Parliament, Friday 3 July 2015 - The Speakers' Forum (the Forum) of the Republic of South Africa held its meeting today, 3 July 2015, at Elangeni Hotel in Durban. The Speakers' Forum is a forum that brings together Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Speakers and Deputy Speakers of all Provincial Legislatures.
The objectives of the Forum include:
- Strengthening Legislatures as legislative arms of the state through cooperation;
- Transforming Legislatures as part of the foundation of democracy
Among matters discussed were the draft Legislative Sector Strategic Plan for the 5th term of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures, implementation of Legislative Sector Oversight and Accountability Model, implementation of Public Participation Model, Capacity building programmes for Members and the implementation of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act. These are matters that Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures continue to grapple with in order to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.
The Speakers' Forum emphasised the importance of ensuring that the core business of the Legislative Sector is vigorously pursued in order to achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan and ultimately change the lives of the South African people. This can only be achieved by strengthening the capacity of the legislator to act as an agent of change in achieving the developmental goals.
The Speakers' Forum also held historic, robust and fruitful discussions with the organisations representing Institutions Supporting Democracy (ISDs), which is composed of all Chapter 9 and 10 Institutions, including, inter-alia, Auditor-General, Commission for Gender Equality, Independent Electoral Commissions, Public Protector and the South African Human Rights Commission. The Speakers Forum welcomed the establishment of the Forum of ISDs, and acknowledged the complementary roles between the Legislatures and the ISDs. The Speakers' Forum committed itself to continue engaging with the organisation in finding ways of improving relations.
The Speakers' Forum adopted the Legislative Sector Strategic Plan for the 5th term of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures. The Strategy maps out the journey to be traversed by the Sector in the next four years, taking into consideration past and contemporary challenges, opportunities and achievements. The Strategic Plan outlines the following key outcome oriented goals for the Legislative Sector
- Enhanced public involvement to deepen and entrench people-centred democracy in South Africa;
- Enhanced law-making to improve the achievement of government policy outcomes;
- Strengthened oversight over the Executive to ensure implementation of the NDP;
- Enhanced effectiveness, efficiency and capacity by improving governance and administration for optimal functioning;
- Strengthened capacity to contribute to a better and safer Africa and the world
The Speakers' Forum also expressed its support for the continued discussion on the transformation of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as an important organisation that serves the interest of promoting democracy and respect for human rights in Africa and the whole world.
The Speakers' Forum will also welcome members of SADC Parliamentary Forum and fully support the move to transform the SADC-PF into a regional parliament. In the same vein, the Speakers' Forum also welcomed the move to establish the BRICS Parliamentary Forum aimed at pursuing the development objectives of the group.
There will be a press briefing tomorrow to expand on the issues discussed and decisions taken by the Speakers' Forum on 4 July 2015 at 11h00 at Elangeni Hotel.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA