From 13 to 15 June, a delegation made up of two Members of Parliament and nine senior staff from Ethiopia’s Federal House of People’s Representatives (HPR) and the Oromia State Regional Parliaments (CAFFEE), were hosted by South Africa’s Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) for a study tour.
The delegation met with the Deputy Speaker, Piet Pretorius; Mr. Mark Wiley, Chief Whip; David Joseph, Deputy Chief Whip; and Ms. Carol Beerwinkel, on the first day of the visit. The second day’s business included a meeting with the Office of the Secretary, led by Senior Parliamentary Officer and acting Deputy Secretary, Mr. Tsephiso Nage, together with senior officials responsible for committee business, budgets and public consultation.
The delegation received extensive briefings on the parliamentary system in South Africa, specifically the role and function of the WCPP and its relationship with the National Parliament, in particular the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The briefing exchange and the question/answer and discussion sessions fully explored issues such as how provinces in South Africa are funded, the powers of provincial parliaments, the relationship with local government and parliamentary procedure. The second day’s briefing and discussion focused more in-depth on committee roles and functions, operational matters, committee budgets, administrative functioning of the committee section and parliamentary procedure and plenary support. Public consultation was a key part of the discussion. The study visit concluded with the delegation observing a sitting of the House on consideration of the report of the budget committee on the Division of Revenue Bill.
The delegation heads, Mr. Tamir Hailu Kabede, HPR Deputy Clerk of Parliament and Mr. Demozie Mame Hersho, Caffee Oromia Advisor to the Speaker, expressed particular interest gaining knowledge on building staff capacity to enable them to fully support the work of Committees. The delegation also had questions on how political differences are managed within the house and allocation of constituencies under South Africa’s proportional representation system.
Ethiopia has a bicameral parliamentary system made up of the House of People’s Representatives (Lower Chamber); also called the Council of People’s Representatives and the House of Federation (Upper chamber) also referred to as the Council of Federation. The HPR is now in its 5th Session, with 550 Members.
There are nine regions and two chartered cities and each region has its own parliament and administration, referred to as Regional Council. Oromia State (CAFFEE) is made up of 179 constituencies, each with three representatives – 285 men and 252 women.
The study visit is part of a programme in which AWEPA is partnering with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), under the Strategic Partnership programme funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to support a range of interventions that seek to facilitate greater political dialogue in Ethiopia.