ATC240325: First Report of National Assembly Rules Committee (Rules Committee) on Rule Amendment and Guidelines for Petitions, 2024

Rules of the National Assembly

National Assembly


  1. The Speaker


(1) First Report of the National Assembly Rules Committee 2024.




Following its meeting of 20 March 2024, the Speaker of the National Assembly, as Chairperson of the National Assembly Rules Committee, presents the First Report of the Rules Committee for 2024 as follows:


  1. Amended rule on lodging of petitions


The Rules Committee recommends an amendment to Rule 347 (Lodging of petitions) for consideration by the Assembly as follows:

347. Lodging


(1)        A petition must be lodged by a member of Parliament or member of the public with the Secretary for tabling by the Speaker and must be signed at the beginning thereof by the member or member of the public.

(2)        A member of Parliament may not lodge a petition on his or her own behalf, but such a petition may be lodged by another member.


In terms of the rule amendment, a member of the public would also be able to lodge a petition with the Assembly, which is currently not the case.


  1. Guidelines for Petitions


The Constitution (1996) provides that the National Assembly or any of its committees may receive petitions from any interested persons or institutions. Over the years, the institution has seen a significant rise in the number of petitions. There have also been complaints that Parliament takes a considerable amount of time to process petitions. In this context, Parliament has been looking at ways to enhance the processing of petitions, including the relevant procedures. The guidelines will ensure compliance with the rules on petitions and seek to guide petitioners.

In terms of Assembly Rule 344, petitions must be in the form prescribed by the Speaker in accordance with guidelines determined by the Rules Committee.

The Rules Committee recommends the following guidelines for consideration by the Assembly:

Formal Requirements


A petition must -


  1. Comply with Assembly Rules 345 – 347;
  2. Include the name/s and contact detail/s of the petitioner/s;
  3. Be legible;
  4. Not contain improper or disrespectful language;
  5. Contain any supporting documents on the issue raised by the petitioner(s); and
  6. Indicate the nature of the relief (assistance) asked from the Assembly.


Substantive Requirements


A petition must -


  1. Request action where the House, national government or Minister has the authority to intervene;
  2. Not have been considered by the Committee previously, except if that petition, in the opinion of the Committee contains new information that may materially impact on the outcome of re-consideration of the matter;
  3. Not be in respect to a matter that a petitioner has not yet brought to the attention of a relevant body or if the petitioner has brought it to the attention of the relevant body, the relevant body has not been afforded reasonable time to consider the matter;
  4. Not concern a matter pending in a court of law, tribunal, forum, investigative institution or body contemplated within the Constitution or any other law;
  5. Not be in connection with the conviction and sentencing of a person by a criminal court or judgment made by a civil court of law;
  6. Not seek to review or overturn the proceedings of judgment of a competent court; and
  7. Should not deal with a matter that is already before the Assembly.



Report to be considered.