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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES RULES COMMITTEE
MINUTES OF MEETING
These minutes are were provided by the National Council of Provinces Table Staff
14 November 2004
Mahlangu, Mr M J (Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP)
Adolph, Rev E
Dlulane, Ms B N
Hollander, Ms M P
Kolweni, Mr Z S
Mack, Mr N
Mabe, Ms E S
Matlanyane, Ms H F
Mokoena, Kgoshi L M
Moseke, Mr L A
Mzizi, Mr M A
Ntuli, Mr Z C
Oliphant, Mrs M N (Chairperson of Committees)
Qikani, Ms A N D
Setona, Mr T S (Deputy Chairperson of Committees)
Sinclair, Mr K
Shiceka, Mr S
Sogoni, Mr H T
Sulliman, Mr M A
Themba, Ms M P
Van Heerden, Dr F J
Windvoël, Mr V V Z (Chief Whip of the NCOP)
APOLOGIES: Ms J L Kgoali (Chairperson of the NCOP); Ms N Ntwanambi; Mr J O Tlhagale.
IN ATTENDANCE: Staff: Ms L L Matyolo, Adv. B V L Momoti, Mr B Nonyane, Ms J A Borien, Mr M Tshaiviti and Mr S Jonas.
The Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Mr M J Mahlangu opened the meeting at 09:40 and welcomed all to the meeting.
The following apologies were received:
Ms J L Kgoali;
Ms N Ntwanambi; and
Mr J O Tlhagale.
3. Adoption of Agenda
There were no additions to the agenda. The Chief Whip reminded the meeting that item 6.1. (Travel formula for delegations traveling abroad) had already been finalised. The item was therefore removed from the agenda.
4. Consideration of the Minutes of the meeting of 20 October 2004
The minutes were corrected by the insertion of Mrs Oliphant’s name on the list of members who were present at the meeting. Mrs Dlulane moved for adoption of the minutes and Mrs Oliphant seconded the proposal. The minutes were adopted as a correct reflection of the meeting of 20 October 2004.
5. Matters arising from the minutes of 20 October 2004
The matters arising were the same as those on the agenda.
6. Matters on the agenda
6.1. Formula for delegations traveling abroad
This item was removed from the agenda as it had been finalised at the previous meeting.
6.2. Time limit for reply to supplementary questions
The Chief Whip said that the matter had been discussed in the multi-party whips forum meeting and it had been agreed that the time limit for reply to supplementary questions would be limited to four minutes, subject to the ruling or discretion of the officer presiding and depending on the nature of the question.
The Deputy Chairperson opened the floor for comments and questions.
The members agreed that the time limit for reply to supplementary questions be limited to four minutes and said that it should be implemented with immediate effect.
The Chief Whip reported that it was also agreed that the number of supplementary questions would be limited to four questions per original question. Further, that if it were the view of members that a matter was of substantial interest, a subject of discussion would be held on the matter.
It had also been agreed that the time limit per supplementary question would be limited to two minutes.
Mr Sulliman requested that it be agreed that the member who asks the original question be afforded first option to ask follow -up questions.
The time limit for reply to supplementary questions be limited to four minutes.
The number of supplementary questions be limited to four questions per original question.
The time limit per supplementary question be limited to two minutes.
The new rules to be implemented with immediate effect.
6.3 The Workshop on the Interim Report of the Joint Subcommittee on Delegated Legislation
The Secretary to the NCOP, Ms L L Matyolo reported that the report of the workshop had been circulated to members as requested at the previous meeting.
The Deputy Chairperson asked what the purpose of the report and the workshop on the Interim Report was.
The Secretary responded that it had been to prepare members for the discussions which would take place in the Joint Rules Committee (JRC) meeting.
The Deputy Chairperson said that members should now be able to participate in discussions on the Interim Report of the Joint Subcommittee on Delegated Legislation in the Joint Rules Committee meeting.
6.4 The position of the Deputy Chairperson of Committees
The Secretary to the NCOP explained that the question that emanated from the previous meeting was whether the grading of the upgraded position of the Deputy Chairperson of Committees had been raised with the Moseneke Commission.
The Deputy Chairperson proposed, on behalf of the Chairperson of the NCOP, that a discussion on the matter be postponed until the next meeting of the Rules Committee. He reported that the Moseneke Commission had not responded regarding the grading of the position.
The matter to stand over.
6.5.The composition of the NCOP Rules Committee
The Chief Whip said that the Council Rules were not clear with respect to the composition of the Rules Committee and proposed that the Rules be amended to reflect the correct composition of the Rules Committee.
He said that the Rules should state clearly that the provincial whips and representatives from the provinces are part of the Rules Committee. He added that the Rules do not clearly state that the senior office bearers of the NCOP namely the Chief Whip, Chairperson of Committees, Deputy Chairperson of Committees and the Programming Whip are part of the Rules Committee. With regard to political parties represented in the Council that are not represented in the Rules Committee, he said that a party representative should be allowed to attend the Rules Committee meeting.
The Deputy Chairperson opened the floor for discussion.
Mr Mzizi proposed that the matter be dealt with under item 6.6. on the agenda.
The Chief Whip responded to Mr Mzizi’s proposal and said that the ranking and recognition of smaller parties (item 6.6.) did not relate to the composition of the Rules Committee.
Kgoshi Mokoena requested the Chief Whip to provide the motivation for his proposal regarding an amendment of the Rules pertaining to the composition of the Rules Committee.
The Chief Whip responded that the provincial whips are the people who lead provincial delegations in the absence of the Premier and liaise with provinces. With regard to the Chief Whip not being identified by the Rules as being part of the Rules Committee, he said that the Chief Whip was tasked with the political management of the Council and that it would be an anomaly for the Chief Whip not to attend the Rules Committee meeting. He said that if these office bearers were not specified in the Rules as part of the Rules Committee, the Chief Whip or the Programming Whip would not be compelled to attend the Rules Committee meetings and it may create an anomaly for these office bearers not to be a part of the policy making body. The same applies to the Chairperson of Committees. The Rules Committee takes decisions and formulates policy with regard to the functioning of committees and it is important for the Chairperson of Committees to be reflected to be a part of the Rules Committee. These office bearers should be a part of the composition of the Rules Committee by virtue of the offices they hold.
The Deputy Chairperson asked whether it was correct to say that these members had been a part of the committee but were not reflected in the Rules as part of the composition. That the Chief Whip merely wanted the correct composition reflected in the Rules.
Mr Setona responded that the Rules were silent with regard to these office bearers. He said that there was a need to reflect the practice of these office bearers being a part of the Rules Committee in the letter of the Rules.
Mr Shiceka asked at what point would provincial legislatures be informed when to send special delegates to attend the Rules Committee meeting.
The Chief Whip responded that it depended on the matters that the Rules Committee was dealing with at a specific time. He said that the special delegates would usually attend when a matter had a direct bearing on provinces. He added that it was not necessary for special delegates to always be present when the Rules Committee sat. However, that the Rules Committee only sat periodically and not every week.
Mr Setona said that the practice of special delegates attending the Rules Committee meetings should be retained. He said provinces that showed interest in the running of the NCOP should not be precluded from attending any of the meetings of the Rules Committee.
The meeting agreed with the Chief Whip’s proposal.
The Council Rules to be amended to reflect the correct composition of the NCOP Rules Committee.
6.6. The ranking and recognition of smaller parties
Mr Mzizi said that this item coincided with the item which dealt with the position of the Deputy Chairperson of Committees. He added that he was under the impression that there would be consultation on whether the Rules would be changed and that he had been waiting to hear whether it was possible. He said that since the matter of the Deputy Chairperson of Committees had been deferred, it would not be appropriate to deal with this issue as it also impacted on amending the Rules. He expressed the hope that it would be agreed that the Rules would be amended to allow smaller parties to be reflected as part of the Rules Committee.
Mr Sinclair responded to Mr Mzizi’s proposal and reminded the meeting that the matter started with the debate regarding the position of the Deputy Chairperson of Committees. He said that Mr Mzizi said that when smaller parties serve on committees, they usually do not receive any benefits.
He added that Parliament’s guideline was the Moseneke Commission. He said that a party must have a certain number of members to qualify for a paid whip or leader of a specific political party to be appointed.
Mr Setona cautioned that the meeting should be careful when distinguishing between the constitutional powers of Parliament to arrange its own internal arrangements and the role of the constitutional commission. He said that the role of the Moseneke Commission was to determine the remuneration of public office bearers. Further, that the issue of whether the NCOP required whips for smaller parties was political in nature.
The Chief Whip said that the issue should be divorced from the position of the Deputy Chairperson of Committees as it was a different matter. He said that the practice in the NCOP had always been to include smaller parties in all processes of the Council and that in terms of the Rules, a party could only have a whip if it had more than seven members. The question, which presented itself, was which route would be taken when looking at the issue of remuneration. In other institutions, the smaller parties would be grouped together and be represented by a whip. He said that available options might have to be considered.
Dr Van Heerden agreed with Mr Setona and said that no Commission could infringe on the powers of Parliament.
Mr Shiceka requested that research be done on the matter as Mr Setona had raised issues around legality. He proposed that a person be delegated to do research and specifically to look at what the position in the provinces was with regard to this matter.
Mrs Oliphant said that the problem with the approach was that the whips that are in the NCOP are provincial whips which were elected by their legislatures. She said that if the meeting were to agree that all parties were entitled to have party whips, the NCOP would be functioning on the same basis as the National Assembly.
Mr Mahlangu proposed that the position as outlined in the Rules remained. He said that the issue should be further discussed and could be brought before the meeting at a later stage.
The current Rules to remain.
6.7. Appointment of the Programming Whip
The Chief Whip informed the meeting that the Hon. Mr M A Sulliman had been unanimously nominated by the provincial whips to be appointed to the position of Programming Whip of the NCOP.
The Deputy Chairperson extended his congratulations to Mr Sulliman. He said that some members were under the impression that the House appointed the Programming Whip but that it was in fact by nomination of the provincial legislatures and the Rules Committee. The announcement would be made in the House.
The Chief Whip said that this would be another reason to review the Council Rules, as it similarly does not make provision for the position of Programming Whip. He said that the matter should be attended to.
Mr Sinclair proposed that the minutes of the meeting be circulated to all members, including the members of the Democratic Alliance.
The Deputy Chairperson responded that the minutes were circulated to all members of the Rules Committee.
Mr Sulliman said that the Rules provided for question time of sixty minutes. He referred to the previous meeting where it had been decided that the House would only deal with questions on a Question Day. He said that this decision would necessitate an amendment to the Rules.
The Rules to be reviewed to address the composition of the Rules Committee.
The Rule regarding question time to be amended.
The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 10:15.
Hon. Mr M. J. Mahlangu, MP
Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces
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