Parliament and its provincial counterparts, generally referred to as “legislatures”, routinely undertake “benchmarking exercises” and “international study tours” to various destinations with an express intention to learn the best practices in parliamentary and legislative work.
The Western Cape legislature, for the period March 2010 to April 2017, authorised 23 trips for officials and employees at a cost of R5 924 515.70.
The Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP), as it proudly states on its official website, confirmed it also has a policy governing foreign trips and that the competent authority to approve foreign travel depends on the applicants, but that the accounting officer (Secretary to the Legislature) and Speaker are final decision-making authorities.
Spokesperson James Retief said foreign trips undertaken by standing committees and committee clusters were reported as prescribed in the Standing Rules in “Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports” document.
Retief said the benefits of the trips include information sharing, learning from other institutions, countries, states and provincial counterparts that have faced similar challenges as well as “actively engaging in the broader international parliamentary community; supporting and developing existing multi-/bi-lateral agreements with other countries/states/provinces, etc.”
“All of the afore-mentioned is in order to position and empower the organisation and the Members of the Provincial Parliament to better address the challenges facing the province, its people and the country in general, by learning through example, and leveraging foreign support and expertise,” Retief said.
The Citizen was given a written by National Parliament as well as the remaining seven provincial legislatures that the information requested will be provided. It will be published when the information officers do so.