Oversight responsibility of International Relations and Cooperation Portfolio Committee
The International Relations and Cooperation Portfolio Committee is responsible for oversight of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) as well as the following statutory entities:
African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund
Committees conduct their business on behalf of the House and report back on matters referred to them.
Learn more about the work of this Committee: Legacy Reports
The role and functions of Committees in Parliament (provided by Parliament)
In accordance with the powers given to it by the Constitution, the National Assembly establishes a range of committees with assigned powers and functions. The committees are required to report regularly on their activities and to make recommendations to the House for debate and decision. A large part of the Assembly’s role in the law‑making process happens in committees and much of its oversight over the executive is also done through committees, particularly the portfolio committees.
There is a portfolio committee for each corresponding government department. The composition of the committees reflects, as far as is practicable, the numerical strengths of the parties represented in the Assembly. That committee will deliberate on bills covering that department’s area of jurisdiction and scrutinise and report on its annual budget and strategic plan. As the people’s representatives, members of the committees determine whether government departments are delivering on what they promised and whether they are spending the public money they receive in a responsible manner. As part of their oversight work, committees may also do site visits where they find out directly from the people at ground level whether the government is delivering on its promises.
If a committee reports on a matter and makes certain recommendations, that report will be debated in a full sitting or plenary to give other members of the House an opportunity to engage with the content of the report. Once the report has been debated, the House decides whether to adopt the committee’s recommendations. The House may also decide only to note the report or it may refer the report back to the committee with an instruction to do further work
Broadly speaking, the mandates of Committees are to consider and process legislation referred to it; exercise oversight over the Department and entities reporting to it; consider international agreements referred to it; consider the budget vote of the Department and its entities; facilitate public participation in its processes; and to consider all other matters referred to it in terms of legislation and the Rules of Parliament
Working in Committees allows Parliament to:
-Increase the amount of work that can be done
-Ensure that issues can be debated in more detail than in plenary sessions
-Increase the level of participation of Members of Parliament (MPs) in discussions
-Enable MPs to develop expertise and in-depth knowledge of the specific Committee's area of work
-Provide a platform for the public to present views directly to MPs, something which is not possible in a plenary sitting of Parliament
-Provide an environment for Parliament to hear evidence and collect information related to the work of a specific Committee
Rule 167 of the National Assembly Rules (9th Edition) say that for the purposes of performing its functions committee may, subject to the Constitution, legislation, the other provisions of these rules and resolutions of the Assembly –
-Summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents
-Receive petitions, representations or submissions from interested persons or institutions
-Permit oral evidence on petitions, representations, submissions and any other matter before the committee
-Conduct public hearings
-Consult any Assembly or Council committee or subcommittee, or any joint committee or subcommittee
-Determine its own working arrangements
-Meet at a venue determined by it, which may be a venue beyond the seat of Parliament
-Meet on any and at any time, including –
- On a day which is not a working day
- On a day on which the Assembly is not sitting
- At a time when the Assembly is not sitting, or
- During a recess
-Exercise any other powers assigned to it by the Constitution, legislation, the other provisions of these rules or resolutions of the Assembly
Committee membership is distributed among the parties roughly in proportion to the seats they get in Parliament, so if a party wins 20% of the seats, its MPs will occupy about 20% of committee positions.
The NA Rules Committee agreed that all Committees will be comprised of 11 Members: ANC – 6; DA – 2; EFF – 1; other parties – 2.
Where it is practicably possible, each party is entitled to at least one representative in a Committee.
Committees in Practice
With the agreement of members, the Committee staff sets the dates and times of committee meetings. The frequency of committee meetings is determined by a committee’s work programme but it is normal for a committee to meet weekly. From time to time, committees can meet more than once a week if they work programme so demands.
Section 59(1)(b) of the Constitution requires that the National Assembly and it’s committees conduct their business in an open manner and hold their sittings in public. Section 59(2) states that the National Assembly may not exclude the public or the media unless it is ‘reasonable and justifiable to do so in an open and democratic society’. Rule 184(2) of the Rules of the National Assembly further require that any decision to exclude the public from a committee meeting or part thereof must be taken ‘after due consideration’ by that committee
Who attends Committee Meetings?:
MPs (those assigned to the committee and if they so wish, any other MP)
Committee Staff: Committee Secretary, Committee Assistant, Researcher, Content Advisor
Departments, entities, organizations, individuals and experts who are invited by the Committee to speak and be questioned
Parliamentary Legal Advisor (from time to time)
THE DIFFERENT COMMITTEES OF PARLIAMENT
The National Assembly (NA) appoints from among its members a number of Portfolio Committees to shadow the work of the various national government departments.
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) appoints from its permanent members a number of Select Committees to shadow the work of the various national government departments and to deal with Bills.
Because only 54 of the 90 NCOP Members are permanent delegates compared to the 400 of the NA, the Select Committees oversee the work of more than one national government department.
Public Accounts Committees
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Public Accounts acts as Parliament's watchdog over the way taxpayers' money is spent by the Executive. Every year the Auditor-General tables reports on the accounts and financial management of the various government departments and State institutions.
Heads of government departments and institutions are regularly called by this committee to report and account for expenditure. The Committee can recommend that the National Assembly takes corrective actions if necessary.
The National Assembly has a number of internal committees that deal with matters affecting the running of Parliament. The Committees normally consist of senior Members of Parliament. The Rules Committee and its sub-committees deal with House rules. There are structures to deal with support for Members, internal arrangements, disciplinary matters and powers and privileges of members. Other internal Committees are the Programme Committee that plans the work of the Assembly, the Disciplinary Committee, and the Committee of Chairpersons.
The National Council of Provinces also has its own domestic Committees. The Rules Committee and its subcommittees deal with the NCOP rules. There are structures to deal with support for Members, internal arrangements, disciplinary matters and powers and privileges of members. The Programme Committee plans the work of the NCOP and the Committee of Chairpersons make recommendations about the functioning of Committees and other NCOP forums.
Ad hoc Committees
Parliament or one of its Houses may appoint an ad hoc (temporary) Committee when a special task must be done. When the task is complete, the Committee is dissolved.
The National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces together appoint a number of joint committees.
There are six Joint Committees:
- Constitutional Review Committee
- Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence
- Joint Standing Committee on Defence
- Committee on Multi-Party Women’s Caucus
- Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament
- Joint Standing Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests
The committees play a very important role in the process of building democracy and involving the public in the processes and activities of Parliament.
|NW1722 by Mr D Bergman - What (a) is the total number of staff that is...|
|NW1523 by Mr NI Hlengwa - Given the current political and economic...|
|NW1379 by Ms T P Msane - What engagements has she had with her American...|
|NW1378 by Ms T P Msane - In response to the criminal and indiscriminate...|
|NW675 by Mr N E Hinana - Whether (a) her department and / or (b) any...|
|NW889 by Mr Hlengwa - Whether there is any initiative by BRICS...|
|NW892 by Mr Hlengwa - Whether there is any initiative by BRICS...|
|NW512 by Mr E J Marais - Whether any staff member in her department (a)...|
|NW410 by Mr M Hlengwa - Whether there are any diplomatic discussions...|
|NW81 by Mr M Hlengwa - Whether, considering the widespread...|
|NW82 by Mr M Hlengwa - What are the details of the (a) phone call she...|
|NW134 by Mr D Bergman - Whether, with reference to increased rates of...|
|NW2976 by Mr D Bergman - Whether she will approach the African Union to...|
|NW3054 by Mr M Hlengwa - In view of the fact that her department’s...|
|NW2738 by Mr A C Roos - Whether the website of the SA High Commission...|
|NW2564 by Mr D Bergman - With regard to all properties rented by her...|
|NW2658 by MS T MSANE - What (a) role did the Government play towards...|
|NW2872 by Mrs T P Msane - Whether, given that her department has not...|
|NW2924 by Mr M Hlengwa - With regard to South Africa being expected to...|
|NW2640 by Mr D Bergman - What (a) are the detailed reasons that the...|
|NW2642 by Mr D Bergman - Whether any of the current officials from her...|
|NW2641 by Mr D Bergman - 1. Whether the department uses the WIN system;...|
|NW2490 by Mr M Hlengwa (Kwa-Zulu Natal: IFP) to ask the Minister: - (1) In light of recent reports that have...|
|NW2383 by Mrs T P Msane - What multilateral programmes do the Southern...|
|NW2491 by Mr M Hlengwa - In light of the fact that the Nigerian...|
|NW2381 by Mrs T P Msane - Whether she has engaged with the Minister of...|
|NW2382 by Mrs T P Msane - In view of the increasing damage being caused...|
|NW2135 by Mr C Mackenzie - What are the reasons that the Government has...|
|NW2136 by Mr C Mackenzie - What are the reasons that the Government has...|
|NW2222 by Mr M Waters - Whether, the reference to the Foreign Service...|
|NW1568 by Mrs T P Msane - Whether she has engaged with her counterparts...|
|NW1574 by Mr A C Roos - (a) What is the average return period when a...|
|NW1567 by Mrs T P Msane - What measures is the African Union (AU) taking...|
|NW1409 by Mr D Bergman - (1) (a) What are the reasons that the consular...|
|NW1003 by Mr M Hlengwa - 1.(a) What total number of persons were...|
|NW1158 by Dr C P Mulder - Whether her department purchased any goods...|
|NW924 by Dr C P Mulder - Whether her department awarded any tenders...|
|NW807 by Mr M Hlengwa - What (a) interventions and plans does the...|
|NW874 by Prof B Bozzoli - Whether her department will offer any form of...|
|NW808 by Mr M Hlengwa - Whether the Republic has recorded any positive...|
|NW615 by Mr M Hlengwa - Whether she intends to intervene and engage...|
|NW590 by Mr B S Madlingozi - Whether her department will assist with regard...|
|NW59 by Mr D Bergman - (1) (a) Why does the South African property in...|
|NW151 by Mr D Bergman - In view of the deteriorating political and...|
|NW61 by Mr M Chetty - What number of ambassadors were appointed in...|
|NW60 by Mr M Chetty - What (a) is the average expenditure per annum...|
|NW58 by Mr D Bergman - What suggestions were put forward by the...|
|NW1522 by Mr D Bergman - Whether her department entered into a rental...|
|NW1398 by Mr M Chetty - Whether, with reference to the New York...|
|NW1397 by Mr M Chetty (DA) - Whether her department hosted an event in...|
|Bill name||Date introduced||Number||Status|
|Foreign Service Bill||04 Nov 2015||B35-2015||The bill has been signed into law.|
|Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Amendment Bill||20 Jun 2008||B55-2008||Act commenced|
AttendanceRanked 26 out of 90 for NA
Secretary of Committee:
Tel: 021 403 3808
Cell: 083 709 8508
Secretary To Chairperson:
Tel: 021 403 2949
Cell: 083 709 8463