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Speaker to meet with Mashatile over bills stacking up in Parliament

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will meet with the leader of government business Paul Mashatile over delays in submitting bills in Parliament. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will meet with the leader of government business Paul Mashatile over delays in submitting bills in Parliament. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 23, 2023


Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is set to meet with Deputy President Paul Mashatile to look at bills that are stacking up in Parliament ahead of the elections.

It has emerged from the reports of the committees of Parliament that out of the 42 bills that are before them, some will be not be passed when the national legislature ends its term.

Some of the Ministers have also referred new bills to the national legislature even though only a few months are left before the term of MPs ends.

This followed approval of these bills by Cabinet recently.

Some of the new bills include the Public Service Commission Amendment Bill, which seeks to expand its mandate to cover municipalities.

But political parties were not happy that some of the 42 bills will not see the light of day.

This emerged in the meeting of the programming committee last week.

Secretary to the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso said there were bills that have a bearing on the elections, and they will have to be finalised before the polls.

He said the meeting between Mapisa-Nqakula and Mashatile was meant to deal with those issue.

Mapisa-Nqakula said she was going to give members of political parties feedback on the outcome of her meeting with Mashatile.

“Once the meeting has sat, I will come and give you the report,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

However, she did not say when the meeting will take place.

She also said she has raised the issue of delays in sending bills to Parliament.

A deadline had been set for ministers to send bills to Parliament for processing. Mapisa-Nqakula had set September 4 as the deadline for ministers to table bills in parliament.

“You will recall that the person who raised this matter sharply here at this meeting last time is the presiding officer, the Speaker. I do appreciate what you are raising. Rest assured that all of us are concerned about those kinds of issues where people delay implementing decisions of the executive. But certainly, when an issue arises as it has happened now, there must be a proper evaluation of the issue and make a determination on whether we allow it to proceed or not.

“I don’t think people from that office accept any piece of legislation, which comes even beyond the deadline. You will recall that I was very firm about the deadline (of September 4), but when a case has been presented and on the evaluation and assessment of that issue, we then realise that there is a very serious matter, which needs to be addressed, obviously, you then use your discretion,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has since signed into law four bills, including the Transkeian Penal Code Bill, the Land Court Bill, the Traditional Courts Bill and the South African Postbank Limited Amendment Bill.

Parliamentary officials said there were 42 bills that were tabled early this year.

Out of the 42 bills, 21 were going to the National Assembly and 17 to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Out of the 21 bills in the National Assembly, eight were likely to be finalised by the end of November. Out of the 17 bills that are In the NCOP, only seven will be concluded between November and March next year.

Xaso also said the meeting between Mashatile and Mapisa-Nqakula will look at this issue closely as the country was going to elections next year.

“The meeting between the Speaker and the leader of government business is meant to deal with those issues. What happens to those bills and the Speaker indicated the deadline in which bills must be introduced. We do know that there are bills that must be passed before the elections. There will be bills that have a direct bearing on the elections that must still be introduced. That meeting is meant to deal with those issues,” said Xaso.

Mapisa-Nqakula said she will ensure that political parties were given a report on the outcome of her meeting with Mashatile.