Time frame for the drafting and implementation of the Foreign Service Bill by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
FOR ORAL REPLY
QUESTION NO: 243 (NO3068E)
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 7-2015 OF 12 AUGUST 2015
MR S MOKGALAPA (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:
(1) If her department have a finalised time frame for the drafting of the Foreign Service Bill?
(2) If her department have a finalised time frame for the implementation of the Foreign Service Bill?
(1) Yes, the drafting of the Bill has been finalised.
Extensive consultations took place with all stakeholder departments.
The submissions and inputs made during the consultation processes have been considered and appropriate amendments were effected to the Bill.
The Bill has been submitted to the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser for comments.
The Bill was also presented to the ICTS and G&A Clusters respectively.
The Bill will now be submitted to Cabinet, with the view of presenting it to Parliament as planned, during the second half of the Parliamentary session of 2015.
- One of the planned policy initiatives in the Strategic Plan 2012-2017 of DIRCO is to develop and table the Foreign Service Bill to provide for a single Foreign Service system for the Republic of South Africa. As South Africa’s democracy is maturing and its international relations footprint is found across the globe, the difficulties in the management and administration of the current fragmented Foreign Service system, which is at present without a legislative framework, became evident. International relations are conducted in an increasingly complex world and the Foreign Service has to be able to respond appropriately and adequately to the ever changing environment.
- Many practical and administrative concerns that arose have to be dealt with in practice in a foreign context. The management and administration of foreign relations, be it in or outside South Africa, raises specific challenges that need to be addressed by the creating an enabling legislative administrative and management framework for the single Foreign Service under the authority of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.
- In preparing the Bill, extensive research was done in respect of the foreign services of comparable countries. Specific attention was also given to the current legislation governing the public service sector and the security services in South Africa. The legislation from inter alia Brazil, Philippines, Kenya, Germany, USA, and Canada was studied in preparation of the Bill. International practice shows that for the effective execution of international relations a foreign service needs to be supported by an appropriate legislative framework that can address the challenges posed at an operational level in a global environment which is different and diverse from the domestic context.
- The purpose of the Bill is to address the realities and challenges of the operations of South Africa’s representations in foreign jurisdictions by creating an enabling administrative and management framework through which the Foreign Service will be regulated in a consolidated and coherent manner by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
- The draft Bill will be operationalized within the existing legislative framework governing the public sector service and the security services in South Africa and is in compliance with the constitutional dispensation. The Bill does not aim to change the existing mandates of those departments with officials serving abroad to fulfil specific functions, as it only deals with the administrative and management aspects of the foreign service system.