Sihlalo, malungu ahloniphekile, Somlomo wePhalamende, kanye nabasivakashele ngiyanibingelela. [Chairperson, hon members, the Speaker of Parliament and guests, I greet you.]
Allow me to first deal with some of the issues that were raised by the members. Some members raised issues concerning the reintroduction of interpellations, the allocation of speaking time, programming and constituency funding. Hon members, we have subcommittees dealing with the programme of Parliament in this Parliament. It is unfortunate that some of these issues were raised by the Chief Whips of other parities, who also participate in the Chief Whip's Forum.
The Chief Whip's Forum is the structure that decides on the programme of Parliament and time allocation. They are supposed to make a proposal to the presiding officers about the funding of constituencies and caucuses. The very same members participate in other structures such as the Joint Rules Committee and the programme committee. Members should not point fingers at others but on themselves because they are equally responsible.
Hon Kalyan raised the issue of international agreements that bind all South African citizens without the involvement of Parliament during negotiations. Section 231(1) of the Constitution says:
The negotiation and signing of all international agreements is the responsibility of the national executive.
Section 231(2) says:
The international agreement binds the Republic only after it has been approved by a resolution in both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
Therefore, as members of Parliament, we have to get briefings. I do believe that these briefings are done at committee level. Ministers have to go and brief the committees. At the end of the day, committees have to dictate the kind of briefing they want; whether this should be from Ministers or officials. When it comes to international agreements in particular, I believe that committees must make a request to Ministers who participated in negotiations to give them a briefing before agreements are ratified. Therefore, as members of this House, let us not shift these responsibilities.
An hon member raised the issue of lack of research and capacity for Pan- African Parliament members. I can agree partly when it comes to the issue of support, that we still have challenges. For example, in the last meeting, when I requested the programme of the Pan-African Parliament, the members informed me that they didn't know what they were going to do. I am saying this as a person responsible when it comes to international relations. This was on a Friday, and the meeting was supposed to take place on a Monday. The question is: What kind of support are you going to be given when you don't even have the programme in front of you and don't even understand the issues that are going to be debated in that particular forum?
I believe that members should take the responsibility to outline programmes and activities they participate in. I also believe that when Parliament took the decision that members should go and be its representative, it expected these members to come back and give information on challenges they were facing. Even in the report given to the PGIR (Parliamentary Group on International Relations) meeting, there was no indication of anything raised today by members as challenges. Those reports were also given back to different focus groups, including the Pan-African Parliament. I believe that those members will come up with recommendations on how they want to be supported. Ngonyaka ophelile siyiPhalamende sathi siyokwenza isiqiniseko sokuthi isigungu esibhekelene nokuxhumana nokuba yingxenye ezingxoxweni zamazwe ngamazwe siyokwakhiwa ngokusemthethweni. Ngalesosikhathi-ke izimemo zamagama amalungu azohlala kuleso sigungu zabe seziphumile, sathi futhi siyobuye sakhe izinhlaka ezingaphansi kwaso leso sigungu "subcommittees", sachaza futhi ukuthi lezi zinhlaka zosebenza kanjani. Ngiyafisa-ke ukwazisa le Ndlu ukuthi ngabe sesihambe safikaphi ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Last year, as Parliament, we resolved that we would ensure that the Parliamentary Group on International Relations is officially established. At that time, the invitations had already been sent out to those members whose names were put forward to take part in this forum. We further resolved that we would set up structures known as "subcommittees" that would fall under this forum, and we also explained how these structures would work. I would like to inform this House how far we have gone ...]
... as part of accountability of that particular structure. We should all be accountable.
Isigungu lesi ebengikhuluma ngaso sesakhiwe ngokusemthethweni kanye nezinhlaka zaso. Izinhlaka zalesi sigungu ezakhiwe yilezi: Inter- Parliamentary Union, SADC Parliamentary Forum, Pan African Parliament, South Africa-European Union, African, Caribbean, Pacific, and European Union.
Kunohlaka olulodwa esingakalakhi olubizwa ngokuthi i-Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Isizathu esenza ukuthi singalwakhi ukuthi isigungu soSotswebhu esididiyele sathatha isinqumo sokuthi kumele kube nomthethosisekelo ozolawula igatsha laseMzansi Afrika ngamanye amazwi i- "South Africa Branch Constitution".
Uma ngingase ngiwabikele amalungu ukuthi lolu hlaka selukhona njengamanje, kusasa luzobe lwethulwa ngokusemthethweni koSotswebhu abadidiyelwe ukuthi balubheke ngaphambi kokuthi luye esigungwini esifanelekile ukuze bakwazi ukuthi benze izincomo. Bese liya kwi-Joint Rules, ukuze i-Joint Rules yenze izincomo kule Ndlu, bese isiyaphasiswa ngokusemthethweni bese sakha igatsha le-CPA.
Okunye esingadlana ngakho indlebe ukuthi ama-subcommittes ayasebenza, ngikhuluma nje ngaphambi kokuthi le Ndlu ithathe ikhefu. I-SADC-PF Focus Group ihlalile yabheka izincomo ezathathwa ngumkhandlu we-SADC Palementary Forum ngonyaka ophelile e-Victoria Falls. Yabuye yabheka nohlelo lokugumba usuku lwe-Africa Day, lokhu sikwenza njenge ngxenye yokuqinisekisa ukuxhumana kwamaPhalamende amazwe ngamazwe ikakhulukazi izwekazi lase- Afrika.
Kusasa lokhu okusayo sicelile ehhovisi likaSotswebhu Weqembu Elibusayo uKhongolose ukuthi asinikeze isikhathi sokuba sethule umbiko ngendima esihanjiwe ngamalungiselelo e-Africa Day. Siyocela-ke ukuthi oSotswebhu babikele izigungu zabo zodliwanondlebe "Caucus" ngokwezinhlangano zabo. Futhi siyanxusa ukuthi amalungu aleNdlu abe yingxenye yalomgubho, mhlaka 25 kwephezulu.
Lokhu kuyisiqinisekiso sokuthi izinqumo ezathathwa kwinkomfa ka Khongolose ziyenziwa, isinqumo engisicaphunayo esithi ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[The forum I was referring to has now been officially set up together with its structures. The subcommittees of this forum are the following: Inter- Parliamentary Union, SADC Parliamentary forum, Pan African Parliament, South Africa-European Union, African, Caribbean, Pacific, and European Union.
There is a structure which we haven't established yet called the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The reason we have not yet established this structure is because the Chief Whips Forum decided that there must be a constitution to regulate the South African branch, in other words, the South African Branch Constitution.
If I may report to the members that this structure is now in existence, and will officially be tabled before the Chief Whips Forum tomorrow to be interrogated, and the forum will then make recommendations before referring it to the relevant committee. Then it will go to the Joint Rules Committee so that they can make further recommendations to this House, after which it will be officially adopted and then we will have a-CPA branch.
Another issue we did not discuss is the fact that subcommittees are already working, as I speak, and did so before this House took a break. The SADC-PF Group got together and looked at the recommendations taken by this council last year at Victoria Falls. They also looked at the programme for the celebration of Africa Day. We do this as a way of ensuring communication between parliaments of the world, but especially those on the continent of Africa.
We have asked the Office of the Chief Whip of the ruling party, the ANC, to allocate time tomorrow for a report back on how far we are with regard to the preparations for the Africa Day celebration. We would like to plead with the chief whips of the various parties to announce this to their caucus committees according to their parties. We would also like to encourage members of this House to be part of these celebrations, on the 25th of this month.
This is a confirmation that the resolutions taken at the ANC conference are being implemented, the decision I'm quoting which says that: ...]
... We need to work on improving the relationship between South African communities and foreign nationals and conduct awareness campaigns amongst our communities to prevent incidents resulting from xenophobia.
Lawo-ke bekungamagqabantshintshi nje ebengithi angiwabeke. Enyangeni kaNdasa ziyisishagalombili kwaba nenhlanganiso yokugubha usuku lomama. Lolu hlelo lwabe luholwa uSekela Somlomo kanye nesigungu sabesifazane esididiyele "Multi-Party Women's Caucus". Kwaba nezincomo ezathathwa lapho engethemba ukuthi nazo ziyobekwa kule Ndlu ukuze zixoxwe. Enyangeni kaNtulikazi kuzoba nenkomfa ye-CPA esifundazweni saseMpumalanga.
Bekungaba kuhle ukuthi uhlelo lwePhalamende lukwazi ukuvumela amalungu aleNdlu ukuba abe nethuba lokuba amabhekeleli, ikakhulukazi emaphuzwini okuzobe kunengxoxompikiswano ngawo. Lokho-ke siyocela ukuthi inkundla yoSotswebhu Abakhulu ikakhulukazi ibuke ukuthi izinsuku ze-CPA izozinikezela kanjani ukuze amalungu aleNdlu akwazi ukuba yingxenye yaleyo nhlanganiso. Sibuye sabamba iqhaza ngokuba yingxenye kuma-Obsever Missions abeholwa yi-SADC-PF kulamazwe alandelayo, iBotswana iNamibia, iMozambique, kanye neMauritius. Ngiyafisa ukubonga amalungu abemele le Ndlu ngokusebenza ngokuzikhandla nangokuzinikela. Ngiyafisa futhi ukubonga ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[Those are the issues I wanted to highlight. On the 8th of March we had a meeting to celebrate Mothers day. This programme was led by the Deputy Speaker and the Multi Party Women's Caucus. I hope the recommendations that were taken there will be put before the House for debate. In July there will be a CPA conference in Mpumalanga.
It would be appropriate if the Parliamentary programme allows members of this House to have the opportunity to go and observe, especially, the issues that will be debated. We will therefore request the Chief Whips Forum to look at how it will set aside the days of the CPA so that members of this House will be able to be part of that conference. We also participated in observer missions which were led by SADC-PF on the following countries: Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Mauritius. I also wish to thank those members who represented this House for their diligence and dedication. I also wish to thank ...]
... the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation for implementing the resolution taken in Polokwane that says:
South African embassies should play the role of providing delegations with information and advice on protocol without undermining the separation of powers as stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Kodwa-ke ngiyafuna ukusho ukuthi kona kusashoda, siyocela ikomidi loBudlelwano Namazwe Omhlaba kanye Nokubambisana eliholwa uMnumzane uNxesi ukuthi lenze umsebenzi walo wokuvakashela amaNxusa ukubhekelela ukuthi ngabe wonke asebenza ngendlela efanayo yini ngokumyalelo womphathiswa ophethe lo Mnyango.
Ngiyafisa-ke Somlomo ukuthi ngiqhubeke ngoba nesikhathi siyahamba, ukuthi siyile Phalamende kufanele siqinisekile ukuthi umphakathi uyafundiseka ngeqhaza elibanjwe yiPhalamende. Sasithe kungakuhle ukuthi amakomidi abambele imihlangano yawo ngaphandle kweziNdlu zePhalamende, futhi kunomkhakha obhekene ngqo nalomsebenzi ongaphansi kukaNobhala-Jikelele wePhalamende esiwubiza ngokuthi i-Public education Unit, kukhona ngisho ama- Parliamentary Democracy Offices ekubeni umhlonishwa u-Kalyan uthe awasebenzi.
Ngifisa ukusho ukuthi ake sizibheke thina njengamalungu aleNdlu ukuthi ngabe siyazisebenzisa yini izakhiwo ezibekwe yileli Phalamende ukuthi sizisebenzise ngendlela efanelekile, ngoba ama-democracy offices analo lonke ulwazi lokuthi kwenzakalani ePhalamende. Umsebenzi wethu ngamahho visi esizinda sabalandeli bethu ukuthi sakhe izinhlelo bese kuthi labo basebenzi abakulawo ma-Parliamentary Democracy Offices beze bazosifundisela umphakathi okumele siwubhekelele ukuze bakwazi ukuthi nabo baqhubekisele phambili uhlelo lwabo.
Kodwa uma thina njengePhalamende singalibambi leloqhaza lokuthi sihole azohlala angasebenzi, ngakho-ke bengifisa ukuthi ngesikhathi se- constituency ake siwasebenziseni futhi-ke ngiyazi ukuthi izinhlangano zepolitiki ziyanikezwa izimali zama-constituency, yebo sizosho ukuthi incane kodwa siyayisebenzisa yini noma cha.
Mhlawubhe lezo zinto yizinto okufanele sizibhekelele, ukuze sikwazi ukuphumelela kudingeka ukuthi sibe nokwesekwa okwanele ikakhulukazi kuBudlelwano Namazwe Omhlaba. Ngiyafisa-ke ukuthi kunobhala wePhalamende ukuthi kulezi zikhalo ezikhona kanye nokhwakha kabusha "restructuring" akwenze ngokuphazima kweso, ngoba uma kungenzeki angeke sikwazi ukuqhubekela phambili siyileNdlu.
Siyabonga-ke ukuthi uSomlomo neSekela lakhe, oSihlalo beNdlu kanye namalungu aleNdlu ayaseseka singoSihlalo beNdlu sikwazi ukusebenzisana ndawonye. Okokugcina sizocela ukuthi kube nokuqeqeshwa kwamalunga aleNdlu mhlawumbe abe ngamashumi amathathu noma amane mayelana ne-Observer Mission ukuze sikwazi ukubambe iqhaza ngendlela ezokwamukeleka ngaphansi kwemibandela ekhona kwi-SADC.
Ngiyakholwa futhi ukuthi iPhalamende linazo izindawo zokufundisa, lokho-ke siyocela ukuthi kwenzeke masinyane ngoba ngoSeptemba iTanzania izobe iya okhethweni kanti ngonyaka ozayo ngoNdasa iZimbabwe izobe iya okhethweni. Ngakho-ke singoSihlalo beNdlu siyasesekela lesi sabiwomali noma ngabe sincane kangakanani. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe] (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[But I would like to say that there are some things that are still lacking. Our plea to the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Co- operation, led by Mr Nxesi, is to do its duty, which is to visit embassies to ensure that they function according to the instructions of the minister in charge of this department.
Speaker, I wish to continue but my time is limited. We, as Parliament, must ensure that the community is educated about the role of Parliament. We had taken a resolution that the committees should hold their meetings outside of Parliament. However, there are fields that are directly related to the work done by the Secretary to Parliament. The unit which deals with this is the Public Education Unit, but there are also Parliamentary Democracy Offices which the hon Kalyan referred to as non functional.
I wish that we can do introspection as members of Parliament to determine whether we are using the structures put in place by this Parliament as intended, because all Democracy Offices have information about the processes of Parliament. Our duties at these constituency offices are to put programmes in place so that the employees of those Parliamentary Democracy Offices can educate the community, so that the communities can take their programmes forward. But if we as Parliament don't play that role, which is to lead, these offices will remain nonfunctional. We should therefore make use of these offices during the constituency period and I know that political organisations are given a budget for constituency work. Yes, we do admit that the budget is small but are we using it?
Maybe we should budget for those things so that we have enough support, especially in terms of international relations. I want to say to the Secretary to Parliament that these recommendations and restructuring must be implemented as soon as possible, because if this is not done we will not go forward as this House.
We would like to thank you Speaker and your Deputy, the House Chairpersons and members of this House for supporting us as House chairpersons so that we can work together. Lastly, we would like to request training for approximately thirty to forty members of this House in respect of observer missions so that we can effectively take part, in a manner that is acceptable, in terms of SADC- protocol.
I believe that Parliament has the facilities to educate. We would like this request to be attended to urgently because in September Tanzania will hold their elections and next year in March, Zimbabwe will be holding theirs. Therefore, as House Chairpersons we support this budget even if it is very limited. Thank you. [Applause.]]