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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES RULES COMMITTEE
These minutes are were provided by the National Council of Provinces Table Staff
MINUTES OF MEETING: 12 AUGUST 2003
Pandor, G N M (Chairperson)
Mahlangu, M J (Deputy Chairperson)
Bhengu, M J
Dlulane, B N
Durr, K D S
Kolweni, Z S
Lubidla, E N
Makoela, M I
Ramodibe, D M
Sulliman, M A
Surty, M E
Van Niekerk, A E
STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: L L Matyolo, B V L Momoti, F Jenkins, Z Adhikari, B Nonyane, J A Borien, S Bowers, J Moeti.
APOLOGIES: R Nyakane.
The Chairperson opened the meeting at 10:43.
2. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Mr Ackermann proposed that the following item be added to the agenda:
Devices for translation in the gallery.
The agenda as amended was agreed to.
3. CONSIDERATION OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 24
The minutes were amended by the following:
On page 2, to delete the last sentence.
On the proposal of Ms Kgoali, supported by Mr Bhengu, the amended minutes were adopted as a correct record of the meeting of 24 June 2003.
4. MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES OF 24 JUNE 2003
4.1. (4.1) Workshop in respect of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Bill
The Deputy Chairperson reported that the workshop had been held on 11 August 2003. The Deputy Chairperson also reported that the workshop had been well attended by both permanent delegates and delegates from the provincial legislatures.
After a discussion initiated by Mr Ackermann regarding whether the bill would deal with both Parliament and the provincial legislatures or whether two separate bills would be enacted, the Chairperson said that further discussions was still needed to decide on how to proceed.
The report of the workshop to be distributed to the relevant committee when finalised.
4.2. (4.2.) Venues for committee meetings
The Secretary to the National Council of Provinces referred to the report that was distributed to members and explained that a limited number of venues were capable of broadcasting. In regard to the number of caucus venues being used as committee rooms, the Secretary indicated that most of the venues controlled by committee section were being used. She added that there were two venues that were controlled by parties.
On the question by Mr Sulliman regarding the progress of discussions on the shortage of venues, the Chairperson informed the Committee that the Presiding Officers were involved in discussions with the Department of Public Works. The Chairperson added that two floors of the SARS building would be allocated to the Council.
The Chairperson said that if parties wanted a policy decision regarding whether caucus venues should or should not be utilised as committee rooms, then the matter should be raised at the Joint Rules Committee meeting. The Chairperson suggested that members could forward their views regarding the utilisation of space to the Secretary of the National Council of Provinces.
4.3. (4.3.) Formula for delegations travelling abroad
The Chief Whip proposed that the formula for delegations travelling abroad be referred to the Presiding Officers and parties for further discussion.
The Chairperson said that conditionalities such as the provincial spread, multi-party participation, reasonable and justifiable participation and the rotation principle should be taken into account when considering the formula.
The formula to be considered by the Whips and a report to be provided to the Presiding Officers within two weeks to finalise the matter.
4.4. (4.4) Time limit for reply to questions
The Chief Whip informed the Committee that there was a proposal on the allocation of time limit for reply to questions and such proposal would be presented when the Committee discussed the report of the Subcommittee on the Review of Rules.
4.5. (4.5) Powers and Responsibilities of structures in Parliament
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the matter would be considered during the deliberations on the Financial Administration of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures (FAPLA) Bill in the Joint Rules Committee meeting. The Chairperson added that the issue was the role of the Presiding Officers with respect to the finances of Parliament.
The matter to be finalised at the Joint Rules Committee meeting.
4.6. (4.7) Implementation plan for the recommendations contained in the Report of the Joint Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability
The Chairperson requested that parties indicate their views to enable the Council Rules Committee to have a clear view on the way forward.
Mr Lever proposed that a working group should be established to formulate guidelines on issues of implementation, the procedures to be followed and the standards of reporting.
The Chief Whip proposed that the working group be composed of a core group of members such as the Presiding Officers, the Chief Whips of both Houses and a multi-party component from both Houses.
Mr Durr asked whether the working group could provide guidelines to organs of state with respect to reports.
The Chairperson mentioned that strategies should also be developed for tracking of legislation. The Chairperson requested parties to consider all annexures to the document and to provide a clear view to the Joint Rules Committee meeting, which was scheduled for 19 August 2003.
Parties to consider the document to be able to deal with it at the Joint Rules Committee meeting.
4.7. (4.8) Interim Report of the Joint Subcommittee on Delegated
The Chairperson informed the Committee of the workshop that the Council held on 11 August 2003 to consider and debate the Interim Report of the Joint Subcommittee on Delegated Legislation. The Chairperson remarked that given the level of discussion on the report, it might be necessary to have a further discussion. The Deputy Chairperson would ensure that the report on the workshop be provided to the meeting. The matter would be discussed in the Joint Rules Committee meeting on 19 August 2003.
The Deputy Chairperson to ensure that the report be provided.
5. REPORTS OF SUBCOMMITTEES
5.1. (6) Report of the Subcommittee on Internal Arrangements:
The Deputy Chairperson presented the report of the Joint Subcommittee. He specifically referred to the issues on which decision were required such as:
5.1.1. Annual increase of catering prices;
5.1.2. Loan agreement in terms of existing lending Policy; and
5.1.3. Proposed amendments to the Artworks Lending Policy.
5.1.1. Annual increase of catering prices:
Ms Kgoali raised a concern regarding the disparity in standards of service in the different dining halls. She proposed that uniform standards with respect to catering prices be implemented. She also said that the intention was for the self-service facility to reduce costs.
The Chairperson said that there seemed to be a misunderstanding regarding the intention of the restaurant. The Chairperson said that she would speak to the Catering Manager. The Chairperson added that a formula should be developed that provided for an increase in catering prices to take place in April of each year and that the increase should be consistent with the consumer price index or the inflation rate.
Mr Bhengu proposed that the increase in the price be commensurate with the quality of the food.
That the annual increase of catering prices be accepted.
That the Joint Subcommittee would consider the varying standards of service in dining halls.
That there was a need for the improvement of the service in the dining halls.
That a formula, which provides for an annual catering price increase, be developed. Such increase should take place in April of each year. The increase should also be consistent with the consumer price index or the inflation rate.
5.1.2. Loan Agreement in terms of existing Lending Policy:
That the loan request of the Van Coller painting be agreed to.
5.1.3. Proposed amendments to Artworks Lending Policy:
The Chairperson said that she supported the Joint Subcommittee’s view on the Artworks Lending Policy.
The Chairperson added that the Joint Rules Committee would have to make policy decisions on those matters.
Joint Rules Committee to finalise the matter.
With regard to the Statue of former President Mandela, the Chairperson reported that only four of the thirteen parties had made submissions and requested all parties to do so in order to finalise the matter.
5.2. (7) Report of the Subcommittee on International Relations
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Meeting of Parliaments on the Pan African Parliament (PAP) had been successful. Since 30 June 2003, 21 countries had ratified and deposited the PAP protocol. The Chairperson also referred to the CPA Africa meeting in Niarobi and said that there was a strong possibility that the PAP would meet in the year 2004. She indicated that South Africa had submitted a bid to host the PAP. The Chairperson added that the SADC-PF meeting had also been held and that it had been agreed to establish a regional Parliament.
The Deputy Chairperson asked whether the African Union Working Group in the Council should be resuscitated.
The Chairperson responded that members of the Council could participate in and support the Working Group in the National Assembly. The Chairperson suggested that members should focus on how to develop a mechanism to work together with the National Assembly.
5.3. (8) Report of the Subcommittee on Support for Members
Ms Kgoali referred members to the report of the Joint Subcommittee and requested the Council Rules Committee to consider the proposals and adopt the report.
The Chairperson responded that the report was noted and that the report would be considered in the Joint Rules Committee meeting.
The report to be discussed in the Joint Rules Committee meeting.
5.4. (9) Report of the Subcommittee on the Council Budget
The matter was not discussed, as the report was not tabled at the meeting.
5.5. (11) Report of Subcommittee on Review of Council Rules
The Chief Whip reported on the proposals of the Subcommittee and said that the Subcommittee recommended the following amendments to ensure that the Rules of the National Council of Provinces would be in conformity with the Constitution:
Rule 16(2)(a): the recommendation was to amend the Rule by substituting the words "President of the Constitutional Court" with "Chief Justice".
Rule 16(2)(c): the recommendation was to amend the Rule by inserting the words "a person appointed in terms of section 61(2)(b) of the Constitution as amended". The Chief Whip explained that changes resulting from the "crossing of the floor" would be treated as vacancies allowing a Presiding Officer of the Council to swear in only the person affected by the "crossing of the floor" and not the entire delegation.
The Chairperson said that the concerns around the constitutional provisions relating to the impact of the "crossing of the floor" on the Council had been raised with the Ministry of Justice. The amendment of Rule 16(2) (c) should therefore be deferred until the situation was resolved.
Rule 237: the recommendation was to amend the rule by inserting subsections 3 and 4, to provide for the number and time limits for supplementary questions.
The Chairperson raised concerns around:
increasing the number of questions; and
providing a discretion to the Presiding Officers in the Rules.
To adopt the amendment to Rule 16(2)(a).
To wait for an indication from the Ministry of Justice before finalising the amendment to Rule 16(2)(c).
To await the report from the Whips regarding proposals to amend Rule 237.
6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
6.1. Devices for translation in the Gallery
The Chairperson requested the Secretary to look at how the use of devices for translation was employed in the National Assembly and to indicate whether the Council could provide similar devices in the public gallery.
Secretary to look at how the use of such devices was employed in the National Assembly and to indicate whether the Council could provide similar devices.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:12.
G N M Pandor, MP
Chairperson: National Council of Provinces
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