Concerns raised over R1 000 MP absentee fine

2016-08-18 17:30

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Cape Town – Some opposition parties have raised concerns over the R1 000 a day fine for being absent from committees in Parliament.

It placed smaller parties at a disadvantage as MPs often had to be in several meetings in one day, they said on Thursday.

In a workshop on the new rules, party whips and committee chairpersons were told it was up to parties to keep track of their members.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh said this would require more administrative staff as it put more responsibilities on the whips. He said the committee section had to be properly equipped to deal with the new guidelines.

On Tuesday, the rules committee approved guidelines to the new rules. These include an R1 000 fine for “each day of absence. The National Assembly rules committee will, from Parliament to Parliament, determine the fine”, the committee resolved.

According to Parliament’s new rule book, a member absent from three or more consecutive meetings of a committee without his or her party's approval could be fined an amount to be determined by the rules committee for each day of absence.

Singh said members of smaller parties were often delegated to more than one committee and had to attend various other meetings in Parliament.

“If you send an apology to some of the committees you are part of, you are then marked as absent.”

Records not properly kept

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said there had to be mechanisms to reflect that an MP was doing parliamentary work, even if they were absent from a committee meeting.

Records were not properly kept, which led to some MPs being labelled as lazy when their attendance was made public, while they were merely overwhelmed with other parliamentary work, he said.

They would then have to pay a lot of money as a sanction.

Cope’s Deidre Carter and the NFP’s Nhlanhla Khubisa raised the same issue.

Concerns were raised over National Assembly attendance and sick leave policies.

Secretary to the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso, assured them that before records were submitted and MPs sanctioned, they would be given to the MPs concerned.



Read more on:    parliament  |  cape town

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