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Parliament to Hold Virtual Committee Meetings

April 16, 2020

Parliament

The Executive Authority of Parliament has decided that a number of committees whose portfolios are directly affected by COVID-19 matters will be asked to boost their oversight functions during the lockdown.

In a statement, parliament announced that the Chief Whips’ Forum “fully endorsed this position”.

The Forum held a virtual meeting yesterday to discuss relevant matters relating to parliamentary business.

Parliament’s second term was scheduled to commence this week. However, parliament’s activities were suspended indefinitely in March prior to the lockdown.

Committees identified by the Speaker include Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Health; Police; Trade and Industry; Joint Standing Committee on Defence; Basic Education; Higher Education, Science and Technology; Transport; Small Business Development; Finance; Appropriations; Employment and Labour; Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and Social Development.

According to parliament, technology has been made available to committees to hold virtual meetings.

The Forum was also informed that the Speaker has framed a rule in terms of Rule 6 of the National Assembly that facilitates the holding of virtual meetings.

“The Forum supports the framing of this rule as it will effectively enable parliamentary committees to meet, take decisions and play their oversight role in virtual platforms.”

The meeting also recommended that the “possibility of virtual sittings of the House for oral question to the Executive be explored”.