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RULES COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
REVISED MINUTES OF MEETING
24 August 2004
These minutes are were provided by the National Council of Provinces Table Staff
Kgoali, Ms J L (Chairperson of the NCOP)
Adams, Mr F
Adolph, Rev E
Gqobana, Mr S H
Hollander, Ms P
Kolweni, Mr Z S
Mack, Mr N
Mahlangu, Mr N D
Matlanyane, Ms H F
Mokoena, Kgoshi L M
Ntuli, Mr Z C
Qikani, Ms A N D
Sogoni, Mr E M
Setona, Mr T S (Deputy Chairperson of Committees)
Terblanche, Ms J
Van Heerden, Mr F J
Vilakazi, Ms J N
Watson, Mr A
Windvoël, Mr V V Z (Chief Whip of the NCOP)
APOLOGIES: Ms B N Dlulane; Ms E S Mabe; Mr M J Mahlangu (Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP); Ms N Ntwanambi; Ms M N Oliphant (Chairperson of Committees); Mr S Shiceka; Mr K Sinclair; Mr M A Sulliman.
Staff: Ms L L Matyolo, Mr L Sipoyo, Mr B V L Momoti, Mr B Matutle, Adv A Gordon, Ms J A Borien, Mr B Nonyane, Mr M Tshaiviti, Mr A Syme, Mr R Ponambalan, Ms M Morobi.
The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Ms J L Kgoali, opened the meeting at 10:40 a.m. and welcomed all to the meeting.
2. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
The Chairperson put the revised agenda before the meeting for adoption. The agenda was agreed to without any additions.
3. CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF 10 MAY 2004
The Chairperson put the minutes of the previous meeting before the meeting for adoption. The minutes were adopted as a correct reflection of the meeting of 10 May 2004.
4. MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF 10 MAY 2004
There were no matters arising from the minutes of the meeting of 10 May 2004.
5. MATTERS OUTSTANDING FROM THE SECOND PARLIAMENT
(referred to as legacy issues in Agenda of meeting of 24 August 2004)
5.1. Formula for delegations travelling abroad
The Chairperson said that the Joint Subcommittee on International Relations was tasked with the issue of developing a formula for delegations travelling abroad. The Chairperson indicated that this Joint Subcommittee was composed of the two subcommittees from the Council and the National Assembly respectively which reported to the JRC as the Joint Subcommittee.
The Chairperson said that the there was a problem with regard to developing a formula for members travel as the different types of travel namely travel by the National Assembly, the NCOP and Parliamentary travel had to be taken into account.
The Chairperson added that the formula had been developed and that the only outstanding matter was the question of the method to be used to ensure representation of smaller parties in each delegation. The proposal was that the smaller parties should be represented on a rotational basis and that they should amongst themselves decide how this would be done.
The Chairperson requested the minority parties to assist the Council with this information to enable the Council to know who of the smaller parties should be a part of the delegation travelling abroad. The Chairperson requested the smaller parties to discuss the matter and report back to the Chairperson on how to deal with the matter. The Chairperson proposed that the matter be discussed at the multi-party whips meeting and that a report be provided within two weeks time.
Mr van Heerden asked whether it would be possible for the Office of the Chief Whip to arrange a meeting between the smaller parties.
Mr Watson asked whether the information in the document attached to the report pertaining to minority parties was still applicable.
The Chairperson said that the information would not be relevant, as the number of smaller parties in the new Parliament had increased.
Mr Watson said that the Democratic Alliance represented the most opposition members and that the number of members represented needed to be taken into account when preparing the formula for the smaller parties.
The Chairperson responded that the Democratic Alliance was one of the opposition parties.
Mrs Vilakazi expressed her appreciation that all minority parties were considered and noted with concern the new concept of official opposition being used.
The Chief Whip said that the discussion already indicated the challenges that were faced when developing a formula and proposed that, in the spirit of multi-party democracy, all minority parties be a part of the development of the formula. He seconded the proposal that the matter be referred to the multi-party whips forum meeting. He further suggested that parties would draw up submissions to be discussed at the forum meeting.
Parties to provide submissions on the matter to the Multi-party Whips Forum.
The Multi-party Whips forum to provide a report on the matter to the Chairperson within two weeks.
5.2. Time limit for reply to supplementary questions
The Chief Whip said that it was important for members to ask specific questions when posing supplementary questions so as to afford the Executive enough time to respond.
The Chairperson said that an agreement should be reached that supplementary questions would be done in less than three minutes so that the Executive would have four minutes to respond.
The Chairperson said that one hour was allocated to Questions for oral reply in the House and that if members wanted more time for questions, an agreement would have to be reached in that regard as such a decision would impact on the time of the sittings of the Council. The Chairperson requested members to respond.
Mr Watson said that the time for Questions for Oral reply should remain the same and not be extended to two hours.
Kgoshi Mokoena said that he agreed with the allotted time of one hour and with the point made by the Chief Whip that members should ask the questions and not engage on making speeches before asking the questions.
Kgoshi Mokoena proposed that the agenda of the sitting and the Council programme be arranged in such a manner so as to allow minimal matters to come before the Council on days when the Council would be engaged with Questions for oral reply.
Mr Kolweni said that the one-hour was sufficient. He referred to rule 237(3) and said that it provided the officer presiding with discretion. He added that experience has shown that one hour was sufficient to deal with the questions before the Council.
The Chairperson supported the proposal regarding minimalising the matters before the Council on the day set aside for Questions for Oral reply and requested that the proposal be considered.
The Chief Whip supported the proposal and said that the Programme Committee should look into the feasibility of the proposal. He also proposed that follow-up questions be limited to a duration of two minutes each.
Mr Ntuli asked whether questions should have a provincial or party- political focus.
Mr Mack enquired whether oral questions that was not attended to, could be responded to in writing.
The Chairperson responded that members represented their provinces as well as their political parties.
Mr van Heerden asked whether it was possible for members to ask questions that originated from the supporters or constituencies of other political parties.
The Chairperson responded that all members were public representatives and that each member was allocated a constituency.
The Programming Committee to consider the proposal regarding minimal matters to be put before the Council on days allocated to Questions for Oral reply.
5.3. Interim Report on the scrutiny of delegated legislation
The Chairperson proposed that a workshop be held to enable members to engage on the Interim Report before members engage on a discussion of the report in the JRC meeting.
The Chairperson said that a workshop would assist members to understand the report and its background. The Chairperson added that the issue of delegated legislation was an important matter for provinces and local government and that members should have an acute understanding thereof. The Chairperson proposed that a workshop on the matter be held on 17 September 2004. The Chairperson added that the Implementation of the Powers and Privileges legislation should also be considered at the workshop.
Mr Setona proposed that the Implementation of the recommendations that emanated form the Oversight report of the Joint Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability also be considered at the workshop.
The Chairperson requested the Secretary to prepare all documentation and legislation necessary for the workshops on the three matters for distribution to the members and the provinces.
Workshops on three matters emanating from the second Parliament to be held on 17 September 2004.
Secretary to NCOP to prepare all documentation necessary for workshops and distribute to members and provinces.
5.4. The Design of the Black Rod
The Secretary to the NCOP, Ms L L Matyolo, reported that the final design of the Black Rod had been circulated in the Programming Committee meeting and that possible service providers had been considered. She said that the Presiding Officers had a meeting with the service provider who was selected to finalise the Black Rod.
Ms Matyolo said that the bottom of the design included symbols and that the service provider was requested to provide an explanatory memorandum regarding the different symbols. The service provider indicated that the Black Rod would be delivered in 16 weeks.
Ms Matyolo added that the Project Office of Parliament was assisting with facilitating the finalisation of the Black Rod.
The Chairperson said that Parliament had been dealing with the symbols of the democratic Parliament and that it was agreed that a new Black Rod would be designed.
The Chairperson said that it was important to establish the meaning of the all the flowers at the bottom of the Rod to enable members to understand the significance thereof.
The Chairperson added that the Presiding Officers had requested a briefing document on the flowers at the bottom of the Rod and that an explanatory memorandum setting out the significance of the different flowers at the bottom of the Rod should be distributed to all members.
The Chairperson informed the meeting that the intention was to launch the Rod in February 2005 when the Council would have been in existence for eight (8) years. The Chairperson added that the initial idea was to launch the Black Rod as part of the heritage celebrations in 2004 but that was not possible, as the Rod would only be delivered in 16 weeks.
The Chairperson reminded the meeting that the design of the Black Rod had been agreed to by the second Parliament and that it was only the implementation that was currently taking place.
The Secretary to ensure that an explanatory memorandum setting out the significance of the different flowers at the bottom of the Rod be distributed to all members.
6. MATTERS BEFORE THE JRC
Items 6.1 – 6.3 Consideration and Adoption of the Vision Statement, governance model and the status of subcommittees
The Chairperson reminded members that the Vision Statement was discussed at the JRC meeting on 4 August 2004 and that political parties were tasked with providing a report on the matter at the next JRC meeting.
The Chairperson enquired whether the Whips were able to discuss the matter in their multi-party whips forum meeting.
The Chief Whip responded that it was the understanding that party caucuses would consider the matter and that no discussion had taken place in the multi-party whips forum meeting.
The Chairperson said that points 6.1 – 6.3 of the agenda would be addressed during the discussion of the Governance Model in the JRC meeting. She said that the proposed new model was aimed at assisting the JRC to function with a lesser number of committees.
Issues pertaining to the administration of Parliament, including the matter of international relations would be attended to by one structure. The Chairperson added that only one committee would still be relevant namely the Review of Rules Committee as it still needed to consider the Rules of Parliament.
The Chairperson added that these matters were merely put on the agenda of the NCOP Rules committee meeting to remind members that their caucuses should be addressing them.
ITEM 7: MATTERS RELATING TO THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE JOINT RULES OF PARLIAMENT
7.1. Joint Rule 123, 130, 132C and Joint Budget Committee
The Chairperson referred the meeting to Joint Rule 130 that provides for the election of a chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women.
The Chairperson said that the NCOP found itself in the position that when Joint Committees had been established, the chairperson was usually elected from the other House and the deputy chairperson from the NCOP. As a result, the chairperson was usually a member of the National Assembly and received remuneration. The deputy chairpersons did not receive any remuneration.
The Chairperson requested the meeting to consider an amendment to the Rule so as to provide for remuneration of the deputy chairpersons of Joint Committees.
The Chief Whip said that the Constitution was clear in that Parliament was constituted of two Houses and that they were equal although they differed in composition. He referred to the Joint Budget Committee and said that it had co-chairpersons and joint leadership. He said that the NCOP component of the Joint Monitoring Committee on
Children had a huge role to play in the provinces in terms of planning and liaison with provinces.
Mrs Vilakazi supported the proposal and said that co-chairpersons would be preferable, as it would show that the two Houses were equal. Mrs Vilakazi said that an investigation into the role of NCOP members within joint structures was long overdue and she specifically referred to representation of NCOP members in the African Union.
The Chairperson responded that the African Union representation was a political decision and done in accordance with the formula for international delegations which meant that the National Assembly were entitled to 3 members and the NCOP to 2 members.
Kgoshi Mokoena said that the Chairperson should also look into the matter of participation by NCOP members in the President’s Annual Address.
The Chairperson responded that the NCOP Rules committee would attend to these matters as they were identified and would continue to address them.
The NCOP Rules Committee to propose the amendment of the Joint Rules of Parliament to provide for remuneration of both chairpersons of joint committees.
ITEM 8: MATTERS RELATING TO THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF NCOP RULES
8.1. Rule 9 (Position of the Deputy Chairperson of Committees)
The Chairperson referred to Rule 9 of the NCOP Rules which relates to the appointment of the deputy chairperson of committees. The Chairperson said that the responsibilities of the deputy chairperson needed to be taken into account.
She said that the JRC had been looking at the issue of subcommittees of the Joint Rules Committee and that the administration of these subcommittees was now being attended to by House Chairpersons in the National Assembly.
The Chairperson said that the deputy chairperson of committees performed similar tasks and functions to that of the chairperson of committees in the NCOP and this position had its own responsibilities of being an implementation agent.
The Chairperson said that the deputy chairperson was currently tasked with a number of matters including the issue of facilitating and monitoring budgeting of committees and the Council, monitoring of committee work and participation of members.
The Chairperson requested the meeting to consider upgrading the position of deputy chairperson of committees to a fully resourced office since it was tasked with a number of responsibilities and was also the implementation agent in the office of the chairperson of committees.
The Chairperson proposed that the Council Rules be amended to afford the deputy chairperson of committees the same status as the chairperson of committees.
Mr Watson proposed that the proposal of the Chairperson be put in writing to enable parties to discuss the matter in their caucuses.
The Chairperson requested the Chief Whip to circulate a document setting out the proposal and including the responsibilities that the deputy chairperson of committees was currently tasked with, to political parties within two weeks.
The Chief Whip to circulate a document setting out the proposal and including the responsibilities that the deputy chairperson of committees was currently tasked with, to political parties within two weeks for consideration in their caucuses.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:08.
HON MS J L KGOALI, MP
CHAIRPERSON: NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
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