12 October 2020

The Week Ahead: President in rare address to Parliament


On Thursday, President Ramaphosa will use a rare address in Parliament to brief the country on the government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

Convening an address to both Houses is generally reserved for the State of the Nation Address but has been prompted by the unprecedented and devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, the country was in recession and government was battling to address economic stagnation. The pandemic has made the situation a lot worse with increased job losses and significant contraction in the economy.

In his motivation for the Joint Sitting the President said: “…the damage caused by the pandemic to an already-weak economy, to employment, to livelihoods, and to public finances, has been colossal. We need to take extraordinary measures towards a speedy and sustainable economic recovery.” 

The Minister of Labour will brief NCOP delegates on Tuesday on measures to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. These events have become a regular feature of the virtual Parliament and are an interactive platform for Ministers and members of the NCOP to engage on government’s response. As the custodian of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations, the NCOP has a critical role to scrutinize the efficacy and effectiveness of coordination and co-operation between the three spheres of government.

Scheduled for Wednesday, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni are the latest venues for the Women’s Charter Review.

The week rounds off with an interactive Youth Parliament. The session aims to bring together young South Africans to interact with the executive on issues affecting them.

View the full plenary programme here

It's another big week in the Committee corridor where lawmakers will be dealing with interim annual reports, quarterly performance reports and finalising Budgetary Review and Recommendations Reports (BRRRs) which must be completed before the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) is delivered on 21 October 2020.

Section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Act states that ‘the National Assembly, through its committees, must annually assess the performance of each national department’ and, that committees must ‘annually submit budgetary review and recommendation reports (BRRR) for tabling in the National Assembly for each department’.

The BRRR is informed by a Committee’s interrogation of, amongst others, national departments’ Estimates of National Expenditure, strategic priorities, measurable objectives and forward-funding needs, National Treasury-published expenditure reports, the relevant Annual Reports and financial statements, the Auditor-General of South Africa’s audit findings as well as observations made during all other oversight activities. The Report makes recommendations for consideration by the affected Minister as well as the Minister of Finance. Due to COVID-19, committees are reviewing spending without audited financial statements.

Here is a run down of the highlights in the committee corridor:

Monday, 12 October 2020
Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Traditional Affairs on its quarterly financial performance], Virtual Meeting Platform, 19:00-22:00
Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Portfolio Committee on Communications, (National Assembly), [Briefing by SAPO on its turnaround strategy, SASSA cash payments, implications to SITA ICT services and all other outstanding matters; Adoption of outstanding minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (National Assembly), [Further deliberations and finalisation of the ULTRA Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Responses by National Treasury and SARS to the public submissions on the TLAB, TALAB and Rates Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Select Committee on Finance, (National Council of provinces), [Briefing by PBO on Quarterly Economic Brief], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Cricket South Africa on the status/outcome of the outstanding independent forensic investigation report, intervention by SASCOC and all other pertinent matters; Consideration and adoption of draft report on the DSAC performance for the first quarter of 2020/21], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Follow up meeting with the Department of Public Enterprises on SAA], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-14:00
Wednesday, 14 October 2020
Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour, (National Assembly), [Briefing by StatsSA on the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released in September 2020; and Consideration of the Memorandum from NEHAWU, referred to the Committee], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00
Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the DPWI and National Treasury on the broader site clearance for the entire Land Port of Entry borderline and plans to ensure that the South African borders are fit for purpose], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Special Investigation Unit on progress regarding investigation reports on ESKOM], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
Friday, 16 October 2020
Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Consideration and Adoption of Draft Minutes and Draft Reports; Briefing by Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) on the Status and Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Schooling: Western Cape Department of Education; Free State Department of Education; and North West Department of Education], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) on Saving the 2020 Academic Year in the post-school education and training sector; Briefing by Universities South Africa (USAf) and the South African Union of Students (SAUS) on saving the 2020 Academic Year at Universities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

 Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Secretary to Parliament and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) on progress made in relation to issues arising from the 30 October 2019 meeting on Parliament’s infrastructure-related challenges], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-15:00
Saturday, 17 October 2020
Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, (National Assembly), [Consideration and Adoption of Budgetary Review and Recommendation Reports: DOD and DMV], Pretoria at the JSCD Lekgotla, 11:15-13:00

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 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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