25 February 2019

The Week Ahead: Deputy President, Appointments & Legislation

There's a full and mixed flavour to the coming week's parliamentary business.

The major points of interest will come from the Question Time session with the Deputy President in the NA chamber and several high-profile meetings in the committee corridor.

On Wednesday, the leader of government business will have his regular engagement with lawmakers when he appears to answer oral questions. These sessions happen once per month during session, are three hours long and are limited to six main and supplementary questions. In addition, the questions must be restricted to matters of national and international importance, as assigned to the Deputy President by the President. Currently, the Deputy President is responsible for, among other things, social cohesion, the moral regeneration movement, manages the interaction between the Executive and Parliament, is special envoy to South Sudan and is chairperson of the South African Aids Council and Human Resource Development Council so most of the questions touch on these themes.

Government Ministers may make oral statements to Parliament which usually address major incidents, government policies or actions. Each political party is allowed an opportunity to respond to such a statement. On Wednesday, the Minister of Science and Technology will make a statement on the Space Weather Centre. Last month, it was announced that the South African National Space Agency was chosen to provide space weather information for the continent. On the following day, the Minister of Sports and Recreation will make a statement in support of the Caster Semenya campaign against the IAAF Hyperandrogenism Regulations.

The Rules allow MPs to propose a subject for discussion – this mechanism provides an opportunity for the House to debate a particular topic without being required to take a decision at the end of the debate.  Unemployment, the economy and job losses are recurring debate topics. This time, the leader of the opposition proposed the following debate for discussion: solutions to address job losses in South Africa and the Gross Domestic Product growth forecast decline for 2019.

Also dotting the NA plenary agenda are regular items like legislation, consideration of committee reports and international instruments, members’ statements, motions without notice and notices of Motion.

Elsewhere, the NCOP chamber has arranged one sitting where it will consider multiple reports including the Taking Parliament to the People Report. This event took place in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in 2018 and the new Parliament will be expected to do a follow-up visit to make sure the commitments are being carried out.

View the plenary programme here

The committee corridor will be the site for some interesting action, with a number of cabinet ministers set to make appearances.

The Police Committee will deliberate on the submissions received relating to the contract extension of the IPID Head. (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)

The Portfolio Committee on Communications has allocated three weeks to complete the process of filling vacancies at the board of the SABC. It will shortlist candidates to interview for the SABC and MDDA Boards. (Tuesday)

The Ad Hoc Committee established to identify suitable candidates for the filling of vacancies in the Commission for Gender Equality will also be shortlisting candidates. (Tuesday)

The budget presented by the Minister is not the final budget but a proposal that has to be scrutinised and approved by Parliament. The debate has moved from the chamber to the Committee corridor where Committees will hold hearings with the Minister, Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), Treasury, relevant departments, statutory bodies, economists and civil society before compiling a report. The parliamentary committees in the spotlight during this process are the Standing Committee on Finance and the Standing Committee on Appropriations along with their counterpart Committees in the NCOP. (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday)

Legislators will hear from the Department of Public Works on the Immovable Asset Register and on properties and land parcels earmarked for land reform through the land restitution process. (Tuesday)

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs will get briefings from the Ministers of Home Affairs, Police and Justice and Correctional Services on the consultation on the Immigration Bill. Also, the Ministers of Home Affairs and Public Works will update the committee on the provision of office accommodation by the Department of Public Works to the Department of Home Affairs. (Tuesday)

Lawmakers will get a briefing on the political developments in Venezuela and Democratic Republic of Congo. (Wednesday)

Banning the single use plastics will be in the spotlight when MPs meet with the Department of Environmental Affairs. (Wednesday)

In between, MPs will be considering various legislation: these include the National Credit Amendment Bill;  Copyright Amendment Bill; Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill; Public Service Commission Amendment Bill; Defence Amendment Bill; Local Government: Municipal Systems Amendment Bill; National Public Health Institute of South Africa Bill; Films and Publications Amendment Bill; National Gambling Amendment Bill; Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill and the regulations to the Public Finance Amendment Act.

View the full schedule 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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