17 May 2020

The Week Ahead: Budget hearings & Legislation


It’s week five of the virtual Parliament.

The legislature reached a milestone last Friday when it marked the 100th virtual meeting of its oversight committees.

The Coronavirus pandemic has seen a traditional, archaic and slow-moving institution transform into one trying to embrace experimentation and technology.

Some innovations are temporary and others may persist beyond this period.

It is not an easy undertaking. A lot of co-ordination is needed to enable MPs’ participation, support their use of technology and facilitate public involvement.

Not every meeting has gone smoothly and there has been criticism. The official opposition described the virtual committee meetings as "rather shambolic in nature". Parliament differed with this view: while it acknowledged there were some problems and room for improvement,; it felt, on a whole, meetings were progressing well.

It’s an imperfect system but it has worked well enough according to any objective assessment.

Creating a virtual system capable of dealing with plenary sittings will be a lot more challenging where proceedings are usually more fluid and vibrant. The National Assembly’s first virtual house sitting is scheduled for 27 May and that of the National Council of Province on 2 June. One of the upsides is that Presiding Officers will have an easier time muting lawmakers who seek to obstruct proceedings.

It's another big week in the Committee corridor where lawmakers will be dealing with leftover Annual Performance Plans and budget presentations from departments and entities.

A recurring concern is that Committees have limited time and it is not wise to spend significant time on budgets that are going to be changed significantly – in the adjusted budget -due to COVID-19.

Further, Parliament has scheduled legislative business as well meetings to discuss government’s COVID-19 response measures. We have consolidated our reports on the COVID-19 related meetings here

Below is a summary of the most interesting meetings:

Monday, 18 May 2020

 Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Political overview by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services on: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development; Department of Correctional Services; The office of the Chief Justice; Briefing by Legal Aid South Africa on its Strategic Plan, APP and Budget 2020/21], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Advisor on written submissions on the Civil Union Amendment Bill; Consideration of the Committee report on the South African Police Service budget vote.; Consideration and adoption of the outstanding minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on 2020/2021 Annual Performance Plan and budget allocation to departmental programmes and sub-programmes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Joint briefing with the Competition Commission and the NCC’s contribution to government’s COVID-19 response], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09;00-12:00

 National Assembly Rules Committee, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Consideration of Rule on Virtual meetings in terms of National Assembly Rule 6 (Unforeseen eventualities); Consideration of Reconfiguration of the Clustered System of Government Portfolios for Questions to Ministers], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-11:30

 Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of the budget vote report of the Department of Home Affairs; Briefing by the DHA on the roll-out of the one-stop border post, refugee processing facility, the liquidation of Lindela Repatriation Facility and enhanced movement control systems], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00


Wednesday, 20 May 2020

 Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Council of Provinces), [Consideration of Negotiating Mandates on the Division of Revenue Bill [B3 — 2020]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury and the Land Bank on the financial issues affecting the entity], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

 Joint meeting:  Portfolio Committee on Health and the Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Health on their of the Department of Health’s Strategic Plan for 2020/21 - 2024/25, Annual Performance Plan for 2020/21 and Budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00


Thursday, 21 May 2020

 Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the department on the progress report on meeting the North Gauteng High Court deadline on foster care orders backlog], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-15:00

 Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Water and Sanitation on the 2020/2021 Budget Vote 41, Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Discussion and adoption of the report on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill [B2-2019]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00


Friday, 22 May 2020

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Update from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition on COVID-19 measures as it pertains to its mandate], Virtual Meeting Platform, 07:00 – 10:00


Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Research on the Integration process within the SANDF; Briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Adviser on the history of the Khoisan Self Defence Unit's requests to integrate into the SANDF], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on its Strategic Plan, APP and Budget 2020/21], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-15:00

Committees provide a platform for the public to present views directly to MPs. Share your on the ground experience and expert information to the relevant committeesCritically, what questions should MPs pose to the Executive as they conduct their oversight work? 

View the schedule page here.

*This summary is based on the schedule as it is published on Monday morning. The programme is subject to frequent updating so the link above needs to be checked daily to confirm the programme for the day.



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People's Assembly

"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.

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