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JOINT RULES COMMITTEE
19 February 1999
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE JOINT RULES: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out:
Draft 6 : Working Document on Proposed Amendments to the Joint Rules of Parliament (24 July 1998) [not available for release]
The committee went through the proposed amendments to the following sections: Intepretation, Chapter 1 - Joint sittings of Houses and Part 1 of Chapter 2 - Joint Committee System which covered Rules 1 to 18.
Amendment proposals from the NA side were indicated in the document in bold print. Amendment proposals from the NCOP side were indicated in the document in bold italics. These proposals were either accepted or rejected and these changes will be reflected in the new draft.
The first series of amendments were technical or minor in nature. Discussion ensued with Rule 10 (Joint Committees) which concerns itself with the procedure for setting up committees. There was a general complaint that presently there are too many committees. Mr Moosa (co-chairperson, NCOP) was keen for safety valves to be put into place to prevent the proliferation of committees. It was agreed that joint ad hoc committees may be set up during recess by the presiding officer and the chief whip which will be ratified by the Joint Rules Committee at their first sitting. Sub-committees may be established in urgent cases by the Joint Rules Committee (The NCOP proposal that urgent cases be decided by the Speaker and NCOP Chairperson was not accepted).
Rule 12 (Working days of joint committees) was deleted and placed elsewhere.
Rule 13 (Meetings of joint committees)
Rule 13.2 Presiding officer also has the authority to call a meeting if the co-chairperson is not available.
Rule 13.4 moved to 14 A.
Rule 14 (General powers of joint committees)
Rule 14A & B (2) If venue of meeting is outside of Parliament, there has to be concurrence of the Chief Whip of each House after consultation with the presiding officer. For occasions when a meeting is set for a time outside of working hours, it was decided to use the applicable clause from the latest draft of the NA Rules and transplant it to the Joint Rules as well as to the NCOP Rules.
Likewise for Rule 14D, it was decided to use Clause 129 of the latest draft of the NA Rules and transplant it to the Joint Rules as well as to the NCOP Rules.
Rule 15 (Admission of the public)
The NCOP suggestion for 15 (1A) (b) allowing the closure of a meeting to the public in order to decide if a specific matter needs to be discussed in camera was accepted.
Rule 15 (3) (b)
It was accepted that the Speaker and the Chairperson acting jointly may take reasonable measures in accordance with guidelines still to be drafted by the Joint Rules Committee to regulate public access.
Rule 17 (Removal of persons)
The provisions from the NA Rules [Clause 128 (b)]will be transplanted here as well as into the NCOP Rules. This applies to members of the public as well as to non-committee member MPs.
Rule 18 (Publication of proceedings, evidence, reports etc)
It was emphasised that the definition should apply not only to documents but to recordings as well. The confidentiality of a document can be decided both by the person who tenders to the document as well as by the committee itself.
The date of the next meeting was not set.
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