ANC proposal accepted

2008-03-19 00:00

Cape Town — Despite strong opposition from the DA, Parliament’s joint programme committee has accepted a proposal by the ANC, which seeks to change the parliamentary programme framework for 2008.

The proposal seeks to hold only two more plenary sessions after June 30, for the rest of 2008, consisting of a total of 15 sitting days, with the remaining time being allocated to committee and constituency periods for Members of Parliament.

ANC caucus spokesman Moloto Mothapo said yesterday that the framework will give committees sufficient time to process the approximately 102 bills that are currently before Parliament and are still to be introduced. "The proposal also gives more time for constituency work to allow MPs time to report back to their constituencies and to start the process of seeking a renewal of their mandate. Constituency work also affords public representatives the opportunity to engage in first-hand oversight to assess whether the laws they have passed and the budgets they have approved are, indeed, contributing to a better life for all South Africans."

Mothapo rejected the DA’s criticism that the proposals deprive MPs of the opportunity to exercise their oversight role. "The DA ignores the fact that constituency work is itself a powerful tool for holding the executive accountable. Parliament passes legislation,

appropriates resources, exercises oversight and serves as a forum for national debate. At various junctures the time allocated to one or more of these roles will vary. This should in no way detract from the importance of other aspects of Parliament’s work…"

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