Over the last 150 days we have learned much about the power of the habitual in post-millennial, post-apartheid South Africa. We have heard it in the grumbling, cavilling, quarrelling and grousing about the logic (or lack of) of government decrees. We have also seen it in the defiance of logic among the many bourgeois folks who mistook their entitlement for rights, whether to go running, do yoga on the beach, surf, get takeaway coffees, or to purchase items subjected to restricted trade… We saw it in the contradictory messages relayed by official government channels, in the conflict between some experts advising government, between government officials and such experts, and in the ways in which opposition parties contradicted themselves as they opposed government proclamations.
The following rules are applicable during a State of the Nation Address by the President of South Africa.
EXTRACTS FROM JOINT RULES Of PARLIAMENT (AS AMENDED, NOVEMBER 2015)
“Parliamentary Protection Services” means any employee authorised by Parliament to perform security and protection services within the precincts of Parliament, and includes all parliamentary staff members employed, appointed, assigned, delegated or contracted by Parliament to perform security and protection functions within the precincts of Parliament.
“Usher” means the Usher of the Black Rod.
2 Unforeseen matters
(1) The Speaker and the Chairperson of the Council, acting jointly, may give a ruling or make a rule in respect of any matter for which the Joint Rules do not provide.
(2) A rule made by the Speaker and the Chairperson of the Council, acting jointly, remains in force until a meeting of the Joint Rules Committee has decided on it.
5. Application of Joint Rules to non-members
When a Cabinet member who is not a member of the Assembly or the Council, participates in the proceedings of the joint business of the Houses, the Joint Rules, unless clearly inappropriate, apply to that Cabinet member as they apply to a member of the Assembly or the Council.
JOINT SITTINGS OF THE HOUSE
Calling of joint sittings
(1) The President may call a joint sitting of the Houses when it is necessary for —
(a) the President to deliver the annual or a special address to Parliament; or
(b) a purpose mentioned in section 42(5) or 203 of the Constitution.
When the Houses sit jointly –
(a) the Assembly Rules on discipline remain applicable to an Assembly member; and
(b) the Council Rules on discipline remain applicable to a Council member.
(1) An Assembly or Council member, other than the officer presiding at a joint sitting, may not speak at the sitting –
(a) unless invited to do so by the presiding officer; or
(b) without having obtained the permission of the Speaker and the Chairperson of the Council before the meeting.
(2) No vote or decision may be taken by or in a joint sitting.
ORDER DURING A JOINT SITTING
(The following rules regulate order during joint sittings, such as the State of the Nation Address.)
14A. Conduct of members
(1) Every member, when he or she enters or leaves the Chamber or moves to any other part of the Chamber during a debate, unless the presiding officer directs otherwise, shall bow to the
Chair in passing to or from his or her seat.
(2) No member shall pass between the Chair and the member who is speaking nor stand in any of the passages or gangways.
14B. Members not to converse aloud
During debate no member shall converse aloud.
14C. Member not to be interrupted
No member shall interrupt another member whilst speaking, except to call attention to a point of order or a question of privilege.
14D. Order at adjournment
When a joint sitting rises, members shall rise and remain in their places until the presiding officer has left the Chamber.
14E. Precedence of presiding officer
Whenever the presiding officer addresses members during a debate, any member then speaking or seeking to speak shall resume his or her seat and the presiding officer shall be heard without interruption.
14F. Irrelevance or repetition
The presiding officer, after having called attention to the conduct of a member who persists in irrelevance or repetition of arguments, may direct the member to discontinue his or her speech.
14G. Member ordered to withdraw
If the presiding officer is of the opinion that a member is deliberately contravening a provision of these Rules, or that a member is in contempt of or is disregarding the authority of the Chair, or that a member’s conduct is grossly disorderly, he or she may order the member to withdraw immediately from the Chamber for the remainder of the sitting.
New Rule Inserted here:
14GA. Removal of member from Chamber
(1) If a member refuses to leave the Chamber when ordered to do so by the presiding officer in terms of Joint Rule 14G, the presiding officer must instruct the Serjeant-at-Arms or the Usher
to remove the member from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament forthwith.
(2) If the Serjeant-at-Arms or the Usher is unable in person to effect the removal of the member, the presiding officer may call upon the Parliamentary Protection Services to assist in removing the member from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament.
(3) An Assembly member who is removed from the Chamber in terms of subrule (2), is thereby immediately automatically suspended for the period applicable as provided for in Assembly
Rule 54, and may not enter the precincts for the duration of the suspension.
(4) A Council member who is removed from the Chamber in terms of subrule (2), is thereby immediately automatically suspended for the period applicable as provided for in Council Rule 39, and may not enter the precincts for the duration of the suspension.
(5) If a member resists attempts to be removed from the Chamber in terms of subrules (1) or (2), the Serjeant-at-Arms, the Usher and the Parliamentary Protection Services may use such force as
may be reasonably necessary to overcome any resistance.
(6) No member may, in any manner whatsoever, physically intervene in, prevent, obstruct or hinder the removal of a member from the Chamber in terms of these Rules.
(7) Any member or members who contravene subrule (6) may, on the instruction of the presiding officer, also be summarily removed from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament forthwith.
(8) If proceedings are suspended for the purposes of removing a member or members, all other members must remain seated or resume their seats, unless otherwise directed by the presiding officer.
(9) When entering the Chamber on the instruction of the presiding officer –
(a) members of the Parliamentary Protection Services may not be armed; and
(b) members of the security services may not be armed, except in extraordinary circumstances in terms of security policy.
(10) Members who have been removed from the Chamber will be escorted off the precincts by Parliamentary Protection Services personnel and will not be allowed to enter the member’s respective House or the precincts of Parliament as the Rules of the respective House to which the offending member belongs prescribe.
(11) If a member(s) offers resistance to being removed from the precincts, members of the security services may be called upon to assist with such removal.
(12) In the event of violence, or a reasonable prospect of violence or serious disruption ensuing in the Chamber as a result of a member(s) resisting removal, the presiding officer may suspend proceedings, and members of the security services may be called upon by the Speaker or the Chairperson of the Council to assist with the removal of members from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament forthwith in terms of Section 4(1) of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act (Act No 4 of 2004), or may intervene directly anywhere in the precincts in terms of section 4(2) of the Act when there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or damage to any property.
(13) Whenever a member is physically removed from the Chamber in terms of this Joint Rule, the circumstances of such removal must be referred by the Speaker or the Chairperson of the Council, within 24 hours, to a multiparty committee for consideration.
(14) The committee must be established by resolution of both Houses.
(15) The Assembly and Council may, by resolution in each House, approve standard operating procedures, recommended by the Joint Rules Committee, for the exercise of this function, in particular in relation to the use of the Parliamentary Protection Services and members of the security services for this purpose.
14H. Referral of member’s conduct to House
If a presiding officer is of the opinion that a contravention committed by a member of either House is of so serious a nature that an order to withdraw from the Chamber for the remainder of the sitting is inadequate, the presiding officer may refer the matter to the Speaker or the Chairperson of the Council, whichever is relevant, for appropriate action.
14I. Expression of regret
(1) A member who has been ordered to withdraw from the Chamber may submit to the Speaker or the Chairperson of the Council a written expression of regret.
(2) A written expression of regret approved by the Speaker or the Chairperson of the Council shall be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings.
14J. Reflections upon judges, etc
No member shall reflect upon the competence or honour of a judge of a superior court or of the holder of any other office (other than a member of the Government) whose removal from such office is dependent upon a decision of either House.
14L. Member to address Chair
At a Joint Sitting a member may only speak from the podium, except:
(a) to raise a point of order or a question of privilege;
(b) to furnish a personal explanation in terms of Rule 14R;
(c) if the member is unable to do so due to a physical disability; or
(d) with the prior consent of the presiding officer, when he or she may address the Chair from a microphone on the floor of the Chamber.
14M. Calling of members
A member shall be called in a debate by the presiding officer in accordance with a list of scheduled speakers.
14O. Reference to member by name
No member shall refer to any other member by his or her first name or names only.
14P. Offensive language
No member shall use offensive or unbecoming language.
14Q. Matters sub judice
No member shall reflect on the merits of any matter on which a judicial decision is pending.
(1) An explanation during debate is allowed only when a material part of a member’s speech has been misquoted or misunderstood, but such member shall not be permitted to introduce any new matter, and no debate shall be allowed upon such explanation.
(2) A member may, with the prior consent of the presiding officer, also explain matters of a personal nature, but such matters may not be debated, and the member shall confine himself or herself strictly to the vindication of his or her own conduct and may not speak for longer than three minutes.
14S. Points of order
(1) When a point of order is raised, the member called to order shall resume his or her seat, and after the point of order has been stated to the presiding officer by the member raising it, the presiding officer shall give his or her ruling or decision thereon either forthwith or subsequently.
(2) A ruling to be given after the sitting has adjourned shall be given in the National Assembly or in the National Council of Provinces, depending on which House the offending member belongs to.
(3) A ruling to be given in accordance with Subrule (2) may, by agreement of the presiding officers, be delivered and enforced by a presiding officer of the House to which the offending member belongs on behalf of a presiding officer from the other House.
14T. Acting for absent member
A member may take charge of an order of the day in the absence of the member in charge, provided he or she has been authorized to do so by the absent member.
14U. Right of members to speak
A member may speak:
(a) when called upon to do so by the presiding officer; or
(b) to a point of order.
14V. When reply allowed
A reply shall be allowed to the member introducing a subject for discussion (except in the case of the President’s state-of-the nation address) or to the member in charge of an order of the day.
14W. Debate closed
A reply to a debate closes the debate.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES REQUIRED IN
TERMS OF PROPOSED NEW JOINT RULE 14GA(15)
On 11 November 2015, the JRC agreed to recommend to the Houses for approval the following standard operating procedures for the implementation of provisions of proposed new Joint Rule 14GA:
Standard Operating Procedures: Member refusing to leave Chamber
(1) If a member refuses to leave the Chamber, the presiding officer asks the Serjeant-at-Arms or the Usher to remove the member from the Chamber.
(2) The Serjeant-at-Arms or the Usher approaches the member(s) to explain in a respectful manner that the instruction of the presiding officer must be complied with and that failure to do so can constitute a grave offence and have serious implications, including that the member(s) may need to be physically removed from the Chamber.
(3) If the member still refuses to leave, the Serjeant-at-Arms or the Usher indicates to the presiding officer that the member refuses to comply, whereupon the presiding officer informs the House that the Parliamentary Protection Services are to be called upon to assist.
(4) The Parliamentary Protection Services personnel enter the Chamber upon the instruction of the presiding officer, and proceed to remove the member(s) concerned under the direction of the Serjeant-at-Arms or the Usher.
(5) Members of the public in the gallery who participate in disorderly conduct will be removed by the security services.BACK TO TOP