Forum adopts intensive legislative sector programme of action

The Speaker’s Forum of South Africa (SFS) has adopted an intensive legislative sector programme of action to help finish the sixth term of Parliament on a high note.

The programme was adopted at the conclusion of the forum’s two-day quarterly meeting held at the East London International Convention Centre (ICC), Eastern Cape.

The meeting, which began on Thursday, included convening a report-back gender summit, an international oversight and accountability summit with all arms of the state playing a critical role, a Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa (BRICS) Parliamentary Forum, as well as intensified coordination of sector work to ensure that the term’s targets are fulfilled and the seventh Parliament starts strongly.

The legislative sector will be marking 30 years of successive democratic parliaments and a resilient constitutional democracy during the remaining months of the sixth term.

Parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said the forum emphasised the importance of collaboration between the national Parliament and provincial legislatures to strengthens the sector’s oversight function and transformational agenda.

“The successful meeting outlined core business programmes that the forum must complete before the end of the sixth term,” Mothapo said.

The forum also resolved to convene an international oversight summit in June this year to review the sector’s work as it nears the end of term.

“The summit will be led by Parliament’s Presiding Officers and include the Presidency, the judiciary and other stakeholders to find common ground among all national and international role players on raising the oversight bar to higher levels, to enable the seventh administration to launch its programme from a higher foundation.

“Experts, civil society organisations, academia and members of other Parliaments will also form part of the consultative engagements during the summit to help enhance the impact and efficiency of the sector’s oversight initiatives, particularly its impact on people’s lives,” Mothapo said.

Gender mainstreaming and gender parity also took a spotlight during the meeting, where it was announced that a gender summit will be hosted in August to review and consolidate the sector’s work on gender issues and to prepare for the next term.

The Speakers Forum received reports on the growing influence of Parliament in global parliamentary diplomacy with a number of presiding officers playing key roles in multilateral parliamentary forums, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union, BRICS, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Pan-African Parliament, among others.

The session also endorsed the hosting of the BRICS Parliamentary Forum to take place in South Africa later this year.

Mothapo noted that among the key impediments to the sectors’ efficiency and effectiveness, as identified during the meeting, is underfunding of the legislature programme.

“The forum will therefore table a funding model proposal to the Treasury with key recommendations, particularly on enhancing oversight and public participation,” he said.

The South African Parliamentary Institute was commended for executing its mandate of helping to build a capable legislative sector by providing transformational capacity development interventions to Parliament and provincial legislatures.

The interventions enhance the capacity of Members of Parliament and provincial legislatures, as well as officials who support MPs to fulfil their constitutional obligations.

“The forum will use the deliberations and outcomes of both summits to prepare a legacy report outlining the impediments to the sectors’ work successes, as well as recommendations for the seventh term,” Mothapo said. –

Source: South African Government News Agency