South Africa: Taking Place in Parliament this Week

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A joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces will on Monday debate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, which received a standing ovation last Friday from the members of both Houses. The joint sitting starts in the morning at 10.00 and ends at around 20.00 in the evening.

On Tuesday, President Ramaphosa will reply to the debate on his address, at another joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces starting at 14.00.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance will deliver the Budget Speech to a plenary sitting of the National Assembly starting at 14.00 and also introduce the Appropriation Bill and table the Division of Revenue Bill. Close scrutiny of government spending and revenue collection is key to Parliament fulfilling its constitutional mandate of maintaining oversight over executive action and policy implementation.

The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act of 2009, based on the Constitution’s provision that: “An Act of Parliament must provide for a procedure to amend money Bills before Parliament”, has empowered Parliament to make adjustments to the budget as a whole, as well as to the budgets of specific national government departments and entities. Before the Act, Parliament could approve or reject the budget, but not make adjustments to it. The Act places great responsibility on Parliament and has begun to reframe the nature of the relationship between Parliament and the executive as the custodian of service delivery. Parliamentary oversight over the budget has become a continuous exercise.

Thursday’s plenary sitting of the National Assembly includes condolences for Mr Laloo Chiba. Mr Chiba was elected as a Member of Parliament in South Africa’s first non-racial democratic election in 1994 and again in our 1999 election.

The 28 parliamentary committee meetings scheduled for this week feature a briefing from the Minister of Finance on the 2018 Budget, a public hearing on the National Research Foundation Bill and briefings and consideration of another 10 Bills. These are the National Forests Amendment Bill, the National Land Transport Amendment Bill, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Amendment Bill, the Border Management Authority Bill, the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the Films and Publication Amendment Bill and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Amendment Bill.

Other matters scheduled to feature at committee meetings include subjects of public interest, briefings on progress with specific government programmes and undertakings and briefings on quarterly and annual reports of government departments and entities.

Committee meetings scheduled for the week include:

  • Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs: Briefing by the Provincial Managers of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga on the state of their provinces for the calendar year 2017 (Tuesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Response by Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on all issues raised during the extended public hearings on the National Forests Amendment Bill; further deliberations on the Bill (Tuesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency: Briefing by the Department of Women in the Presidency on the national dialogues and gender-based violence and Draft Sanitary Dignity Policy Framework reports (Tuesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs: Briefing by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), National Treasury and the Auditor General of South Africa on the update on ongoing discussions regarding the late tabling of the DEA Annual Report and Financial Statements for the 2016/17 financial year; briefing by the DEA on the outcomes of the UNFCCC COP 23 conference held in Bonn, Germany, 2017; briefing by the DEA on the Southern African Development Community Protocol on Environmental Management for Sustainable Development (Tuesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Transport: Deliberations on the National Land Transport Amendment Bill (Tuesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Police: Clause by clause vote on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill (Tuesday); vote and adoption of the Bill (Wednesday)
  • Select Committee on Social Services: Briefing by the Department of Finance and Department of Defence on the Border Management Authority Bill (Tuesday)
  • Select Committee on Economic and Business Development: Briefing on the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill (Tuesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Communications: Briefing by the Minister of Communications on the Shareholder Compact and Memorandum of Incorporation of the South African Broadcasting Corporation; briefing by the Department of Communications on progress made in implementing recommendations of the committee’s Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report; adoption of the Films and Publications Amendment Bill (Tuesday)
  • Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources: Negotiating mandate meeting on the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Amendment Bill (Tuesday)
  • Joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations, Select Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Appropriations: Pre-budget briefing by the Parliamentary Budget Office (Tuesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources: Responses by the Minister of Mineral Resources (Mr MJ Zwane) on state capture allegations (Wednesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Labour: Presentation by the Department of Labour on the action plan of the Compensation Fund (Wednesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Health: Briefing by the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health on its readiness for day zero; briefing by the Minister of Health on the Department of Health’s strategies in addressing the Listeriosis outbreak (Wednesday)
  • Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises: Progress report by the Department of Public Enterprises and all other key stakeholders on completion and implementation of the Deed of Settlement between the Richtersveld Community and Alexkor (Wednesday)
  • Joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations, Select Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Appropriations: Budget lock-up session on the 2018 Budget (Wednesday)
  • Select Committee on Education and Recreation: Briefing by the following on the conversion of the Brandfort house of Winnie Mandela to a museum: Department of Arts and Culture, Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Lejweleputswa District Municipality, Masilonyana Local Municipality (Wednesday)
  • Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology: Public hearing on the National Research Foundation Bill (Wednesday)
  • Joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations, Select Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Appropriations: Briefing by the Minister of Finance on the 2018 Budget (Thursday).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

Crossposted from: https://www.cnbcafrica.com/apo/2018/02/19/south-africa-taking-place-in-p...