreement would follow down the line.

He said that the first phase of these agreements would entail tariff concessions and the second phase would consist of a comprehensive trade agreement, including trade and services. These agreements would complement South Africa's existing agreements with the EU, the United States and one soon to be concluded with China.

A trilateral business council was being proposed to build business networks between business people in all three countries, in order to expose them to business opportunities. A transfer of skills and technology would be enhanced by this agreement.

Mr Sharma pointed out that South Africa had a relatively open economy with low average rates of tariffs around 5%, compared to India's average rate of 33%. Brazil's tariffs were also higher than South Africa. A trade agreement would be advantageous to South African enterprises. The target mooted for trade flow by 2007 was not unattainable, given the trajectory of value added exports from South Africa.

The ministers of trade and industry were scheduled to meet before the next trilateral commission meeting, in order to assess the progress made in these bilateral agreements. They would look at aligning these agreements with each other, in order to leverage opportunities.

Outside of these engagements, it posed a significant challenge to all government departments to raise awareness and increase knowledge among the business communities of all three countries, about opportunities in the other countries. South Africa needed to raise its profile in both these countries. This would be encouraged by various fairs and exhibitions, such as the Trade Fair in November. South Africa would also be partnering India in Tourism, Mining and Engineering fairs in India. Captains of industry from Brazil had recently visited South Africa in an exercise to increase interaction and awareness between the two countries.

Mr Sharma concluded that he saw the department's task as being that of creating an enabling environment and framework for enterprise to flourish, to the benefit of all three economies.

High Commissioner of India briefing on the IBSA initiative
Mr Shi Mukherjee referred to a letter written by President Mbeki stating that the IBSA initiative should not be perceived as a body targeting any group or institution, but rather as a means towards the realisation of the objectives of the contemporary global consensus. IBSA sought to promote South to South co-operation and to speak with one voice. It aimed to work towards globalisation by the people. The High Commissioner emphasised that IBSA was not an attempt to replace, or dilute the commitment towards any existing agreements, organisations or institutions, to which India, Brazil or South Africa already belonged, such as the non-aligned movement or the G77.

Mr Mukherjee said the commitment to these organisations remained just as strong and IBSA was an addition to these bodies. He said that IBSA constituted three large influential democratic economies on three different continents, which shared many economic political and social policies. It was a creditable interlocutor and as such would carry weight and would have a greater chance of being heard.

Mr Mukherjee remarked that the level of commitment and enthusiasm displayed at the first trilateral joint commission in New Delhi had been remarkable and that this was verified by the number of visits and meetings that had already taken place between the foreign ministers and other departments.

Interaction between business leaders of South Africa and India had also revealed great excitement about business opportunities. He mentioned that President Lula of Brazil had suggested a trilateral business council, grouping together apex bodies of industry in the three countries. Talks in this direction were in progress, ensuring that the private sector would be very much part of IBSA.

The High Commissioner said that there had been an intense amount of interest displayed by other countries in IBSA and there were many questions regarding it purpose and membership. He said that at present the focus would be on taking the aims of IBSA from ideas to practical realities to the benefit to its members. The forum was still in its infancy and had to be given a chance to grow and make itself useful, before taking on board other members. Expansion could be considered at the appropriate time. The like-mindedness of the members of IBSA gave it strength. This had formed the core of the G20, making it capable of withstanding pressure.

Mr L Zita (ANC) suggested the need for a more permanent structure to embody IBSA, such as a proper institution. He asked what was being done to include the South African business class in the process and to what extent were social forces part of the process.

Mr Gibson (DA) voiced DA approval and support for the initiative and commented that in general the links between South Africa and India were strong, with many people having ancestral, friendship and family ties. The connection with Brazil seemed far less strong. He suggested ways of enhancing contact between the peoples of these two nations by way of student exchanges and professional associations. Parliamentarians of the respective countries could also form friendship groups. He also suggested that business delegations should visit each other to become better informed about business opportunities available. He said the Department of Trade and Industry could do much to facilitate this by assisting business people with regard to information. The tourist industry could also contribute by offering package tours to these two countries and marketing them as attractive destinations. Mr Gibson asked why was the first project to be funded by the IBSA fund not within one of the member countries.

Mr L Greyling (ID) asked why Argentina and Australia were not included in IBSA, as they were significant countries of the South and what was being done to bring them on board.

Prof B Turok (ANC) commented that IBSA should be cautious to expand, as broader groupings often seemed to loose efficiency and failed to ring about any worthwhile change. He agreed that the common interests between the three countries were key to the success of the grouping. He asked for data on existing trade relations between South Africa and its various trading partners from the department of Trade and Industry and added that without a sound economic foundation and motivation, the initiative would not flourish. He said that the process thus far had already incurred substantial costs and that in the light of this, parliament and the public at large should be brought up to speed with the process, in order to gain the support of civil society. He concurred with Mr Zita that an institute could be part of the mechanism used to provide the public with information and raising their understanding of internationalism.

Mr Greyling (ID) commented that the World Social Forum had been held in Brazil and India and that we should look at having one in South Africa. He asked whether South Africa was negotiating a free trade zone between the three countries, since there seemed to be a divergence of tariff structures. He asked how these negotiations were proceeding.

Mr J Maake (ANC) asked why Arts and Culture had been overlooked in the sectoral interaction between the three countries. It required no infrastructure and interaction on an art and cultural basis could be relatively quickly arranged and initiated, to great social impact. Arts and Culture should be represented in these interactions.

Mr L Laushagne (DA) asked for trade figures indicating where South Africa was in competition with India and Brazil and where not.

Ms F Mahomed (ANC) asked what effect IBSA would have on South Africa's agreement with the EU. .

Mr Sharma said that for each of the three countries a comparative trade analysis had been commissioned. The Department had commissioned think tanks to address basic questions such as what these three countries were buying and selling and what they could buy and sell from each other. Another hallmark of globalisation was the value chain of production. This meant that certain components of a product were often produced elsewhere. Further analysis of these chains of production would help to establish where the three countries could complement each other. Certain companies in the automotive industry, such as Fiat and BMW, had already started an analysis. The results of these studies would be made available. Civil society had been present and was represented in Brasilia and universities were already engaged in student exchange programmes and bursaries were being discussed.

He said it was gratifying to see that they were all thinking along the same lines. The ideas offered by the members would be taken on board. He said that at the declaration every department had been involved, including Arts and Culture. Sports had also been identified as a way of promoting and increasing interaction between the countries. These matters would all be attended to in time and in the proper sequencing of events. Certain matters had to take precedence in laying the groundwork of the forum. The creation of IBSA had arisen out of a certain context, a particular alignment a power block which wished to be taken seriously. The focus of the alignment was economically based and this angle would have to be developed and attended to first. With regard to the possible joining of Argentina and Australia with IBSA, Mr Sharma reiterated that the trilateral forum was one of like-minded countries, sharing common values and objectives. He said IBSA was not about to enlist other members. Our trade with the EU had not been affected by this agreement. It had in fact doubled. Trade with India on the other hand was still restricted mainly to fertilisers, phosphates and other chemicals, with much room for expansion. Historically South Africa's export had been Euro-centric, with further trade going to America. There was very limited awareness of the potential for trade with Latin America and Asia. Entrepreneurs lacked the resources to explore new markets and these ventures were uncoordinated. There would e a drive to rectify this with the trilateral business council to promote business relationships between the countries. In time all these relationships would flourish, but for now the department had to focus on setting the framework for this trilateral relationship.

Dr Sooklal confirmed that bilateral academic exchanges were already taking place. The education working group would explore ways of increasing people to people interaction. He affirmed that arts and culture was very much part of the process in view of the fact that all three countries had rich heritages. He said there would be a cultural fair next year. He considered it a good suggestion that a parliamentary delegation attend the next seminar and this could be taken up with the department of foreign affairs. The reason Guinea-Bissau was chosen as a starting project to be funded by the IBSA Fund was to benefit not only the member countries but other countries of the South. Other projects were already envisaged and currently being developed within the working groups. These projects would percolate down to the populations of all three countries.

Dr Sooklal agreed with Prof Turok in his opinion of expanding the trilateral grouping to include other members and said that the forum should first be given time to grow and yield dividends as it was and initiative in its infancy. He said that many countries had expressed an interest in the trilateral formation and were willing to contribute to the IBSA fund. Some Nordic countries could possibly get involved based on a dialogue status. He commented that our relationships with Latin America and Asia were still relatively young and held great potential for all. He said that competition was healthy and had to be encouraged.

Mr Sharma said that it was their aim to eliminate all tariffs between the three countries, but that the concessions to be made by India and Brazil were more substantial than those of South Africa. The process would start with tariff concessions, which covered trade and goods. Services, investment and competition were some of the issues that needed more negotiation. He envisaged an increase in trade with EU because it would offer an opportunity for Indian business to locate here in order to gain this access. The EU had increased its membership by ten recently, which meant further trade opportunities.

Mr S Njikelana (ANC) asked to what extent did co-operatives form part of what was envisaged with the implementation of IBSA. He said that not only should overtures be made towards big businesses of the respective countries, but that similarly the rural people of these countries should be included in the process of interaction. It was questionable to what extent the targeted US$10 billion would benefit this group of each of the county's populations.

Dr Sooklal pointed out that Brazil was home to the largest diaspora from Africa and that South Africa's links with India went back a long way and that this formed a very natural synergy.

Sugar Industry and Free Trade Agreements: briefing by Sweets and Chocolates Manufacturers Association
Mr Neil Brimacombe, chairman of SACMA, said that this special interest group engaged with any issues that impacted on the industry. It was an umbrella group, which represented at least 90% of local manufacturing capacity. The organisation wished to appeal to government to address the current plight in which the confection industry found itself. The organisation not only spoke on behalf of manufacturers, but also the cane growers association, South African sugar millers and South African Glucose Manufacturers.

He said that the presentation was an attempt to raise awareness about the sugar and the broader sugar industry as a whole and the confection industry in particular. It also wished to inform and provide input to current multilateral talks impacting these issues. Sugar confection imported into South Africa had surged significantly in this year and represented 30% of the local market. This had caused a 28% reduction in local jobs converting into 9500 jobs. This decrease affected other areas negatively with concomitant losses. Most of South Africa's sugar was imported from Brazil (72%) and far less from Columbia (9%). In Brazil sugar cost only US1$160 per ton, because the sugar price was heavily subsidised by the government, whereas in South Africa manufacturers paid US$480 per ton. Duty evasion was rife, since compliance enforcement of the 25% import duty was poor. The local sugar industry was worth some R7 billion per year. Direct employment in the sugar industry totalled some 130 000 people and indirectly 240 000. Brazil, the EU, Thailand, Australia produced 70% of the world's free market sugar.

The SACMA industry body had formed a joint working commission with South African Revenue Service (SARS) in an effort to tackle duty evasion and would apply for dual tariffs. This application would request a fixed rate per kilogram. They had also made an anti-dumping application because of the 50% price differential between what Brazil sugar manufacturers were selling in Brazil as compared to South Africa. The association had lobbied widely to raise awareness of the situation and had made representations to the Department of Agriculture for the removal of sugar confection from the lists that had been proposed in the bilateral agreements with Mercusor and free trade agreements. A review of sugar legislation and in particular the Sugar Act was needed in order to provide access to more globally competitive sugar prices. Strict enforcement of food safety legislation was being pursued with the Department of Health. Mr A concluded that areas of great conern were the current free trade dialogue, loss of income and jobs in the industry, undeclared value and loss of duties payable to the amount of R100 million, exacerbated by subsidisation of the sugar price in Brazil. The Association hoped to find workable solutions to address the challenges of the sugar industry by working closely with government.

Discussion
Mr S Njikelana (ANC) asked to what extent organised labour had been involved in the process and what was their position in the matter.

Mr L Zita (ANC) asked at what stage the engagements with the different departments and bodies were.

Mr L Greyling (ID) asked to what extent the local sugar industry was protected besides the 25% import tariff.

Mr N A said that SACMA had formed a joint working commission with the Food and Allied Workers Union through Nedlac The process in which interaction with various departments were involved would be concluded as soon as possible. The process of corroborating data and allowing government sufficient time to respond and analyse data was lengthy. Mr A said that the anti-dumping and anti-evading application could take up to 18 months to resolve. Nevertheless the plight of the industry required urgent attention as the consequences were immediate and ongoing. South Africa was considered one of the ten most efficient sugar extractors in the world and therefore globally competitive. The price of sugar in Brazil was well below production cost, which distorted world sugar prices. Typically such large producers of sugar would dump their produce in other countries. Local sugar pricing was governed by the Sugar Act and the Sugar Tariff Act. The first determined the way the Sugar Association operated and the second set the sugar tariff by raising the price. South African manufacturers paid US$480 per ton of sugar and this affected their global competitiveness.

Mr Martens said that this issue would be further explored with all stakeholders.

Deputy Foreign Minister's briefing
Ms Sue van der Merwe said that the Pan African Parliament would have their second sitting at Gallagher Estate in Gauteng on 16 September. The Department of Foreign Affairs had adopted a three phase approach concurrently. Alterations to the auditorium at Gallagher Estate included shell offices equipped with the necessary IT. This had been done at the expense of the owners. The next stage would entail the construction of a steel structure on the same property to house the parliament over the next five years. This was not a permanent structure as the actual location of the parliament might still change in term of protocol. Thirdly a purpose built building for the permanent housing of the parliament would be built should this be required. The location of this would be in Gauteng, the exact location of which would still be decided. Ms van der Merwe said that the Pan African Parliament was expected to sit twice a year for a month at a time. She said that the Department of Foreign Affairs had entered into a hosting agreement which stated that the Department would cover the cost of providing the venue, accommodation of the members plus five staff each, office accomodation, local transport to and from the venue and the IT infrastructure. The rest of the cost would be paid by the African Union.

The parliament would open on 16 September. The opening would e spectacular, including performances from well known South African artist such as Miriam Makeba, as well as artists from all over Africa. The theme of the opening will be One Africa, One voice. President Mbeki will be giving the opening address. Since the last sitting of this parliament, several of the member countries have held elections and therefore new members of parliament would have to be sworn in on the opening day as well. The SABC would be broadcasting the event to all of Africa and throughout the world.

Translation services would e provided at the parliament in five different languages. They were English, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Swahili. Our security providers would be dealing with security accreditation and security. Ambassador Gertrude Mongela would be president of the parliament and she had already arrived in the country to prepare the opening ceremony. The rules committee for the parliament had already had a sitting.
The Department had seconded 80 English speaking staff members from our own parliament. Staff who spoke the other four languages would be sent by the AU as well as translators. They had secured the services of transport providers to receive the guests and had employed a further twenty officials who would be on duty 24 hours a day. The Department had secured funding from Treasury for the first phase and US$1,7 million had been provided by the commission as per the host agreement. Once the go ahead for the third phase had been received a continent wide competition would be organised to find the best design for the permanent structure to house the parliament. The Ms van der Merwe said that all preparations were on track and running smoothly. She had every confidence that the event would be a great success.

Mrs Njobe (ANC) asked to what extent South Africans had been made aware of this event.

Mr L Zita asked how this parliament differed to the EU parliament in duration and frequency of sittings.

Ms van der Merwe said that there was a marketing and media drive underway, but that it should have started earlier. The Government Communication and Information System had developed a media plan, which would intensify over the next few days. She asked that parliamentarians would also spread the word. She could not answer on the duration of EU sittings. She said that this would be a short sitting of only ten days, but that there could be an additional sitting in December this year. The protocol required a minimum of two sittings per year for one month each. The function of this parliament for the next five years would only be an advisory one, after which it will be in a position to issue binding legislation.

Mr L Labushagne (DA) asked whether the Cape Town Parliamentary buildings had been considered as an option in housing the Pan African parliament.

 

Ms van der Merwe said that it had and that many other existing government facilities had been looked at, but that the Gallagher Estate had turned out to be the most cost effective option, which was based on a flat rental rate including upgrading. She said that this was a continental institution and not South African. It would not be appropriate to house such a body in the South African houses of parliament. It should have its own distinct and unique identity.

Mr L Laushagne (DA) asked whether parliamentarians would be provided with five staff,

Ms van der Merwe said that these personal staff had to be brought by the parliamentarians themselves, while general staff such as clerks and admin staff, would be provided by the Department.

Mr S Njikelana (ANC) asked how members would relate to each other.

Ms van der Merwe said that the status of our parliamentarians would be the same as that of the others. Advocate Modasa was one of those members. We were also represented on the rules and budget committees. She said she saw our role as being a constructive one, especially in sharing our views on democracy and in offering our experience and support. It was important to understand that each of the MPs were not there as representatives of their political parties but in their capacity as individuals.

Prof B Turok (ANC ) asked whether public and South African parliamentarians had access to the parliamentary proceedings.

Ms van der Merwe said that there was accommodation for 1 500 guests in the public gallery on the opening day, of which 500 were allocated to the South African public.

Mr J Maake (ANC) asked which parties were represented among the South African parliamentarians sitting on the Pan Africa Parliament.

Ms van der Merwe said that three were ANC members, one was an ADP member and one IFP. Three of the members were women.

Mr Madase (ANC) asked whether the Department of Foreign Affairs would be raising any political issues at the parliament.

Ms van der Merwe said that this would not be the case.

Ms C Nkuna (ANC) asked how many people would be accommodated in the public gallery on the opening day.

Ms van der Merwe reiterated that out of 1500 seats, 500 were made available to the South African public. The rest were for foreign guests.

Mr Rasmeni (ANC) asked whether any pamphlets had been printed for distribution in rural areas and if they were printed in the different official languages.

Mr L Greyling (ID) asked for greater clarity of the idea that these parliamentarians came not as representatives of their particular parties, but as individuals.

Ms van der Merwe said that the suggestion regarding pamphlets would be taken up and would be put to the GCIS. She said that it was part of the protocol of this parliament that members came in individual capacities and that they did not necessarily have to sit under their own flag. This concept might well be developed over the next five years and she reiterated that the parliament was an advisory body only for the length of this time.

Prof B Turok asked whether South African parliamentarians had access to the various committee meetings.

Ms van der Merwe replied that after the opening, access was possible.

Ms F Mahomed (ANC) asked for the programme of the opening.

Ms van der Merwe said the programme was available only in draft, but that the opening started at 11am on 16 September at the Gallagher Estate.

The meeting was adjourned.

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