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Parliament Passes Foreign Service Bill

November 20, 2019

Parliament

20 November 2019

The national assembly has passed the Foreign Service Bill.

The bill was rejected by the national council of provinces (NCOP) and returned to the national assembly (NA) for reconsideration in April 2019.

It was passed by the NA and sent to the NCOP for concurrence in December 2018.

The bill was tabled in parliament in November 2015.

It lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament but was revived at the end of October 2019.

The proposed legislation is designed to provide for the management, administration and functioning of South Africa’s Foreign Service.

The bill also aims to put operational requirements in place that are suitable and support the Foreign Service.

The Foreign Service will be expected to represent South Africa overseas in an effective, coherent and comprehensive manner.

It is made up of all South African missions and their employees.

The international relations and cooperation department will also be expected to, inter alia, administer all foreign representations in South Africa, coordinate and align South Africa’s international relations between all three spheres of government, render protocol services to foreign and national dignitaries and conduct all diplomatic communications between South Africa and foreign states and international entities.

Requirements for members of the Foreign Service are set down.

Positions at foreign missions can only be taken up once security clearances have been issued.

The bill also refers to heads of missions; recall of member of Foreign Service; diplomatic academy; establishment of coordination and other mechanisms; assets; policies, codes, directives and decisions; delegation of powers; regulations and offences.

The bill aims to:

• provide for the management, administration, accountability, and functioning of a professional Foreign Service of the Republic of South Africa;
• provide for the operational requirements that are suitable and supportive of the operations of the Foreign Service in a global environment; and
• provide for matters incidental thereto.

The bill will now be submitted to president Ramaphosa for assent.