Internal Committees and the Committee of the Whole
13 Internal committees
There are 13 internal committees, each made up of 11 members.
They assist the Congress in decision making, which is its exclusive prerogative, by informing, reporting and proposing.
CTFP : Labour and vocational training committee CAP : Agriculture and fisheries committee CIPATDDETC : Public infrastructure, land use planning, sustainable development, energy, transport and communications committee CDS : Sports committee CFB : Budget and PublicFinance Committee CLRAC : Traditional affairs legislation and regulation committee CDFF : Women’s and family rights committee COAFP : Administrative organisation and public service committee CSPS : Health and social welfare committee CRE : External relations committee CEC : Education and culture committee CLRG : General legistlation and regulation committee CLREF : General legislation and regulation committee
The general legislation and regulation committee deals with matters outside
the purview of the other internal committees with more specific briefs.
Internal committee elections
Every year, Congress appoints the members of the 11-member internal committees. They are appointed during the first sitting of the administrative session, immediately after the Speaker and other executive committee members have been elected.
They are appointed by mutual consent so as to reflect the various Congress member-groups as best as possible. The vote is held by a show of hands for each committee based on a single list of candidates.
The lists must be submitted by the group chairs or their duly authorised representatives. They must be registered at the Clerk’s office at least twenty-four hours prior to voting.
A simple-majority vote by show of hands is held only if there is disagreement.
Once the members have been appointed, the committees are convened by the Speaker so as to elect their executive committees consisting of a chair, deputy chair and rapporteur each.
The Congress may, in special circumstances, decide that a committee should be co-chaired, in which case no deputy chair is appointed.
Committee chair positions are distributed by mutual consent and should ideally reflect the proportions of the various groupings in Congress.
The internal committees each elect their chair, deputy chair and rapporteur by an absolute-majority vote. In each case, if the first two rounds by absolute-majority vote are not conclusive, a third round is held based on a simple-majority vote.
Role of the internal committees
The internal committees play a decisive role in determining the procedure for approving bills. When they meet, the bill’s technical aspects are discussed by the members as well as the government assisted by its departments. When a bill is tabled on a Congress member’s initiative, it is presented by its author.
This is essentially when any amendments or changes to the text are proposed.
When any matter tabled in Congress is being discussed, the House may refer it to the appropriate committee for consideration.
Several committees may be required to meet jointly and work on a given matter together.
Only a member of Congress may propose an amendment. The Government may not do so, but a Congress member may take on a proposal by the Government to make changes to a bill . Also, the government is generally represented at committee meetings by the congressman or congresswoman responsible for the area covered by the bill.
When discussing certain specific issues, Congress may set up temporary special internal committees. At the behest of the executive committee or at least 20 % of members (ie 11), Congress may set up temporary commissions of inquiry that are dissolved once their report has been tabled.
The Committee of the Whole
If convened by the Speaker of Congress, all councillors may be called to sit as a committee of the whole to discuss specific issues or whenever a project, proposal or matter is likely to concern all the committees. Meetings of the committee of the whole are not open to the public.