Beyond elections - preparations in full swing for the intake of new Members

With the May 7 parliamentary elections looming, intense preparations are well under in all South African Legislatures, including Parliament, for various induction programmes for both new and returning Members. The 2014 Members’ Induction Programme is facilitated by the Speakers’ Forum Reference Group on Capacity Building under the leadership of Mme Tsopo, Speaker in the Free State Legislature. The main aim of the induction programme is to provide Members with information and knowledge required to function in Legislatures, understand the business of Legislatures and perform the work of committees effectively and efficiently.

Generally, the programme will be gradually phased in to allow both new and returning Members sufficient time to settle in. Whilst Phase One focuses on the registration and swearing in of Members, Phase Two is a generic induction programme for new and returning Members delivered over a period of 5 to 10 days. The last phase is a comprehensive induction programme that consists of 6 modules delivered over a period of 6 months.

Programme content for Phase Two will focus on several core areas, namely Member Support and Development, Constitutional and Governance Knowledge, House Operations and Committee System Knowledge, Oversight, Lawmaking and Public Participation mandates, Organizational Knowledge & Support Services and International Relations & Protocol Knowledge.

The in-depth comprehensive programme (phase three) will consist of 6 modules, covering Rules and procedures in the House; Legislative Processes; Committee Procedures; Oversight and Accountability; Public participation and Budget Processes.

To date, the Secretaries Association of Legislatures of South Africa (SALSA) has appointed Secretaries to provide support and strategic direction to various Task Teams which will be responsible for content development of the various learning modules. Presently, the various task teams are racing against time to complete the process before the elections. Finally, the approved modules must be accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority and will be published in the Comprehensive Induction Programme Handbook for Members.