Cape Town – The National Assembly has agreed on a response to the Zondo Commission, which made several recommendations on how the national legislature should conduct its affairs.
This after the rules committee met on Wednesday after some parties snubbed a previous meeting meant to consider the commission’s recommendations.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapho said the rules committee would receive a report on a bi-annual basis to ensure effective implementation of the recommendations pertaining to institutional mechanisms of the National Assembly.
In its report, the commission recommended that consideration be made for more opposition parties to chair portfolio committees.
It also recommended an oversight committee for the presidency.
The commission said there should be a constituency and proportional-based electoral system that will enable MPs to hold the executive accountable.
The committee had also recommended that Parliament protect MPs from losing their seats for exercising their duties in good faith.
Secretary to the National Assembly Masibulele Xaso said they were proposing to the rules committee that the portfolio committee on home affairs was the best suited committee to deal with the matter.
He noted that there was an electoral bill that was being processed although it did not quite address elements of the commission’s recommendation.
Xaso also said the commission recommended that parliament should allocate adequate funds for the portfolio committee to do their work.
“We note that there are on-going conversations with the executive on this issue of the funding of Parliament,” he said, adding that the presiding officers and the joint standing committee of financial management of Parliament should deal with the matter.
Xaso said the issues related to the up-skilling of research and technical capability of committees should be referred to the institution’s Secretary for consideration.
On the recommendation dealing with late submission by the executive and non-attendance of committee, he said the rules committee should ensure that there was consequence for the culprits.
Xaso said Parliament had its own tracking of its resolutions and decisions, but it needed to be strengthened.
“It does work but it can be better. The work of committees and the House are areas that need strengthening.”
UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said some of the recommendations were things they often raised when they debated the budget vote of Parliament.
“Although we say these things, we never got to implement some of the recommendations.
“One of the issues is strengthening research and support to committees,” he said.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said the governing party welcomed the processes outlined to take forward the recommendations.
Majodina said the recommendations from the Zondo commission were trying to strengthen Parliament and some weaknesses in its system.
“Some of the issues that are raised have constitutional implications and therefore referring to various committees will assist so that they can be processed accordingly,” she said.
The rules committee also discussed the overseeing of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s implementation plan in dealing with recommendations that affected the executive.
“In respect of matters to be referred to the portfolio committees, the House Chairperson for Committees will receive quarterly reports,” Mothapo said.
He also said Deputy president David Mabuza, who is the leader of government business, would interact with the presiding officers on the recommendations that relate to the interface between Parliament and the executive.
“The National Treasury will also engage with Parliament to determine the most appropriate way to give effect to the commission’s recommendations on the resourcing of Parliament, specifically with respect to its capacity to hold the executive to account,” Mothapo added.