Review of National Assembly Rules

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


19 FEBRUARY 1999

Documents Handed out

Draft of National Assembly Rules

Detailed Minutes
Chairman De Lange (ANC) stated he wanted the rules out of his subcommittee by the end of the week. Gerrit Grove (private legal consultant) has rearranged the rules to make it sound better. The Chair reminded everyone that section 214 summarized the Constitution and sections are underlined because of the new placement. The committee will go through the new rules, section by section.

Rule 215
Cleared up according to the Constitution

Rule 218
The Chairman suggested that this be in the joint rules. Mr. Grove said that the committee needed to review. The NCOP liked this rule, and felt it necessary. However, a sentence needed to be added which discussed acts involving only the National Assembly. The Chair agreed, saying that this rule allows the NCOP to have the bills when the National Assembly receives them, allowing the NCOP to plan their schedule and discuss among the provinces what their decisions will be. It will allow the entire process to run smoothly. So yes, the committee needs to add a clause that indicates Rule 218 does not apply in constitutional affairs. Also need to add that the chairman of the committee not only sends the bill to the NCOP, but also to the select committee within the province.

Rule 220
Caused much interest. Mr. Hendricks (ANC) questioned the portfolio committee receives the bill before merit is decided. De Lange asked why couldn’t you? A consultation needs to occur with the portfolio committee before one can determine the effect. The women from the IFP agreed that the consultation was needed because the justice committee, for example, may see something that is extremely viable which the committee on legislative proposals did not. De Lange argued that you couldn’t let the committee proscribe. Merit is political; it is as simple as that. Mr. Grove suggested that need to delete merit and find another word that levies amount of worth. Mr. Hendricks agreed that the change would be sufficient.

Rule 221
The Chair asked that the phrase includes, in Italics, the views include recommendations, financial or otherwise.

Rule 222
Deemed perfect by the Chair. The Secretary of the NA found a technical problem with part 4(b). Once the House approves, then sent to the portfolio committee responsible for the subject of the bill. Then it returns to the house. The portfolio committee would be limited in scope of subject because House approves in principle. Only a technical amendment, drop 4(b).

Rule 228
Mr. De Lange said the rule required a cabinet-type memorandum. Having a memo not a bill saves time and money, but allows committees to discuss the bill on its merits. De Lange used his Justice committee as an example.

Rule 224.4
The chair said that the rule only does what the executive does. The question was raised whether or not this is the end report of the committee.

Rule 223.2
Asked to delete because in essence 221.2 does the same thing. The committee agreed it to. Mr. Hendricks recommended that the member not discuss this. The Chair said no decision except the proposal. You can do whatever you want, because these are political decisions left to the committee. This committee does not want to be obliged to debate issues. Mr. Hendricks asked to return to rule 224.4. He found it redundant to table a bill, refer to committee, then debate the bill. Mr. De Lange said the rule was meant to discuss the first read – 15 minutes from the committee chair and 3 minutes for each party. De Lange recommended that the rule be reworded to include 225 and 224, deleting 224.4. Mr. Grove said the rule provides the chair the opportunity to say the committee’s done and will continue. Then, after a bill, 224.4 kicks in. The suggestion was made to flip 224.1 with 222.4, and placing 225 after 224.1(a). Rule 232 applies to the committee bills as well, placing it after 222.3. Mr. Grove decided that 224.4 was indeed wrong; it applies for 231. It was also suggested that the note in rule 222 be added to rule 225.

Rule 226
The Chair suggested that the explanation was for a memorandum or a draft bill. A proviso needed to be made in order to retrain the Speakers’s powers. The Chairman suggested a rule similar to rule 232.4. It explains the memo will apply, but 226(c) makes it absolute and it cannot work this way. The female from the IFP asked if the general rules regarding suspension wold cover the soeaker. Yet Mr. Grove said that a provisio was needed. The current rule in 145(a) in the bluebook needs to go with the above rule. The Secretary asked that the rule include a tabling rule as well.

Rule 234.1 and 234.2
Mr. Chair commented that these rules provided the sequence of the process. 234(c) collapsed the previous rules of 206 and 207. The phrase should be confer, not consult. This is not a conferral process, rather a consultation.

Rule 228
Raised objections from the National Assembly. Any members can object to classify any step prior to the introduction to the joint committee. The NA asked that this committee amend the JTM aspect of the rule to take this objection into account.

Rule 232
Section a(ii) gives notice for the opportunity of speech; the program committee has the ultimate power.

Mr. Grove suggested that the section regarding public input will be slotted for the end of the document. Perhaps it should be in the front, where it will look good. He will work on the rules to accommodate this problem.

The meeting was adjourned.


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