National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has urged the country’s 10 legislative bodies to have a common voice on South Africa’s position on current geopolitical dynamics in their respective international multilateral engagements.
“The discussions and commitments of the legislative sector may have serious implications on the country’s diplomatic policies and posture,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
Mapisa-Nqakula was speaking at the Speakers’ Forum of South Africa (SFSA), which is currently underway at the East London Convention Centre, Eastern Cape.
The SFSA convened its two-day meeting which began on Thursday in East London, to consider a number of critical measures intended to strengthen the oversight and public participation function of the legislative sector.
The forum is set to consider numerous measures aimed at heightening cooperation, coordination, and alignment of work across the country’s 10 legislative bodies as well as at local government levels.
Addressing the session on Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula said the sector needs to accelerate the execution of key projects to enable the sixth Parliament to conclude on a high note, while setting a higher bar as a new foundation for the seventh Parliament.
National Council of Provinces Chairperson (NCOP), Amos Masondo, who is co-chairing the meeting with the Speaker, said the forum is currently assessing outstanding projects from the sixth administration so as to lay a firm foundation for the seventh administration to hit the ground running following the general elections next year.
“The forum seeks to synergise the work of both the national and provincial legislatures to ensure collaboration and coordination within the sector,” Masondo said.
As part of strengthening the sector’s impact, the forum resolved to officially register the Legislative Employer’s Organisation to facilitate a collective bargaining process for the sector, and to ensure uniformity in the conditions of employment and service.
The forum also engaged the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to explore modalities concerning the possibility of reconfiguring the seat allocation within legislatures. A similar exercise was last performed in 1999 and needs reconfiguration considering the growth of the population and other factors.
The Speakers’ Forum meets quarterly to concretise numerous measures aimed at heightening cooperation, coordination, and alignment of work across the country’s 10 legislatures as well as at local government level.
Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the nine provincial legislatures are members of the National Speakers’ Forum, while the Provincial Speakers’ Forums that include local governments get convened by Provincial Legislature Speakers.