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Extension of Constituency Period in the 2nd quarter of Parliament

28 March 2018

The Joint Programming Committee (JPC) of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) met this afternoon to consider the Parliamentary Programme Framework for 2018. The JPC agreed to the extension of the Constituency Period in the second quarter of the year to allow Members of Parliament more time to serve and directly engage with the people who elected them into public Office.

The adopted programme framework will extend the constituency period for the NA from 18 June 2018 until 13 August 2018. The NCOP will be on constituency period from 2 – 30 July 2018.

The ANC welcomes this decision as it is a step towards the attainment of a 50/50% balance between parliamentary sessions and parliamentary constituency work. This decision takes forward the 2016 ANC Midterm Review Caucus Lekgotla resolution which stated that Parliament as an institution should revisit its programming in relation to the time MPs spend in Parliament as opposed to the time they spend in their constituencies.

The disproportionate allocation of time towards constituency work has in the past resulted in MPs spending more time in Parliament than interacting with the constituencies they represent. The unintended consequence of this format is that a gap between MPs and their constituencies is created, which does not bode well for accountability. This extension will therefore allow MPs sufficient time to meaningfully engage on matters afflicting our people and allow people on the ground an opportunity to hold them directly accountable on matters raised with their elected representatives.

The extended constituency period will also allow the Executive enough time to do their Executive functions in service of our people without having to plan around the plenary programme of Parliament during this time.

The adopted framework however allows Parliamentary Committees with tight deadlines such as the Constitutional Review Committee to continue working throughout the period that Parliament will not be in session.

An activist Parliament must ensure that MPs are visible and rooted amongst the people they represent, resolve their problems instantly and decisively and serve as a bridge between Parliament and the people on the ground. Today’s decision therefore takes us a step closer towards our Parliament being a real people`s tribune.

Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, Hon. Jackson Mthembu.

Enquiries:
Nonceba Mhlauli
Spokesperson
0726233462

     
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