Parliament to finalise MPs’ attendance policy and implement more stringent reporting requirements for MPs’ constituency work
19 Mar 2012
Parliament’s Joint Rules Committee will receive final proposals on an attendance policy for Members of Parliament (MPs) at its next meeting and more stringent reporting requirements for constituency work are to be implemented.
Both issues are among recommendations in the 2009 Report of the Independent Panel Assessment of Parliament.
Currently, monitoring of MPs’ attendance and censure, if necessary, is left up to political parties represented in Parliament.
Addressing Parliament’s multi-party Joint Rules Committee on Thursday, National Assembly Speaker Mr Max Sisulu noted that if there were no consequences, from Parliament itself, for non-attendance that would send a wrong signal to both society and MPs.
In his closing remarks to the South African Legislative Sector’s consultative seminar on Friday, Mr Sisulu said he would be having a discussion with the chief whips of political parties to encourage implementation of more stringent reporting requirements on constituency work, as well as implementation of punitive measures for Members who fail to do their work. He encouraged Provincial Speakers to do so as well.
The seminar, which focused on the oversight role of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures, brought into sharp focus the need for MPs to conduct their oversight work differently and more effectively.
“Accountability requires of Parliament not only to secure explanations from the executive but to influence government decisions,” said Mr Sisulu.
He added: “The quality and effectiveness of public participation cannot rest simply on providing a space for submitting comments. Public participation can only be effective if inputs find expression in the Parliamentary programme.”
Parliaments had a unique responsibility and opportunity for reconciling divergent views and interests through dialogue. And MPs must set the example of a new consciousness, one which asked: “what is in the best interests of our country?”
Highlights of the seminar were the launch of the Oversight Model for the legislative sector and a dedicated website for the sector.
Parliaments must capitalise on the benefits of Information Communication Technology but the use of technology should not substitute for direct face to face contact with the electorate, Mr Sisulu said.
Issued by: Parliament of South Africa
19 Mar 2012
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