Progress Reports: deliberations

Joint Rules

22 March 2006
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


22 March 2006

Chairpersons: Ms B Mbete (Speaker of the National Assembly)
Mr M Mahlangu (Chairperson of the NCOP)

Documents handed out
Draft oversight & accountability model – Part 1
Draft oversight & accountability model – Part 2
Draft oversight & accountability model – Part 3
Draft oversight & accountability model – Part 4
Draft oversight & accountability model - Part 5
Oversight and accountability presentation
Report of Task Team on Parliament’s international relations policy
Policy and operational guidelines for Parliament’s involvement in international relations
Draft Report of Joint Subcommittee on Review of Joint Rules
Progress Report by Whippery on Draft Leave Policy for Members
Draft minutes of proceedings

The Task Team on Oversight and Accountability provided a progress report and proposed an oversight model aimed at reinforcing the functioning of Parliamentary Committees. It proposed the creation of an Integrated Parliamentary Oversight Committee which would focus on a long term co-ordinated approach to Parliament’s oversight function. Members expressed concern that the model only focused on the National Council of Provinces but was silent on the role of the National Assembly, and called for the immediate improvement of the Committee Section’s research arm and better management of information and documentation. The concern was raised that the model did not place enough emphasis on the oversight work done by the individual Member of Parliament, that Parliament’s priorities and processes must be flexible enough to allow it to immediately respond to unanticipated oversight issues that arose during the ordinary course of events, and whether the model had any financial impact on Parliament’s budget. The Committee agreed that a workshop would be held at which political parties could discuss the recommendations further, and parties must be prepared to vote on the Report in the first week in May.

The Task Team on Parliament’s International Relations Policy indicated its proposal that four to five Members of Parliament be dedicated, core members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and that a working group be established to give further expression to Parliament’s involvement in other international organisations. The Speaker expressed her discomfort with the proliferation of bodies proposed and called on urgent capacity building and protocol training for Parliament’s International Relations Unit and agreed that its capacity needed to be improved. The Committee adopted the policy in principle, which would be formally adopted later in May 2006 once Members had applied their minds to the policy.

Parliament’s draft leave policy was close to finalisation, and indications were that the leave policy would be decided on by the parties themselves. The Committee agreed to provide the support needed to finalise the policy. Feedback was received by the Committee on the Interim Report on Scrutiny of Delegated legislation, and it was left to the Committee to decide whether it would accept the Report or not. The Committee would finalise the matter in the first week in May. The Joint Subcommittee on Review of Rules would present the Draft Rules to the Committee for consideration once the Committee approved the amendment aimed at bringing the definition of Money Bills in line with the Constitutional definition. The Committee approved the amendment.

The Committee decided that, with regard to the governance model of Parliament, it would be proposed that the National Assembly Chief Whips Forum be expanded to include the National Council of Province’s whips. Members mandated the National Assembly Speaker and the National Council of Province’s Chairperson to establish a task team to consider how to best approach Parliament’s programme to give more time to constituency or oversight work. The Committee approved the ANC Chief Whip’ proposal that the Committee on the African Peer Review Mechanism be retained, subject to the formulation of proper terms of reference for its future functioning.

Introduction by Speaker
The Speaker noted that Mr M Goniwe (ANC Chief Whip) proposed the addition of the following two items to the agenda: firstly, the role of the Chief Whips Forum in Parliament’s governance model and, secondly, the possible establishment of a task team to consider Parliament’s programme framework to allow Members to conduct more oversight work.

Progress Report by Task Team on Oversight and Accountability
Mr K Bapela (National Assembly Chairperson : Oversight and Accountability) stated that he headed the Task Team on Oversight and Accountability, and would provide an executive summary of its findings: He stated by way of background that a decision had been taken to look at Parliament’s oversight capacity. The process had begun in 1999 when Parliament had commissioned Prof Hugh Corder, from the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty, to research the matter. His report was delivered to this Committee, upon which an ad hoc committee was established to consider the recommendations in the report. That committee was headed by the current Chairperson of Parliament’s Justice Portfolio Committee, Ms F Chohan-Kota (ANC). Her committee’s report had been handed over to the Committee and was adopted in March 2004. His Task Team was then setup in November 2004, and conducted extensive research to identify the model to be developed and presented to the Committee.

The report provided to Members outlined the current Constitutional landscape, the doctrine of the separation of powers and co-operative government and the roles of the two Houses. It also revisited Parliament’s current oversight activities and challenges. The proposed model was looking at reinforcing the function of Parliamentary Committees. The document also considered the accountability of institutions supporting democracy, and their role in assisting government to properly discharge its oversight mandate. It proposed the creation of an Integrated Parliamentary Oversight Committee (IPOC) which would focus on a long term co-ordinated approach of Parliament’s oversight function, from the public participation process, the input received from petitions etc. The Task Team proposed that Parliamentary Committees operate in a clustered manner, and pronounced itself on how the House processed the reports received from Parliamentary Committees, and what happened to those reports once adopted by Parliament.

The powerpoint presentation on the report detailed the:
- foundation of the oversight model, which was taken from the Constitution;
- analysis of the core functions of Parliament;
- elements of an oversight model;
- oversight principles;
- overview of the Parliamentary oversight mechanism and the Committee oversight cycle;
- Parliamentary oversight process as identified; and
- the impact of adopting the proposed model on Parliament.

Mr Bapela stated that the Committee must consider the eight recommendations of the Task Team as contained in the last few slides of the presentation. He requested that the Committee adopt the report in principle.

The Speaker stated that she believed progress was being made and was a critical part of Parliament’s work in terms of its Constitutional mandate. It must be ensured that the process actually impacted people in the community, as it could not simply be "a process for its own sake". It must improve governance in terms of delivery on the ground. Secondly, every step in the process involved its own bureaucracy, and that took time.

She stated that Mr Bapela should answer the questions he could, as most of the inputs from Members would most likely be matters that would be taken forward and would not have to be answered immediately.

Ms C Botha (National Assembly Chairperson: Internal Arrangements) agreed with the Speaker that a great deal of progress had been made by the Task Team, but expressed her concern that the proposed model created a "bureaucracy extraordinaire". Parliament currently had reports that it received from the Committees which had not yet been given attention. She suggested that perhaps too much was being done in terms of structure, but not enough in terms of simple action.

Secondly, Ms Botha stated that the model was really only looking towards the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) when dealing with the important function of taking Parliament to the people, and sought clarity on the role of the National Assembly in that process.

Thirdly, she noted the recommendation in the Report that Members of Parliament be given technical training to empower them. She was, however, of the view that that was not the proper approach to follow, as different Members of Parliament possessed different skills that were equally important. The model sought to make the Members fit into the process, when in fact it was the process that should fit the specialised skills of each Member.

Mr Bapela responded that the training proposed would not only focus on improving their technical capacity, but would also deal with matters such as the interpretation and analysis of a budget. It thus marked a continuous capacity building programme.

Ms S Seaton (IFP Deputy Whip) stated that the current Parliament Committee system needed an improved research arm and better management of information and documentation.

Secondly, she disagreed with Mr Bapela’s proposal that the Committee adopt the Report of the Task Team, as parties first needed to discuss it in their party caucus’.

Mr J Jeffrey (ANC) stated that the presentation was useful but Members needed to engage with it much more. One of his concerns was that the proposed model placed the Parliamentary Committees at the centre of Parliament’s oversight function, when the truth of the matter was that the current capacity of Parliamentary Committees to properly exercise the oversight function was limited. It would perhaps assist matters if the capacity of the Committee section to draft Committee reports on oversight was strengthened.

Secondly, he stated that the process proposed by the model was quite neat, but he believed that certain things had been left out. One such omission was the budget process, which was quite key. So too was the role of the Joint Budget Committee, and he was not entirely sure whether it was given enough attention in the model.

Thirdly, Mr Jeffrey asked when the Report would be adopted and its recommendations implemented.

Fourthly, he expressed his uncertainty as to the practical working relationship between the NCOP and the NA in the model, because each House had its own function. He was not sure if the Task Team’s proposals recognised that properly.

Fifthly, Mr Jeffrey stated that parties needed to consider the matter further, and perhaps a workshop should be held to discuss its concrete proposals.

Mr D Gibson (DA Chief Whip) agreed that good progress had been made by the Report. He cautioned against the undue emphasis placed in the presentation on the idea that Parliament was only an oversight mechanism, because it was only there to represent the people. The fact of the matter was that Parliament performed other functions, such as devising government policy and examining that policy.

Secondly, he disagreed with the statement made in the presentation that the Parliamentary questions sessions in the House posed a risk to proper oversight. He believed that they were only risky when government failed to provide the proper answers.

Thirdly, he felt that the research conducted by Parliamentary Committees could turn out to be a huge waste of money and resources if it was not properly managed and controlled. He confessed to not knowing where exactly the researchers offices were.

Fourthly, Mr Gibson suggested that a more structured approach to Members’ oversight work in constituencies be devised. It must be brought into the constituency work weeks in Parliament’s programme, and a structured programme was needed for those weeks.

Fifthly, he was of the view that the proposed model placed too much emphasis on Members of Parliament as a collective, and not enough on the oversight work done by the individual Member of Parliament.

Furthermore, Mr Gibson stated that Parliament’s priorities were set years in advance, and that was far too an inflexible an approach. So much could happen within one week in politics that would necessitate immediate and unforeseen action, such as an urgent oversight visit to a municipality to resolve conflict. At the moment the model was not flexible enough to allow for that.

In conclusion, he stated that the Report provided a really good beginning, but parties needed more time to consider it further.

Ms F Chohan-Kota (ANC) supported the sentiments expressed so far that good work had been done by the Task Team, it raised some important ideas. The mandate of the Task Team was to consider the implementation aspects of the proposed model, yet certain implementation aspects had not been considered. The first was the Parliamentary programme, which must be ‘tinkered with’ to allow Parliament the necessary flexibility to improve its oversight function.

The Speaker replied that this was a very important issue and was currently being considered.

Secondly, Ms Chohan-Kota stated that the role of the Joint Budget Committee was omitted from the model. Thirdly, while she agreed that there were areas of oversight that could be planned in advance, there were also matters that arose during the ordinary course of events that could simply not be anticipated. They must be accommodated into the current Parliamentary Committee system.

Ms S Kalyan (DA) approved of the proposed model because it gave structure to Committee work. She asked whether the model would have any financial impact on Parliament’s budget.

Secondly, she sought clarity on the development participation model mentioned in the presentation.

Ms S Rajbally (Minority Front Whip) complimented the presentation and agreed with Mr Jeffrey that a workshop was needed to highlight the importance of Parliament’s oversight function.

Ms Seaton agreed that the workshop was good idea, but reiterated her earlier proposal that the proposed model first be taken to party caucus to get more detailed input.

The Speaker asked whether the proposed model suggested that ‘oversight’ meant the work done by Parliamentary Committees alone or whether there were other activities of Parliament that also constituted oversight work, such as the work done by Members of Parliament as individual Members. This must be clearly spelt out in the model.

Mr Bapela acknowledged the need for the greater focus, and stated that the Task Team would consider it further.

The Speaker noted that the Report proposed the clustering of themes, and asked to what extent the proposed clustering corresponded to the clustering of government departments.

Mr Bapela responded that the Task Team did debate this issue, but no concrete decision was taken. He requested the guidance of the Committee.

The Speaker stated that IPOC must consider the inherent differences between the two Houses, their mandates and the different focus of work done. She suggested that IPOC be structured in such a manner that the NA could still ensure its functioning should the NCOP not be available. This would prevent the total immobilisation of the structure should one arm not be available.

Mr Bapela replied that this matter would be left to the Speaker to take forward.

The Speaker stated that the model must clearly state that Parliament was the custodian of the Constitution, as that pronouncement appeared absent.

Secondly, she stated that Members made two proposals; the first was the need for a workshop at which political parties could discuss the recommendations further, and the second was that individual parties themselves needed to caucus the Report before it could be formally adopted. Both were valid matters. Tight timeframes must be put in place for the two points.

Mr Bapela responded that quite a number of issues raised were important and would be considered further. He stated that some of the issues raised were contained in the Report, but perhaps they were not as explicit as Members would like, such as the role of the Joint Budget Committee. It would be considered further.

He stated that the remainder of the inputs were good points that the Task Team would take on board.

The Speaker sought clarity on some of the issues raised in the recommendations. The Report called for an improvement of Parliament’s Committee functioning, which clearly needed to be done. She requested Mr G Doidge (National Assembly Chairperson of Committees) to indicate the additional capacity that would be needed by Committees.

Mr Doidge replied that a study was conducted to identify the needed capacity, and the results were supplied to the Task Team.

The Speaker stated that the Committee must also be provided with a copy of the study.

Mr Doidge continued that the Report suggested each Parliamentary Committee be assigned its own researcher and content specialist. The reality was that only the NCOP Committees currently had dedicated researchers.

The Speaker stated firmly that that recommendation must be effected as soon as possible. Furthermore, most of the recommendations were currently being worked on by Parliament in any event. These included the continuous empowerment of Members of Parliament, which included improving their technology capacity. She stated that Parliament was committed to increasing the resources available so that additional capacity could be created for every Member. This would however not be done blindly, but the training and empowerment would be provided in line with the direction and specific area of expertise of the Member. That must be specified clearly.

Mr Mahlangu pledged his commitment to this objective.

The Speaker sought guidance from Members as to when parties should have caucused the Report.

Ms Seaton stated that the matter could not be rushed. She proposed that the Task Team make presentations to each individual party caucus sometime over the following two weeks. Parties would thus be able to vote in favour of the Report in the first week in May.

The Speaker noted that the Committee agreed.

Report by Task Team on Parliament’s International Relations Policy
Mr Bapela informed Members that he Chaired this Task Team as well. The document handed out was a refinement of previous drafts, and he hoped Members had already engaged their parties on the document. He explained that this Committee mandated the Task Team on 26 October 2005 to evaluate where Parliament found itself internationally. This involved the following aspects:
- its affiliation to international bodies and bilateral organisations;
- the international best practice models for Parliaments;
- the core objective of Parliament’s international relations mandate;
- guidelines on its programmes of action;
- Parliament’s operational guidelines; and
- its internal political structure.

He proceeded to elaborate on the Task Team’s guidelines for the Committee, the thrust of which was that Parliament set aside four to five Members as dedicated, core members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Those dedicated Members would give focused attention to the IPU. Furthermore, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) must have an IPU branch, which it did not currently have. He proposed that a working group be established to look at giving more expression to the Rules and Parliament’s involvement in other international organisations. This future work could not be done by the Task Team itself, as it would be dissolved upon the tabling of its Final Report.

The Speaker thanked the Task Team for the work it had put into the Report. She expressed her discomfort with the proliferation of the bureaucracy being proposed by Mr Bapela in his suggestion that a working group be established over and above the Task Team, which would in turn decide on the establishment of another body, namely the IPU delegation. She considered the proliferation to be unnecessary.

Mr Bapela replied that the Task Team was of the view that the process could continue with the establishment of a working group, which should ideally consist of the members of the Task Team. He stated that he did not want to suggest the simple transfer of the Task Team to the working group, because they did not want to appoint themselves.

The Speaker stated that the same team must be involved in the next step in the process.

Ms M Mentor, Chairperson of the ANC caucus, sought clarity as to how exactly ‘national interest’ was determined.

Mr Bapela replied that national interest was defined in terms of South Africa’s foreign policy and, as such, was reflected in the foreign policy document under discussion.

Ms Mentor asked where exactly the Members who were engaged in international bilateral negotiations derived their mandates from.

The Speaker replied that the Committee structure that Parliament did consider did in fact look at the challenges of the previous Committee. A conscious decision was taken that the new Committee would now look at the political content issues, such as the specific mandates of the delegates and not merely at the administrative issues, as was focused on by the previous Committee. The fact of the matter was that that Committee was supposed to consider the political matters, but it failed to do so.

Mr Bapela agreed that the mandating would also be done by the Parliamentary Committee.

Ms Mentor stated that capacity building for Members of Parliament in terms of international relations was needed urgently, as well as protocol training.

Ms Botha informed the Committee that Parliament did in fact have an international relations unit, whose capacity was being improved on an on going basis. There was a very urgent need for the protocol unit to be expanded, and asked whether that would be done immediately or whether the Report had to be finalised first.

The Speaker responded to the two questions by stating that the ‘capacitation’ of that unit was very urgent and must be done immediately.

Mr Bapela agreed that it was an important issue, and it would be dealt with as soon as the policy document was adopted.

Mr Mahlangu congratulated the Task Team on the good work done. He agreed that Parliament desperately needed to establish a Committee on International Relations. There was a semblance of such a Committee at the moment, but it operated very loosely on an ad hoc basis, simply because Parliament did not currently have a Committee that co-ordinated international relations.

Secondly, he stated that there were other bodies that also operated on a very ad hoc basis, and there was an urgent need for a structured approach so that their delegates could take informed mandates to the international forums.

The Speaker confirmed that Parliament did currently have an International Relations Unit, and agreed that its capacity needed to be improved.

Secondly, she sought clarity as to the specific NEPAD structure referred to in the Report, because she was aware of two such structures within NEPAD.

Thirdly, she agreed with Mr Mahlangu that a Parliamentary Committee on International Relations was needed.

The Speaker asked Mr Bapela to indicate how much time his working group would need to finalise the report.

Mr Bapela replied that the whole of May would be needed, and they would then report back to the Committee in June.

The Speaker believed that the Members of Parliament that would be dedicated IPU delegates would have to be relieved of all other Parliamentary Committee obligations, if the initiative was to be successful. The delegation must consist of three to five dedicated Members of Parliament who would attend all the IPU meetings. How precisely the rotation of those Members would be effected was a matter that needed consideration.

Mr Bapela requested that the Committee adopt the policy as a matter of principle, and the further detailed work on the policy would be reflected at a later stage.

Mr Jeffery stated that he was not sure whether the Committee should adopt the policy at that point, because parties had not yet had sufficient time to discuss it.

The Speaker noted that the Committee believed that the general thrust of the policy was welcomed, but it was too soon to adopt the policy. The Committee must however adopt policy in 2006, because significant pressure was already being placed on it. Members however needed time to apply their minds to the policy.

Progress Report by Whippery on Draft Leave Policy
Adv Masutha (ANC) stated by way of background that the consideration of the leave policy for Members of Parliament was referred to the Chief Whips Forum by this Committee. It then established the Task Team, which he Chaired. He explained that the leave policy was still work in progress and it looked like parties were getting closer to a common view. In short he stated that it appeared from discussions that the leave policy would not be controlled by Parliament, but would instead be in the hands of the parties themselves.

The Task Team was also examining very closely the practicalities of the Constitutional provision that stipulated that a Member of Parliament could lose his seat because of non-attendance, as provided in the Rules as well. The National Assembly Rules did not currently impose any sanction for non-attendance, and only the NCOP Rules have to date given effect to that Constitutional provision.

He explained that the Task Team was also experiencing practical difficulties in terms of its functioning, but that was a matter to be resolved by the Chief Whips Forum. A draft policy was not yet available because the matter was still with the Chief Whips Forum.

The Speaker stated that she hoped that even draft policy stated clearly that the parties themselves would manage the leave of their Members, as that was always the intention. Parliament did of course have a vested interest as it would not pay Members who did not perform Parliamentary work.

Mr J van der Merwe (IFP Whip) stated that it was a pity that the National Assembly Rules and NCOP Rules pronounced differently on the matter.

Mr Jeffery stated that the fact of the matter was that not much input was received from the NCOP on the draft leave policy, because the Chief Whips Forum consisted only of National Assembly Members. Furthermore, the NCOP Members wore two hats: they were their party representatives, as well as being representatives for their whole province. This must be considered and the NCOP must report on how it was addressing the issue.

Mr Mahlangu replied that the NCOP was prepared to look into Mr Jeffery’s concerns.

Mr M Ellis (DA Deputy Chief Whip) stated that the opposition parties in the NCOP had difficulty with the leave policy of the NCOP, and he thus welcomed Mr Mahlangu’s response.

Mr V Windvoel (ANC NCOP Chief Whip) welcomed interaction with the Task Team on the matter.

Ms Seaton stated that one of the issues discussed at the Chief Whips Forum workshop was the definition of ‘working days’, as contained in the Labour Relations Act. The definition must be considered carefully, especially with regard to Members’ attendance at Parliament for a specific period of time.

Ms Mentor stated that she was not under the impression that the labour laws applied to Members of Parliament, as Members of Parliament did not, for example, employ collective bargaining. It would thus not be proper for selective application of the labour laws to occur. She thus agreed with Ms Seaton that the definition needed to be reconsidered. The actual nature of the work conducted by Members of Parliament must be evaluated, and a leave policy must consequently be developed around it.

She stated that she was concerned by the fact that there were Members of Parliament who have not yet given up their previous jobs, and were in fact still performing those parallel to their Parliamentary work. That could not be allowed to continue.

Ms Rajbally proposed that the leave policy specifically require Member to notify the presiding officers of Parliament about their whereabouts and the reasons for leave.

Adv Masutha replied to the concerns raised by stating that he would hopefully be able to clarify the concerns as soon as the Chief Whips Forum reported back to the Committee.

The Speaker sought a timeframe within which the issues would be resolved.

Mr Goniwe stated that the matter was being unnecessarily delayed by the Chief Whips Forum, because it was clearly not keen to finalise the matter. In the previous Chief Whips Forum meeting, it had been resolved that Adv Masutha would co-opt people in order to finalise the matter. He requested that Adv Masutha be assisted in that regard with the support from staff. The bone of contention emanating form the Chief Whips Forum discussions was whether Parliament should become the sole custodian of the leave policy of Members.

The Speaker emphasised that leave policy had always been decided by the parties themselves, and thus those officials at the Chief Whips Forum meetings who argued the contrary had clearly misread. She ruled that the Committee would look into providing Adv Masutha with the support he needed to finalise the policy.

Feedback from parties on Interim Report on Scrutiny of Delegated legislation
Adv Masutha stated that a workshop had been held with both Houses on the issue of delegated legislation. It was now up to the political parties and the Committee to decide whether it would accept the Report submitted many years ago by that Sub-Committee..

The Speaker reminded Members that Adv Masutha had outlined the recommendations made in that Report during the previous meeting of this Committee, and it now remained for the Committee to make up its mind about each of those recommendations. The matter had to be finalised because it had been going on for far too long.

Mr Jeffrey stated that a presentation should be made to the Executive on the matter

The Speaker disagreed and stated that the process would be delayed even further if Ministers were involved. Her fear was that Parliament might be influenced to pander to the wishes of the executive. She proposed that an interim structure proposed in the Report be established for the time being, with sufficiently qualified technical people who understood the technical and complicated matters being discussed. The Committee would evaluate the best way to deal with the Executive without immobilising its own process, perhaps by engaging the legal advisors of departments.

Secondly, she appealed to parties to finalise the matter because it has been around for ages.

Adv Masutha informed the Committee that the Sub-Committee had requested the previous Speaker of Parliament to allow it to meet with the legal advisors, but the request had been turned down by the government departments.

Mr Goniwe suggested that parties return in the first week of May with very clear final positions on the international relations policy, the leave policy, the deletion of legislation and the review of rules.

The Speaker thanked the Chief Whip for the helpful suggestion, and noted that Members agreed to it.

Progress Report by Joint Subcommittee on Review of rules
Adv Masutha stated that the Subcommittee was almost ready to present the Draft Rules to the Committee for consideration, but there was just one technical matter it needed to explain. The Draft Rules were very technical, and the technical matter here was the amendment aimed at bringing the definition of money bills in line with the Constitutional definition.

He stated that, in the past, the Rules had been drafted word for word from the Constitution or other pieces of legislation. The result was that Parliament would have to amend its Rules every time those pieces of legislation were amended. It was thus proposed that the Committee considered, as a medium to long-term process, the revision of its Rules so that they could be cleaned up.

Furthermore, there were other issues referred to the Sub-Committee throughout the process that it did not initially understand. It was subsequently discovered that there were other Parliamentary Committees that dealt specifically with those matters, and they had since been referred to those Committee by the Sub-Committee. One such issue was the powers and privileges matter, which was referred to the Powers and Privileges Committee.

He stated that a decision was needed from the Committee on the amendment of the Money Bills definition in the Joint Rules, which was outdated and need to be updated. Once that was finalised, the Draft Rules could be presented in total for consideration.

Mr Jeffrey appealed to the Committee to adopt it because it was really a technical matter. In any event the document would still have to go to each House’s Rules Committee for approval.

The Speaker noted that the Committee adopted it.

Developments in respect of the Governance Model of Parliament
The Speaker informed Members that the quarterly forum issue had been adopted by Parliament but had not yet been adopted by the House. She noted that the Committee agreed that the matter be taken forward.

Mr Jeffery asked whether the Chief Whips Forum would incorporate the NCOP as well.

The Speaker replied that it would be proposed that the National Assembly Chief Whips Forum must be expanded for this purpose only, so as to include NCOP whips.

Establish a task team to consider how to best approach programme of Parliament to give more time to constituency or oversight work
Mr Jeffrey proposed that the Committee mandate the Speaker and the NCOP Chairperson to co-opt Members to consider this matter.

The Speaker noted that the Committee agreed.

Adoption of Minutes
The Speaker noted that the Committee adopted the minutes of its previous meeting.

Matters arising
Mr Goniwe proposed that the Ad Hoc Committee on the African Peer Review Mechanism be retained and not dissolved, because Parliament would need to consult it continuously as it was an integral part of Parliament’s work. It must be retained to engage in reviews on an ongoing manner.

The Speaker stated that this was an important proposal. She noted that the Committee did not object to its retention, but called for proper terms of reference for its future functioning to be circulated.

Mr Goniwe requested a progress report on the position with regard to the accommodation on non-Members in the Parliamentary villages.

The Speaker informed the Chief Whip that progress was being made and a report back would be given at the Committee’s next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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