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The Speakers’ Forum, a body that oversees coordination of legislative sector programmes to ensure effectiveness and cohesion, has decided to include the High Level Panel on Assessment of Key Legislation and Acceleration of Fundamental Change report as part of its legacy report to be handed to the 6th Parliament for processing.

The forum held its third quarterly meeting in Kimberley and acknowledged that time constraints is the real reason that the report can’t be processed to the conclusion within the current Parliamentary term. The report will be used as an oversight tool and as a base to close legislative gaps that have been identified by the panel with the sole aim of improving the lives of the people of South Africa.  

“We have to acknowledge the good work that the panel has done but also be realistic that we would be unable to adequately process the report within the remaining term of the 5th Parliament. Including the legacy report will ensure proper processing and adoption by the legislative sector,” said Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairperson of the session Mr Lechesa Tsenoli.

All provincial legislatures gave detailed brief on implementing the forum’s resolution to process issues relevant to specific provinces. A majority of the provinces have decided to convene internal researchers to glean out from the report issues that affect provinces specifically. This process will be completed when the forum holds a legacy summit at the end of November 2018. 

Despite the resolution that the 5th Parliament will hand the report to the incoming legislative sector leadership, the sector recognised the invaluable debate sparked by the High Level Panel Report. “It is only through dialogue and debate that the country will be able to reach consensus on workable solutions to many of the social and economic ills facing the country,” said Mr Lehlogonolo Masoga, the Deputy Speaker from Limpopo.

The funding of the legislative sector remained a hot topic in the discussions as the sector views funding of its mandate inadequate. There was unison that the legislative sector has to move with speed in dealing with the issue. The meeting resolved that the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly must write a letter to the Minister of Finance with the view of taking the funding issue forward.

The delays in processing the Legislative Sector Bill was also noted as a factor that delays adequate funding of the legislative sector. The speedy processing of the Bill was cited as a necessity for adequate funding of the legislative sector.

The meeting resolved to hold a legacy summit which is intended to consolidate the work of the 5th Parliament and to ensure that the work done is not lost. The summit will also be used to reflect on the successes and weaknesses and will highlight areas of further action and development for the attention of the 6th Parliament.

By Malatswa Molepo    

21 September 2018