Institutions want feedback from Parliament

2013-10-30 22:57
Max Sisulu (Picture: Sapa)

Max Sisulu (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Institutions supporting democracy (ISD) are battling to get feedback from National Assembly committees, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

"We submit our reports and present them before [these committees]. But there is no mechanism for getting feedback from those processes to us," Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chair Pansy Tlakula said.

She was speaking during a round-table discussion at Parliament between Speaker Max Sisulu and Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo, and various Chapter Nine institutions.

Among those represented at Wednesday's meeting were the auditor general, public protector, Public Service Commission, the Commission for Gender Equality, and the Financial and Fiscal Commission.

Tlakula said the lack of feedback "probably applies across the board", and was a problem that needed to be looked at.

"Particularly where recommendations are made for legislation... In the IEC, we conduct elections, and we submit a report on the elections after every election, but we never... get feedback from the National Assembly," she said.

Incoming auditor general Kimi Makwetu suggested a forum be established "where... there can be an engagement between Parliament... together with... ISDs after they have done their reporting to their respective portfolio committees".

Such a forum would allow an ISD to bring to the attention of the Speaker "those matters that they believe are infringing their ability to make progress" on important issues involving human rights and democracy.

Need to strengthen forums

Responding, Mfeketo admitted there was "a need to strengthen existing discussion forums".

Chairperson of committees Cedric Frolick said reports submitted were not simply shelved, and urged the institutions to contact his office if they were not getting a response from portfolio committees.

"When important matters are brought to the attention of a portfolio committee, and Chapter Nine institutions feel they do not get that response... indicate it immediately to us," he told them.

Portfolio committee chairs were absent from Wednesday's discussion. Mfeketo said five sent apologies for not being able to attend.

Sisulu said he took the point that there had to be a mechanism for portfolio committees to give feedback to the institutions.

"One of the things we could possibly do is arrange for a meeting with the leader of government business, the deputy president... so that he can follow up directly with ministers... This might speed up solutions to some of the problems," he said.

Responding to queries on what was happening with the 2007 "Report of the Ad-hoc Committee on Chapter Nine and Associated Institutions", which contains a series of recommendations on ISDs, Mfeketo said this would be tabled before the end of the current Parliament's term.

"I am convinced that we will be able to table certain issues... We'll be able to table the report, but other issues might be deferred and not be completed by the end of this term."

Other matters raised by the institutions at Wednesday's discussion included lack of funding and long-unfilled vacancies at some institutions.

Read more on:    iec  |  max sisulu  |  pansy tlakula  |  kimi makwetu  |  nomaindia mfeketo  |  cape town  |  parliament 2013  |  politics  |  elections 2014

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