24 May 2020

The Week Ahead: First Hybrid Sitting


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

The highlights include Question Time Session, Africa Day commemoration, special NCOP Virtual Engagement; Women’s Charter Review, legislative business, interviews and important Committee hearings.

The sheer scale of COVID-19 means it touches almost every aspect of government - everywhere there are questions to be answered. As a result, the legislature has prioritised questions to Ministers who lead departments that are affected by the pandemic.

In normal times, each government cluster is allocated  their own slot for Question Time but these are very different times so the Social Services and Governance clusters have been combined.

Wednesday’s session will be a hybrid sitting in which some members will be in the Chamber and others joining via the virtual platform. Parties have agreed to give the Speaker prior notice of the original questions on which they wished to ask supplementary questions.

View the Questions

The virtual house might be a lot easier on Ministers as they don’t have to contend with the craziness of a crowded and noisy chamber.

For all its limitations, this is an occasion of heightened interest and can sometimes be revealing.

Beyond this, Parliament will host a virtual Lecture to commemorate Africa Day.

Elsewhere, the NCOP will host a special Virtual Ministerial Briefing on Covid-19. It is intended to “create an interactive virtual platform for the Ministers of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Health to brief all members of the NCOP on the work of government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also necessitated by the view that it is critical for the NCOP, as the custodian of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations, to scrutinize the efficacy and effectiveness of coordination and co-operation between the three spheres of government in relations to the interventions that are geared towards the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In addition, two Women’s Charter Review Sessions have been scheduled for delegates.

It's another big week in the Committee corridor where lawmakers will be dealing with leftover Annual Performance plans and finalising Budget Reports. Further, Parliament has scheduled legislative business, interviews and meetings to discuss government’s COVID-19 response measures. We have consolidated our reports on the COVID-19 related meetings here

Last Friday marked one year since MP’s were sworn into office. It’s been an eventful year and the current virtual Parliament will ensure that 2020 is recorded in history as a seismic time.

Below is a summary of this week’s most interesting meetings:

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the FFC on the fiscal impact of covid-19 and suggestions on where money should be reprioritized in the adjustments budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Minister of Water and Sanitation on the investigations on irregular expenditure for Department and Water Boards], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by department on Upgrade of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Council of Provinces), [Consideration of Final Mandates on the Division of Revenue Bill [B3 – 2020]; Consideration and adoption of the draft Report on the Division of Revenue Bill [B3 – 2020]; and Consideration of draft Minutes of Proceedings dated 20 May 2020], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services and Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing on the Presidency’s notice determining the salaries of office bearers of independent constitutional institutions (South African Human Rights Commission and Public Protector); Briefing on the Mexican Treaty of Correctional Services], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-15:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises on the financial challenges facing Eskom, South African Airways and South African Express], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities on the Framework for gender responsive planning, budgeting, evaluation and auditing], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Health and Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Consideration and adoption of the Committee’s budget vote report; Briefing by the Ministry/Department of Health on the Covid-19 update], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Friday, 29 May 2020

Portfolio Committee on Social Development and Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by NGOs on the Covid19 related food security programmes. The presentation should highlight their successes, challenges and recommendations; Briefing by the Department of Social Development and its entities on their M&E and supervisory plans aimed at effective implementation of the department’s programmes (food distribution, psychosocial support and GBV) responding to the Covid 19 pandemic], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill [B13B-2019]; Adoption of Reports: Adoption of the International Treaty on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the United Mexican States], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

 Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology on: Establishment of the Ministerial Task Team on review of the NSFAS business processes; Update on the decision by the Committee requesting the Minister to institute the review on remuneration of University Vice-Chancellors (VCs).; Funding of the missing middle and student historic debt; Standardisation of the Student Representative Councils (SRC) elections], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

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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