ATC091029: Report: Second Report of the Joint Rules Committee, 2009
SECOND REPORT OF THE JOINT RULES COMMITTEE, 2009
The Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, as co-chairpersons of the Joint Rules Committee (JRC), present the Second Report of the Joint Rules Committee, dated 29 October 2009, as follows:
The Joint Rules Committee met on 14 October 2009 to consider the Draft Report of the Parliamentary Group on International Relations (PGIR), including proposed rules for the establishment of the group.
(A) CONSIDERATION OF NEW RULES
The JRC recommends that the following new Joint Rules 128 to 136 be adopted:
Part 12: Parliamentary Group on International Relations (PGIR)
There is a Parliamentary Group on International Relations (PGIR).
The Parliamentary Group on International Relations consists of the number of Assembly and Council members that the Joint Rules Committee may determine.
A House Chairperson designated by the Speaker of the Assembly and a House Chairperson designated by the Chairperson of the Council are co-chairpersons of the group.
131. Acting chairperson
If neither of the co-chairpersons is available, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces may designate another member of the group to act as chairperson.
132. Functions and powers
The Parliamentary Group on International Relations must implement the international relations policy agreed by the Joint Rules Committee by,inter alia, –
(1) providing policy and strategic direction on Parliament’s international engagements, including its relations with other Parliaments and international parliamentary organisations;
(2) coordinating Parliament’s international engagements, including its relations with other Parliaments and membership of, and participation in, international parliamentary organisations;
(3) receiving reports from parliamentary delegations and submitting proposals on their tabling, referral and scheduling for debate to the presiding officers or relevant parliamentary structures;
(4) meeting annually with members appointed by the Houses to serve in international parliamentary bodies and members of all substructures of the group, as well as the chairpersons of the parliamentary committees dealing with international relations and cooperation and trade and industry to determine strategy and evaluate the international relations of Parliament.
The Parliamentary Group on International Relations -
(1) must report regularly on its activities to the Joint Rules Committee; and
(2) may submit, in accordance with its mandate, substantive reports and proposals to relevant parliamentary forums.
The Parliamentary Group on International Relations may, with the concurrence of the Joint Rules Committee and according to agreed guidelines, establish -
(1) multiparty, programme-driven focus groups consisting of core members of delegations to international parliamentary organisations to pursue and lend continuity to Parliament’s multilateral relations;
(2) friendship groups informally to pursue nonstrategic bilateral relations; and
(3) any substructures that may be required to assist with the implementation of international relations policy.
(1) A majority of the members of the group constitutes a quorum.
(2) The group may proceed with business irrespective of the number of members present, but may decide a question only if a quorum is present.
(3) When the group has to decide a question and a quorum is not present, the member presiding may either suspend business until a quorum is present, or adjourn the meeting.
A question before the group is decided when there is agreement among the majority of the members present.
(B) OTHER PGIR MATTERS PRESENTED
(1) Establishment of focus groups
The JRC, in accordance with the proposed new rules, concurred that focus groups will be set up as substructures of the PGIR to represent the following multilateral bodies to which Parliament is affiliated:
Focus Group on the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU): This group will comprise 5 core members and 6 additional members.
Focus Group on SADC-PF: This group will comprise 5 core members and 6 additional members.
Focus Group on the Pan‑African Parliament: This group will comprise 5 core members and 6 additional members.
Focus Group on Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA): This group will comprise the Branch Executive of the CPA (5 core members) as well as 6 additional members.
Focus Group on the African Caribbean Pacific‑European Union (ACP-EU): This group will comprise 3 core members and 6 additional members.
Focus Group on Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECA): This group will comprise 9 core members.
Focus Group on South Africa‑European Union Relations: This group will comprise 5 core members and 6 additional members.
Focus Group on IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Dialogue Forum: This group will comprise 5 core members and 6 additional members.
The size of a focus group is determined by the multilateral body it represents and whether the delegates are appointed by the House for the duration of the parliamentary term or on an ad hoc basis for each activity of that multilateral body.
The purpose of a focus group is as follows:
a) The group will analyse the work of the particular body it represents and guide Parliament’s engagement with that body.
b) The group will assess and evaluate reports of delegations to meetings of the body and identify matters which require further follow up by Parliament.
c) The group will embark on information‑sharing initiatives for members on the work of the affiliated multilateral body.
The focus groups will report on their work in the PGIR’s annual extended meeting. Each focus group will meet at least four times a year in accordance with the programme of work of its corresponding multilateral body. Each focus group will be led by a convenor and a deputy convenor.
(2) Establishment of friendship groups and strategic bilateral relations
The JRC further agreed that friendship groups will be utilised to pursue nonstrategic bilateral relations based on geographical regions. Friendship groups will pursue such relations in a purposeful and focused manner in support of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. In this regard, there must be a bias in favour of relations with other African countries. It is important to differentiate between bilateral relationships that are nonstrategic and strategic bilateral relations.
The JRC noted that friendship groups and the pursuit of strategic bilateral relations will be given further consideration by the PGIR and a report on the matter will be submitted to the next meeting of the JRC.
(3) Members representing Parliament
The JRC also agreed that when a member receives an invitation in his or her personal capacity to represent Parliament, the member must have the approval of the Presiding Officers for such participation if parliamentary funds are to be used. Funding for such participation will not necessarily come from the parliamentary budget.
Report to be considered.
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