Gauteng legislature to conduct virtual meetings
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Johannesburg - The Gauteng provincial legislature, under Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe, has revealed its plans to hold its legislature sessions online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The legislature has been in recess since March 24 - which coincided with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the lockdown which came into effect on midnight of March 26 until now.
Ramaphosa has since extended the lockdown until April 30.
Mekgwe’s communication unit spokesperson Thebe Khumalo said the provincial legislature administration who have been working from home since the lockdown had shared the concept document on the Digital Legislature.
“To accommodate the Digital Legislature, the presiding officers and leaders of different political parties represented at the Legislature have identified gaps with the current rules and as such the Legislature has approved the rules for a virtual legislature.
“The rules will guide the Legislature on how to conduct virtual House Sittings, Committee meetings and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) business. According to the GPL term programme, the Portfolio Committee on Finance and the NCOP are scheduled to process the Division of Revenue Bill (DORA),” Khumalo said.
He said a virtual briefing by the National Treasury to all National and Provincial Finance Committees was conducted through the unprecedented virtual digital platforms saying the briefing was historic - and would hopefully inform other NCOP processes to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of travel.
“In the upcoming weeks, the legislature will be launching various digital platforms which will be accessible to all the people of Gauteng targeting all the different living standard measures.
“The platforms will ensure maximum public participation and oversight, which are critical to legislature’s mandates. The Legislature has previously relied on the conventional methods which largely included physical communal venues," Khumalo further said.
He maintained that the working from home of legislature officials has enabled them to prepare for the year-end reports and audit preparations.
“The Speaker has expressed her gratitude to all Gauteng Provincial Legislature members who have been hard at work in all the five regions of Gauteng to support those who need help during these difficult times, and staff for the progress in achieving planned Institutional activities,” Khumalo said.
He indicated that Mekgwe has noted that, to date, there has not been a reported case of any legislature member or staff infected with Covid-19 and encouraged all to continue abiding with all measures to fight the virus.
Khumalo said Mekgwe has expressed her concerns on the increasing number of reported cases of people who are Covid-19 positive and those who died as a result of the pandemic.
“She wished those infected a speedy recovery and conveyed her condolences to the families of the deceased.