Category Archives: Parliament of South Africa

A trio of issues for the ANC at Mangaung

By Abdul Waheed Patel

As the opening session of the 53rd national elective conference of the African National Congress gets underway in the city of Mangaung in the South Africa’s Free State Province (16 – 20 December 2012), the following are a trio of key party issues and national imperatives that the ruling ANC must clearly effectively deliberate and resolve on.

1.  Stabillisation of the party, so as to reduce the negative destabilizing effects of the party’s instability on the functioning of government and the state, as well as broader society. This includes dealing with the modernization of the party in keeping with its fundamental democratic values and those of South African Constitution, in support of a modern and globally competitive South African economy, in order find new ways of doing old things. This is inclusive of effectively dealing with the modernization of lobbying and campaigning for party leadership, to keep pace with the evolution of modern party politics in South Africa, further mitigating against its destabilizing effects on the party and the state and society more broadly. This includes succession and continuity planning and any resultant changes in state leadership positions e.g. the composition of Cabinet and provincial executive committees and other relevant positions based on an objective assessment of performance based merit and capability and not political expediency.

2.  Restoring the credibility and integrity of Parliament as the national legislative and oversight authority and forum for dialogue, engagement and public participation on issues of national interest and importance.  This includes proposals for electoral reform to a constituency based parliamentary system to improve accountability, public participation and consultation, citizen advocacy and activism so as to strengthen and enhance the role of Parliament in overseeing quality policy-making and implementation, law-making and regulation. Critical in this regard, is the non-politicization of constructive suggestions for Parliamentary consideration and decision-making irrespective of their origin, which are fundamentally in the national interest, sound, evidence based, demonstrably viable and feasible and rational, which have the potential to meaningfully contribute to enhancing the achievement of national development priorities and challenges.

3.  Ensuring policy clarity and certainty, with consistency and flexibility as required. For example, the role of the state in the economy, particular strategic economic and industrial sectors and the party’s position on the National Development Plan as the blueprint for the country and the economy.

ETHICORE will be closely monitoring, analyzing and reporting on the outcomes and implications of the conference, throughout its duration and on a customized basis for clients thereafter. This includes political and risk analysis, briefing papers and research reports. For more information and enquiries in this regard, kindly do not hesitate to contact us.

Abdul Waheed Patel is Managing Director at ETHICORE Political Consulting. He specialises in policy consulting, analysis and risk, including South African political parties, post-apartheid democratic politics and parliamentary democracy.

Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill tabled in Parliament

The Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill (Bill 29 of 2012), was tabled in Parliament on 25 September 2012.

Cabinet approval and public consultation
Cabinet approved the Bill for tabling in Parliament towards the end of February 2012. The Bill was released for public comment in March 2012 and the commentary period was extended to 2 May 2012. A range of financial services stakeholders, interested and affected parties were consulted by Government during information session held as part of the consultative process on the Bill. These include, the ETHICORE client The Banking Association South Africa, the Association of Savings and Investments South Africa, the South African Insurance Association, the Institute of Retirement Funds and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

Objectives of the Bill
According to a statement released by the National Treasury on 27 September 2012 upon tabling of the Bill in Parliament, the Bill address the urgency of issues contained in eleven financial sector laws, including legislative gaps highlighted after the 2008 financial crisis and to align these laws with the new Companies Act (2008) and other legislation.

The Bill seeks to:

  • Close gaps identified by the Financial Sector Assessment Program conducted by the IMF and World Bank regarding South Africa’s adherence to international standards for financial regulation;
  • Align financial sector legislation with the new Companies Act, 2008;
  • Eliminate overlaps caused by the Consumer Protection Act, 2008; Companies Act, 2008; and Competition Commission Act, 2009; and
  • Make the Financial Services Board (“FSB”) the lead regulator where there is concurrent jurisdiction.

Changes to the original Bill
National Treasury has also pointed out in its statement that the Bill contains new amendments that were not present in the original version of the Bill. According to National Treasury, these changes are reflective comments received during the consultation process and the 33 written submissions received and include:

New amendments to the Financial Services Board (FSB) Act:-

  • Limitation of liability of the regulator if it exercises the powers conferred upon it in terms of statute provided those powers were exercised in good faith (‘bona fide’).
  • Empowers the Minister to prescribe a code of engagement, consultation and communication for the FSB.
  • Appropriately clarifies the interaction between financial and non-financial legislation.
  • Defers some of the emergency powers to legislation next year that will lay the basis for implementing the “Twin Peaks” regulatory reform.
  • Provides for exemptions and directives to be tabled by the FSB.
  • Ensures that information received by the FSB is treated confidentially.

New amendments to the Pension Funds Act:

  • Provides for whistle-blowing protection for board members, valuators, principal/deputy officers, and employees who disclose material information to the Registrar.
  • Requires a fund board member to attain skills and training as prescribed by the Registrar, within a certain period.
  • Extends personal liability to employers in respect of non-payment of pension contributions to a fund.
  • Provides protection for board members from joint and several liabilities if they act independently and honestly in exercising their fiduciary obligations.
  • Requires pension funds to notify the Registrar of their intention to submit an application to register prior to commencing the business of a pension fund.

Forthcoming Parliamentary
The Bill has now been referred to Parliament’s National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance as a proposed Section 75 Bill in terms of the Constitution. This meaning that it does not affect the Provinces, but must be referred to the National Council of Provinces. ETHICORE will publish further information on the forthcoming Parliamentary process on the Bill. Should you have any enquiries and/or regarding the content of this post or the forthcoming Parliamentary process, kindly do not hesitate to contact us.

Document downloads
The following documents on the Bill released by Parliament and the National Treasury are available for below:

Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill (B29-2012)

National Treasury Explanatory Memo (27 Sept 2012) to Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill

National Treasury Response to comments on Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill (27 Sept 2012)

National Treasury statement (27 Sept 2012) on Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill

SA’s Mahlangu president of Commonwealth Parliamentary body

The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Mninwa Mahlangu (of the ruling African National Congress), has been elected the President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) for the coming year. In a statement on the website of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa on Friday 14 September 2012 (, Mr Mahlangu’s tenure as the President of the association is was confirmed with effect from 14 September 2012 at the end of the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka until the conclusion of the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.

The 59th Conference is scheduled to take place in South Africa from 28 August – 6 September 2013, in Johannesburg. As the host of the next conference South Africa was entitled to nominate Mr. Mahlangu, who assumed the role of Vice President of the CPA  at the 57th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in 2011 in London, United Kingdom and has represented the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa at the CPA for a number of years.

In 2007 he was elected for three years to the position of Chairperson of the CPA Africa Region, driving the development of the CPA’s strategic plan for 2008 to 2011.

About Mr. Mninwa Mahlangua
A member of South Africa’s first democratic Parliament in 1994, Mr. Mahlangu has held a number of strategic positions in Parliament, the regional and inter-parliamentary organisation and the African National Congress. These include as:

  • The Pan African Parliament and Working Group on the Pan African Parliament;
  • Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and National Assembly Whip;
  • Portfolio Committees on Constitutional Affairs, Provincial and local government;
  • Governance and Legal, Political and Deployee Committees of the the African National Congress;
  • Co-Chairperson of CODESA (multiparty negotiating Congress for a Democratic South Africa);
  • The Constitutional Assembly and Transitional Executive Council.

The National Council of Provinces
The National Council of Provinces of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa of which Mr. Mahlangu is currently its Chairperson, came into existence with the adoption of South Africa’s first democratic in 1994. It provides South Africa’s nine provinces with a forum in which to engage with the national government on matters concerning areas of shared national and provincial legislative powers. It also oversees the programmes and activities of national government relating to provincial and local government matters. The NCOP is constituted to ensure that provinces are given an effective voice in the national legislative process. It consists of 9 provincial delegations, i.e. a delegation for each of the nine provinces. A delegation consists of 6 permanent delegates and 4 special delegates. The premier of a province is the head of that province’s delegation, but he or she can select any other member to lead the delegation in his or her absence. In exercising its legislative power, the NCOP may consider, pass, amend, propose amendments to or reject any legislation before it.

About the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
The CPA is an association of Commonwealth Parliamentarians from Parliaments and Legislatures of most of the Commonwealth states.  South Africa joined the Commonwealth in December 1931 but left in May 1961, when it became a republic under the apartheid rule of the National Party. In 1995, following our first democratic election, South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth and the CPA. The CPA’s mission is to promote Parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance. It seeks to further cooperation among member Parliaments and Legislatures.

The management and staff of ETHICORE Political Consulting congratulates Mr. Mahlangu on his historic nomination as President of CPA, a position he is capable of fulfilling with distinction given his consistent track record of achievement and commitment to advancing and strengthening parliamentary democracy and governance. Mr. Mahlangu’s election to the presidency of the CPA at the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held in Colombo, Sri Lanka profoundly coincides with South Africa’s readmission to the CPA during the 1995 Conference in Sri Lanka. The African continent is presented with unique challenges and opportunities for strengthening parliamentary governance and democracy, in pursuit of continent development and integration. The hosting of the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference to be held on African soil in South Africa in 2013, must make significant contribution to advancing the deepening and strengthening of Parliamentary governance and democracy through practical measures to empower parliamentarians and legislatures to deal with and confront Africa’s development and governance challenges with innovative solutions. Critical in this regard is to strengthen measures of dialogues, engagement and public participation between parliamentarians, legislators and non-parliamentary stakeholders.

For enquiries and commentary on South Africa’s Presidency of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), South Africa’s hosting of the 59th CPA Conference in 2013 and  the National Council of Provinces of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, kindly do not hesitate to contact us.

Condolences: Death of ANC MP Mandla Mbili

The management and staff of ETHICORE are saddened and shocked by the announcement by the Office of the African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip in Parliament (Dr. Mathole Motshekga), of the tragic and untimely death of ANC Member of Parliament, Mandlenkosi (Mandla) Enock Mbili, who is reported to have died in a car accident yesterday.

Mr. Mbili joined Parliament`s National Assembly in 2006, representing his constituency of Hibberdene in KwaZulu-Natal. He participated in a number of parliamentary committees, including portfolio committee on finance and recently, the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) – which he also served as Whip. Previously, Mr. Mbili served as chairperson of the ANC`s Kwa Dabeka branch in Kwa Zulu Natal from 1990 to 1994. From 1999 to 2003, he served in the Regional Executive Committee (REC) and the Regional Working Committee (RWC) of that province`s Lower Region.

The management and staff of ETHICORE are humbled to have had the opportunity to have engaged the late Mr. Mbili during his tenure as a member of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance in particular. We extend our deepest and hearfelt condolences to his family, friends and fellow comrades in the African National Congress.

We hope that Mr. Mbili’s replacement in the National Assembly will embody and live up the values, ethos and legacy espoused him, especially his humility and willingness to engage in deep and constructive dialogue, his attention to detail and his strong spirit of Parliamentary activism.

Hamba Kahle! May his soul rest in peace.

The management and staff, ETHICORE Consulting and Advisory Solutions.

Youth Parliament 2012

June is officially ‘Youth Month’ in remembrance of the youth of 1976 who stood up against unequal education and the apartheid regime’s policy of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction, above their native mother tongue and third language English. In commemorating and celebrating ‘Youth Month’, the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa hosts its annual Youth Parliament on Thursday 21 June 2012.

Young people from all nine South African provinces will meet in the Youth Parliament to debate issues affecting young people, under the theme “Education and Learning to address youth unemployment, poverty and inequality”.

ETHICORE believes that young people, as a key component of broader South African society and representing the future aspirations and hopes of the nation, have an important role to play in realising Parliament’s law-making, oversight and public participation function and as a forum for public consideration of issues of national interest and concern.

Topics for debate will focus on:
Education and learning – promoting access to quality education and skills to both in and out of school youth through second chance intervention for school drop outs and school to work programs, improving access to finance for further education and training.
Economic freedom in our lifetime – providing support to business and social enterprises that create job placement, self-employment and income generating activities for youth.
Eradicating youth unemployment – providing young people with meaningful and accredited skills that equip them with necessary skills required for the job market.

ETHICORE is honoured and humbled to have been allocated 4 seats in Youth Parliament 2012 by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. In addition to the participation of Muhammad Khalid Sayed (Senior Advisor: Governmental, Parliamentary and Political Affairs) and an ardent youth activist, ETHICORE has provided opportunities to three young South Africans with an active interest in the political-economy of youth affairs and development. They are:

1. Ms Rifquah Hendricks, a former ETHICORE parliamentary consultant and liaison, currently completing postgraduate studies in Environmental and Geographical Sciences and a fellow of the Emerging Leaders Program, at the University of Cape Town.
2. Mr. Ali Ahmed Sayed, a second year Political Studies and Sociology student at the University of Cape Town.
3. Ms Tasleema Allie, a third year law student at the University of Witwatersrand, young entrepreneur and former parliamentary staffer, researcher and speech writer to the Minority Front in Parliament.

Download the Youth Parliament 2012 program here: Program (Youth Parliament 2012)

Follow this link to the Youth Parliament page of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa: