Parliamentary Programme Proposals for 2008

19 March 2008

This morning the Joint Programme Committee of Parliament accepted a proposal by the African National Congress regarding the Parliamentary programme framework for the rest of 2008. The proposal enjoyed the support of all parties in Parliament except the Democratic Alliance.

The proposal seeks to 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.

The proposals do not, as the DA has suggested, deprive MPs of the opportunity to exercise their oversight role. MPs will engage in an intensive interaction with the budget during May and June. Committees will continue, on an ongoing basis, to interact with departments where necessary. MPs will continue to pose written questions to the executive. 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. Members of Parliament must not only hold the executive to account but should, themselves, be accountable to those they represent through, amongst others, the constituency work that they do.

We wish to emphasise that ours is a peoples’ Parliament. Parliament will not be shutting down. Members will be working actively in committees processing legislation that will contribute to a better life for all. Members will also be active in their constituencies reporting back to those who elected them and conducting oversight on the impact of government policies and programmes.

Issued by the ANC Parliamentary Caucus

For more information contact:
Khotso Khumalo, Spokesperson
072 307 7007