CAPE TOWN, South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says Parliament needs to improve its efficiency when considering Bills placed before it.
Currently, there are 25 Bills that sit before parliamentary committees in the National Assembly. Progress on some of the Bills has, however, been slow, with some that have exceeded a year before the committees,” said the Deputy President, who is also the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly.
It is a matter of some concern that six Bills have been before committees for one year or longer, while 10 Bills have been before committees for six months or longer.
Addressing the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association, the Deputy President said Parliament’s role in democracy is strengthened by promoting engagement.
He paid respect to his late spokesperson, Ronnie Mamoepa, who he said played a vital role in promoting engagement and understood the role the media plays in entrenching and deepening democracy.
Ronnie very clearly understood the critical need for meaningful engagement between the media, public representatives and the institutions of State.
The Deputy President further congratulated Cheryllyn Dudley of the African Christian Democratic Party, who made history as the author of the first Private Member’s Bill to be passed by Parliament. This Labour Laws Amendment Bill will enable fathers to take 10 days paternity leave.
Ramaphosa remarked that one of the things that will stand out in 2017 is the growing confidence of Parliament in holding the Executive to account. As of this week, 4,236 written questions have been put by Parliament to members of the Executive. The Deputy President said this type of engagement will see the legislative arm of the State becoming an activist Parliament.
Parliament’s Constitutional responsibility has seen several issues of national importance being thrashed out in the Assembly.
Issues such as violence against women, the eighth motion of no confidence, the dissolution of the National Assembly and nationalization of banks were debated this year.
Through the inquiry into the SABC (the South African Broadcasting Corporation), Parliament played a critical role in stopping the rot at that institution and repositioning the public broadcaster as a national asset that serves the people. It has been similarly activist in its approach to the issue of social grants, said the Deputy President.
The work of the Portfolio Committees was praised for probing sections of government as they are vital to restoring the confidence of the people in the state as a whole.
In looking to improve the State, the Deputy President said the importance of the judiciary to assist the State in correcting faults cannot be overstated.
We hope that the oversight we have seen will lead us to a South Africa where our confidence will be restored and where we will be able to see more clearly the significant progress we are making.”
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK