Subcommittee membership; Former MPs; IFP status; Auditor-General vacancy

Rules of the National Assembly

03 September 1999
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

3 September 1999


Documents handed out
Members and chairpersons of the subcommittees (attached to end of minutes)


Compiled by Committee Secretary: Mr K Mansura

[List of members of committee and staff present not included here]

1. ADDITIONAL AGENDA ITEMS (item 3 on agenda)

The following items were added to the agenda

(i) Principle of recognition of groups (Chairperson);

(ii) Benefits of Ex-Members (Chairperson);

(iii) Appointment of Auditor-General (Chairperson);

(iv) Private sector initiative - business partnership with Parliament (Chairperson)

(v) Further rule changes (Mr De Lange)


Members were appointed to the Subcommittees as indicated


ANC : Jordan, Z P; Marshoff, B; Olifant, G; Feinstein, A (alternate); Gumede, D

(alternate); Smith, V (alternate); Joemat, P (alternate).

DP : Heine, R

IFP : Woods, G G; Seaton, S A (alternate)

NewNP : Bakker, D M; Greyling, C H F (alternate)

9 other parties : The appointment of members of the 9 other parties to all these

Subcommittees was deferred to allow these parties to meet and submit the names of members to the Speaker. It was agreed that, if these parties could reach agreement, their members would be appointed without referral back to the Rules Committee.


ANC : Benjamin, J; Montsitsi, D; Sosibo, J; Gigaba, K M N (alternate); Hendrickse,

P A C (alternate); Mbulawa, B G (alternate).

DP : Lee, D

IFP : Seaton, S A; Mbuyazi, L R (alternate)

New NP : Dowry, J J; Greyling, C H F (alternate)

9 other parties : Deferred, see Subcommittee on the Budget.


ANC : De Lange, J; Masutha, M; Botha, N; Mahlangu, M J (alternate); Bhengu, F

(alternate); Mokaba, P (alternate).

DP : Gibson, D H M; Schmidt, H C (alternate)

IFP : Seaton, S A; Van der Merwe, J H (alternate)

New NP : Bakker, D M; Schutte, D P A (alternate)

9 other parties : Deferred, see Subcommittee on the Budget.



Subcommittee - see paragraph 5 below)

ANC Van Wyk, J F (convenor); Goosen, A; Malumise, M; Ntuli, B; Moss, M; Serote, W (alternate); Ebrahim, E (alternate); Nqodi, S B (alternate).

DP : Moorcroft, E K

IFP : Seaton, S A; Mbuyazi, L R (alternate)

New NP : Dowry, J J; Bakker, D M (alternate)

9 other parties : Three appointments - deferred, see Subcommittee on the Budget.


ANC : Vilakazi, B (convenor); Hajaij, F; Martins, E; Ebrahim, E (alternate); Nqudi, S

(alternate); Ripinga, S S (alternate).

DP : Eglin, C; Selfe, J (alternate)

IFP : Van der Merwe, J H; Mars, I (alternate)

New NP : Greyling, C H F; Bakker, D M (alternate)

9 other parties : Deferred, see Subcommittee on the Budget.


ANC : Jana, P; Holomisa, P; Lockey, D; Nel, A (alternate); Mgidi, J S (alternate);

Carrim, Y (alternate).

DP : De Vos, P

IFP : Ndlovu, V B; Cassim, M F (alternate)

NewNP : Pretorius, I J; Odendaal, W A (alternate)

9 other parties : Deferred, see Subcommittee on the Budget.

The Chairperson pointed out that the task of this Subcommittee was to look at the report of the consultant and to make proposals. It would then be decided if a more permanent structure was needed on this subject.


ANC : Makwetla, S P (convenor); Nqakula, C; Chohan-Kota, F I; De Lange, J

(alternate); Masutha, M (alternate); Landers, L T (alternate).

DP : Eglin, C

IFP : Van der Merwe, J H; Ndabandaba, G (alternate)

New NP : Bakker, D M; Schutte, D P A (alternate)

9 other parties : Deferred, see Subcommittee on the Budget.

The Chairperson said that this was also a temporary Subcommittee because it is to look at the report of the consultant and to make proposals.


ANC : Chohan-Kota, F I; Mohamed, F; Jeffery, J H; Vilakazi, B (alternate);

Mayatula, S M (alternate); Oliphant, D (alternate).

DP : Smuts, D

IFP : Cassim, M F; Zondi, K M (alternate)

New NP : Schutte, D P A; Rabie, P J (alternate)

9 other parties : Deferred, see Subcommittee on the Budget.


The following persons were appointed Chairpersons of the Subcommittees indicated:

Subcommittee on the Budget : Jordan, Z P

Subcommittee on Support for Assembly Members : Benjamin, J (note rule

amendment at paragraph 4 below)

Subcommittee on Review of Assembly Rules : De Lange, J

Subcommittee on Delegated Legislation : Jana, P

Subcommittee on Parliamentary Oversight and Accountability : Chohan-Kota, F I


4 AMENDMENT TO RULES 169(a) & 170 (additional agenda item)

On a proposal from Mr De Lange it was agreed to amend the rules on the

Subcommittee on Support for Assembly Members by the deletion of rule 169(a)

which appointed the Deputy Speaker as a member, and by the replacement of rule 170 with : "The Rules Committee must appoint one of the members of the

Subcommittee as the chairperson of the Subcommittee".

It was pointed out that the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker could ex officio attend the meetings of any of the subcommittees.

The subcommittee dealt with policy issues which in any case had to come to the Rules Committee. The Subcommittee on the Budget also had to be consulted on these issues.


5. AMENDMENT OF RULE 175 (additional agenda item)

On a proposal from Mr De Lange it was agreed to increase the size of Subcommittee on Internal Arrangements to 11 members with the following party representation : ANC-5; DP-1; IFP-1; NewNP-1; 3 from the other parties.



6 ADOPTION OF MINUTES OF MEETING OF 12 AUGUST 1999 (item 2 on agenda) The minutes of the meeting were adopted subject to the following corrections :-

- the name of Mr M J Mahlangu being added to those present;

  • at paragraph 8 (letter in regard to appointment of additional whips) add:- "Ms

Seaton proposed that the smaller parties participate in all relevant forums

but that they not be allocated whips";

  • at paragraph 10 (Appointment of Auditor-General) - to amend the last

paragraph as follows:

"The Chairperson said that the officials would draft proposals and submit

them to the Speaker. The Office of the Speaker would get in touch with

parties in regard to this matter".


7. MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MEETING OF 12 AUGUST 1999 (item 2 on agenda)


Portfolio Committees:

Mr De Lange reported that subsequent to the meeting of 12 August parties had agreed that the size of the Portfolio Committees on Education, Safety & Security, Justice & Constitutional Development, and Finance would be 19 members and that the ANC and the combined smaller parties would have 1 additional member each on these committees.


Procedure for appointment of members to the Magistrates Commission:

Mr Gibson said that there was a difference in the wording of the Magistrates Commission Act and the Judicial Services Commission Act, in that one required representation from opposition parties and the other from minority parties. He added that consultation had taken place on the appointment of members to the Magistrates Commission but wanted to know how the matter would now be taken further.

The Speaker pointed out that the Magistrates Commission Act did in fact refer to "opposition parties". She suggested that the opposition parties come together and see if they could agree on the 2 members to serve on the Magistrates Commission. The majority party should do the same. There would then be a motion put before the House. If parties could not agree, nominations should be put to the House.

Ms Seaton said the IFP was an opposition party as well as a minority party.

Mr Doidge said that the majority party had submitted the names of its two members to serve on the Magistrates Commission.

Legal opinion in respect of the appointment of opposition party members to the Judicial Services Commission

The Speaker said that she had received a legal opinion from the DP regarding the appointment of opposition party members to the Judicial Services Commission. As it was not a matter in respect on which she had to rule, she wanted to know from the committee what needed to be done in regard to the legal opinion. She added that the Rules Committee determines policy and had addressed the issue of the appointment of members to the Judicial Services Commission.

Mr Gibson said that Rules Committee had not considered the legal opinion in respect of appointments to the Judicial Services Commission. The Rules Committee did agree that the opposition parties would consult before the appointments were made to the Judicial Services Commission . However, before the consultations were complete the majority party proposed the names of all members to serve on this Commission, including the members to represent the opposition parties. The DP had thereafter obtained a legal opinion which supported the DP view that the IFP was not an opposition party. The Chief Justice has been given a copy of the opinion and has expressed the view that the matter needed to be resolved urgently. Mr Gibson suggested that the Speaker obtain an independent legal opinion and then advise the Rules Committee on this matter.

The Speaker said that at the Rules Committee on 29 June 1999 a proposal was made that the three largest opposition parties represent the opposition parties on the Judicial Services Commission. This would have included the IFP. This proposal was opposed by the ANC as well as certain other parties. She had then proposed that all the opposition parties come together and reach agreement. Whether the IFP was an opposition party was actually raised at the Rules Committee. No party supported the DP view that the IFP be excluded from the opposition parties. The parties had subsequently reported that no agreement had been reached.

Mr De Lange said that the Rules Committee had to decide what to do in respect of the legal opinion obtained by the DP. He said that even if the Rules Committee took a decision in regard to the opinion it would not preclude the DP from taking the matter to court.

The Deputy Speaker agreed that the matter before the Rules Committee was whether to discuss the legal opinion obtained by the DP.

Mr Masutha said that this was not a matter for this committee as it was essentially a dispute between two parties.

Mr De Lange suggested that perhaps the Speake- could obtain an opinion so that the Rules Committee could apply its mind to the matter.

Mr Gibson said that there was no dispute between the DP and the IFP. What was at issue was the constitutionality of a decision of Parliament. He supported the view of Mr De Lange that the Rules Committee obtain an independent opinion on the issue. He agreed that even if the resolution of the House was set aside it would not necessarily mean that a member of the DP would be appointed to the Commission. The post could still be filled by a member of another party. He said that he had been mislead by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party who had informed him that the consulting process had not been concluded and then moved the motion to appoint all the members to the Judicial Services Commission, without consulting.

Mr Doidge said that there certainly was consultation.

The Speaker said that it was not only a legal matter. The question of the nature of coalitions was also political. It was therefore not just a question of obtaining a legal opinion. The question of whether the constitution provides a definition of what constitutes an opposition party also needed to be answered. The Speaker said that she would make available information on how coalitions worked elsewhere and try and identify how the current government was established.


8. PRINCIPLE OF RECOGNITION OF GROUPS (additional agenda item)

The Speaker referred to the list of 18 items that were presented to the meeting on 29 June 1 999 (Annexure "A").

She said that in the interests of good management of Parliament there would have to be some kind of recognition of groups. A situation where every party regardless of size wanted equal status, recognition and facilities created problems. Once the principle of groupings was endorsed, the numbers which constitute a group and other practical issues could be determined. The approach would have to be flexible.

The Committee had no objection to the acceptance of this principle.


Recognition of officially paid whips:

Dr Mulder proposed that, in addition to the whips agreed to by the Rules Committee at its meeting on 29 June, the FF and the AEB, together representing 4 parties, be allocated a whip. Similarly a whip could be allocated to the UCDP together with AZAPO, and the PAC together with the MF. The FA was already informally grouped with the UDM. The whips for the FF, UCDP and PAC would in this way take responsibility for servicing the one member parties by agreement. The formula of 1 whip per 8,69 members left the 14 members, representing the smaller parties, without an officially recognised whip. In terms of the formula, therefore, effectively only one additional whip for members generally was being requested.

Mr Jordan said an informal whipping arrangement between parties freed up other members of the party concerned. They should rot be recognised as whips for purposes of payment.

Mr Abrahams said that he supported the concept of clustering. He added that the allocation of whips should not be fixed in terms of a rigid formula but the circumstances should be looked at.

Mr Gibson supported the proposal.

The Speaker said that she had received a letter from the PAC asking for the recognition of a whip for the PAC, UCDP and AZAPO. She asked that all affected parties that supported a particular proposal in respect of whips, come together and sign a joint letter which should indicate how the proposal was going to work and spell out the authority of the whip and whether there would be rotation of whips.

Dr Mulder said that the letter from the PAC was an old letter. He said that he was prepared to get a proposal signed by all the affected parties as suggested by the Speaker. Eleven of the thirteen parties had agreed that the proposal he had outlined.

Other items on list

On the proposal by the Speaker it was agreed that, as the principle of groupings had been agreed to, the Chief Whips' Forum should look at the other issues on the list. Any issue that had financial implications or that could lead to an extension of sessions should be brought to her attention.



9. BENEFITS OF EX~MEMBERS (additional agenda item)

The Speaker said that letters had gone out to all beneficiaries inviting comments on the benefits received by former members. Responses had now been received and none had been hostile. She added that it had become apparent that there was no clear principle according to which such benefits were being given. Many people saw them as a perk, others saw them as a addition to their pension benefits or in lieu of salary increases.

She said that benefits for former members should be based on sound principles. She suggested that former members needed to play a role in public life. They were still public figures. The principle of any benefits given to former members should therefore be based on the principle of the recognition and facilitation of their continuing participation in public life. The benefit should be related to the length of a member's service in Parliament. There should, however, be a maximum period during which benefits were received. She added that this benefit was primarily in regard to travel.

In reply to a question raised by Ms Benjamin, the Deputy Speaker said that the principle would apply to all former members both pre-1994 and post-1994. The nature of these benefits would still need to be determined.

Dr Mulder said that he understood that certain benefits reverted to the spouse of former members after the death of that ex-member. He asked whether the principle would take account of this.

Mr Gibson said that he had no problem with the principle proposed by the Speaker but queried why it should be based on a maximum period. He suggested that parties should be given a memorandum on the issue so that it could be taken up by their caucuses.

Mr Oliphant asked about benefits to ex-members who would not go back into public life.

Mrs RajbalIy supported the proposal but asked that a life-time benefit be looked at.

Mr de Lange said benefits should not just be looked at in terms of travel facilities. There was also interest in retaining access to the library and so on.

Mr Masutha said that in the interests of building and maintaining strong families, benefits to former members should be looked at in the context of the member being a member of a family and not just an individual. He added that members with disabilities sometimes need personal assistance when travelling.

Mr Bakker supported the view that the matter be taken to parties.

Mr Dekshetelo said that he accepted the principle. He suggested that the case of each former member should be looked at on its merits. He proposed the establishment of a task team to which members could make submissions.

The Speaker said that benefits should be based on the principle that former members would continue to play a role in public life. She added that the major benefit given to former members and which had an impact on the budget of Parliament was the travel facilities afforded to them. Once the principle was agreed upon, the Subcommittee on Internal Arrangements could look at the other benefits that former members could utilise as it would impact on the capacity of Parliament.

It was agreed that initially the Speaker would submit a draft working proposal in regard to benefits for former members, which would focus primarily on travel, for consideration by parties and by former members.



The Speaker said that the Presiding Officers were awaiting formal notification before making any suggestions in regard to the procedure for the appointment of a new Auditor-General. She had been informed, by the Office of the President, that such notification was now on its way to Parliament.

She proposed that an ad hoc committee be established to make recommendations on the appointment of the Auditor-General mainly because the process needed to be complete by November, before the House adjourns. She reminded members that the Constitution provides for a committee of the Assembly proportionally composed of members of all parties represented in the Assembly to deal with this matter.



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