The Week Ahead: SONA Debates
It’s taken a few weeks but Parliament is finally firing on all cylinders with plenty of action beckoning in both the main chambers and the Committee corridor.
The main event will be the joint debate on the State of the Nation Address on Tuesday and Wednesday. The President will round off proceedings on Thursday when he replies to the points raised over the two-day debate.
This occasion is a highlight of the parliamentary calendar as all party leaders and a galaxy of heavyweight MPs take part.
The debate follows a predictable path: the opposition is critical of the President and governing party for not offering new ideas and highlights all their failures. In return, the governing party defends the President, government's record and proposals and points out weaknesses in the opposition.
With the local government elections later in the year, we can expect MPs to use every possible parliamentary occasion - question times, members’ statements, debates, whatever – to target hot button electoral issues and try to score points over their opponents.
Traditionally, this event is punctuated by jibes, rhetoric and heckling. Speeches also tend to depart from the purpose of the debate as speaker after speaker bear their political fangs.
The next installment of the virtual Women Charter Review Session will take place on Friday in KZN.
Meanwhile, there is a mixture of routine and important business in the committee corridor. Here is a run-down of some of the most interesting meetings:
Monday, 15 February 2021
Ad Hoc Committee on the section 100 Intervention in the North West Province, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on progress of s100 Intervention in North West province], Virtual Meeting Platform, 13:00
Tuesday, 16 Tuesday 2021
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) the City of Cape Town (CoCT) and the Department of Home Affairs on the integration or repatriation of protesting refugees from the Green Market Square, Cape Town CBD; Briefing by the Committee Researcher on the Impact of the State of the Nation Address on Home Affairs and Content Advisor on the checklist of outstanding recommendations; Adoption of outstanding minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Report on Firearms Amnesty; Adoption of minutes and reports], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Acting Solicitor General on turnaround strategy of the State Attorney Office], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury on deviations and expansions for national departments & entities for quarter one, two, and three of the current financial year], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
\Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights A/B [B 6B - 2020] (sec 76); Consideration and Adoption of Minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Portfolio Committee on Health, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Health on health care services in relation to Covid-19 and on the Vaccine roll-out strategy], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Council of Provinces), [Responses by the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on written submissions on the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill [B22B-2020] (National Assembly – sec 75)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the Criminal Related Matters Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30
Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Eskom on the impact of coal prices, loadshedding, cost plus mines, electricity tariffs and escalating costs of Medupi and Kusile on the security of electricity supply and performance of the company; Update on the Kusile employee accommodation saga; Consideration and adoption of draft minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30
Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Social Development on the implications of the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020] in relation to the adoption services; Consideration and adoption of the revised First Term Committee programme; Adoption of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00
Thursday, 18 February 2021
Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) on the 2020 3rd Quarterly Report; Consideration of Letter from the President dated 3 February 2021; Adoption of Minutes of 4 February 2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00
Friday, 19 February 2021
Subcommittee on the Review of Assembly Rules, [Matters referred to the Subcommittee: Consideration of draft rules on Composition of Chief Whips Forum and Questions to the Deputy President and consideration of ruling], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00
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 committees. Critically, what questions should MPs pose to the Executive as they conduct their oversight work?
We have consolidated our reports on the COVID-19 related meetings here.
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
About this blog
"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.