29 January 2018

The Week Ahead: MPs get stuck into 2018

It's still early days but the legislature has planned a broad and busy programme after a low key week.

With no sittings scheduled in the main chambers, the Committee corridor will again be the main source of parliamentary action this week.

Oversight visits provide Committees with an opportunity to assess progress made and test the authenticity of the information provided by government entities. In keeping with this oversight mandate, several Committees have arranged visits to projects and facilities across the country. These include the Portfolio Committees on Mineral Resources, Basic Education, Human Settlements and Water and Sanitation. Elsewhere, there will be an induction for NCOP delegates on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s management is hard at work with preparations for the State of the Nation Address.

There are a couple of big parliamentary issues that will eclipse all others this week. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Three Committees – Finance, SCOPA and Public Service and Administration - will meet jointly to discuss the Steinhoff scandal. The hearing will look at what caused the company’s share price to collapse. The Government Employees’ Pension Fund was among Steinhoff’s biggest investors and MPs are particularly concerned about the impact on public servants. Representatives from Steinhoff are other relevant entities are expected to attend the hearing.

The Eskom Inquiry resumes and this week the Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Ben Martins, and the former Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO, Lucky Montana, will be in the hot seat. Related to this, the Minister of Public Enterprises and the leadership of State-Owned Companies (SOCs) will meet the Public Enterprises Committee to discuss the progress made in addressing governance challenges in SOCs.

Legislation will also be in the spotlight this week when lawmakers process and discuss assorted bills. There are currently 41 bills before Parliament and MPs will be doing a lot of heavy legislative lifting this year to avoid the end-of-the-Fifth-Term crunch. The list includes the National Credit Amendment Bill, Critical Infrastructure Protection Amendment Bill, Expropriation Bill, Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill, NEMLA Bill and IPID Amendment Bill. -The Subcommittee on the Review of the National Assembly Rules is busy formulating rules for how to remove the President from office and will continue its work this week.

A discussion of a Committee report on the CRL Rights Commission report on regulation of religion and abuse of people’s beliefs a briefing by the SAPS on the new management structure and turnaround strategy, will also generate a few headlines.

See full schedule here

*Note: The schedule is subject to frequent changes and needs to be checked daily.

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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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