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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT OF RULES SUBCOMMITTEE
21 September 1999
Documents handed out
Invitation to members to submit proposed amendments to National Assembly rules
The Chairperson asked members to bring the invitation for amendment proposals to the attention of their respective parties and ask their parties to respond.
The Chairperson made the following comments:
- There is a suggestion that the RDP portfolio committee be scrapped.
- Rule 13A(5) regarding Members statements has not yet come into operation it will be implemented in the near future.
- The time allocated to the response of parties may be amended (currently each party is allocated three minutes).
- There is a question around how many people should call for a division (at present there needs to be a minimum of four people to call for division.) When it comes to parties, should there be a certain percentage of support that parties should meet be they can call for division?
- Regarding interpellations, some people want to do away with interpellations.
- Regarding questions to be put to the president. What type of questions should the president answer?
- There is a suggestion that there should be a cluster of ministries to answer questions. On a weekly basis, a cluster of ministers will be interrogated. The idea is that the role of parliament is consequently made more meaningful. Other people suggest that if the committee ask something of a Minister that there is no obligation for Executive to respond to the request. (The Chairperson does not agree with this view as he said a committee has right to call the Minister to answer.)
- Regarding the Louw judgment, common law sanctions were imposed on Mr Louw by Parliament. The Appellate Division held that the National Assembly does not have powers to impose sanctions because they are not spelt out in the Rules. There may be a need to spell them.
-Powers and privileges of parliament may be amended to stop some gaps.
In reply to a question from Mr A Schutte regarding addressing the quorum issue when the Public Accounts subcommittees call witnesses to hearings, the Chairperson clarified that if no decision is taken in that meeting, then one member makes a quorum, but where a decision has to be made, 50% of the members of committee should be present.
TO: MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, CHIEF OR SENIOR WHIPS OF PARTIES IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, PRESIDING OFFICERS
FROM: ADV J H DE LANGE - CHAIRPERSON: SUBCOMMITTEE ON REVIEW OF ASSEMBLY RULES
INVITATION FOR SUBMISSIONS IN RESPECT OF AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ESPECIALLY IN RESPECT OF THE PLENARY SESSIONS
The Subcommittee on the Review of Assembly Rules makes recommendations to the Rules Committee on amendments to the Rules regarding proceedings, procedures, rules, orders and practices of the Assembly and in regard to the development, formulation and adoption of policy on these matters.
Over the past five years the Subcommittee has done substantial work finalising the adaption of the Rules on the Committee System and the Legislative Process. The Subcommittee also drafted proposals, which are now incorporated into the Rules, on Statements by Cabinet Members and Assembly Members and on the Process of Written Instruments. All these amended Rules are now in operation, but, to an extent, are regarded as work in progress.
Attention must now still particularly be given to the sections of the Rules which deal with plenary sittings of the House eg. order in debate, decision of questions, motions, interpellations and questions, contempt, witnesses and so forth. It is this portion of the Rules that we will now be concentrating on for amendment and in particular, in respect of which we urgently require any proposed amendments.
Members are invited to make proposals to the Subcommittee, before 20 October 1999, on amendments to any of the Rules of the National Assembly. Please remember that although proposals can be put forward in respect of all Rules, it would be appreciated if priority is given to the Rules pertaining to Plenary sessions of the Assembly.
Please forward your proposals, as soon as possible, to the committee secretary M K Mansura - office EG22.
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