The Week Ahead: Third Term Resumes
National Assembly legislators return to Parliament this week for the third term. NCOP delegates will carry out constituency work for another week and return on 25 August.
This session will be relatively short and packed with activities. Some of the highlights include Committee and oversight work; oral questions to the Executive; important debates; and filling vacancies in several government bodies.
In addition, MPs are expected to do some heavy legislative lifting as there are nearly 40 bills before the legislature. The bills cover an array of issues, including cybercrimes, copyright, tax relief, state liability, road accident benefit, employment equity, hate speech, fiscal responsibility, land tenure and expropriation, social assistance, customary initiation, health insurance and more.
That said, the timetable is fluid and can be overtaken by unscheduled debates, statements and events.
The Virtual and hybrid Parliament will continue for another term. It is limiting and imperfect. At the same time, the body has been able to perform its legislative and oversight role at a vital time.
The debate on National Women’s Day– which is an annual event on the legislature’s programme – takes place on Tuesday. The theme this year is “Generation Equality – Realising women’s rights for an equal future”.
On the same day, the NA chamber will hold a second debate, sponsored by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu, on #BlackLivesMatter. The EFF marched in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA after the death of George Floyd, called for justice for local victims of police brutality and requested this debate under the theme: “Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter – Reinforcing the commitment of all South Africans to confront and defeat individual and institutional racism in our society and everywhere else it exists”.
The practice of oral questions is an established part of the parliamentary day and gives MPs an opportunity to question the Executive about matters for which they are responsible. For all its limitations, this is usually an occasion of heightened interest and the most interesting exchanges happen during the follow-up questions from opposition MPs. Everything from specific scandals and programmes to big-picture policy and performance will be under the microscope. Generally, governing party MPs and the opposition have different objectives when it comes to these engagements: the former tends to provide Ministers with an opportunity to put government policies and actions in a favourable light while the latter aims to do the opposite. Ministers in the Peace and Security Cluster will be probed on Wednesday and the Deputy President on Thursday. The Deputy President cancelled two scheduled parliamentary question and answer sessions last term (one in each house) due to ill health and is expected to make up for this during this term.
Meanwhile, there’s lots of action scheduled in Committee-land, with a few Cabinet Ministers set to make appearances. Here is a run down of the highlights:
Tuesday, 18 August 2020
Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (National Assembly), [Public Hearings on ULTRA Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-16:00
Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the DTIC on the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills; Briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Advisor on the remitted Copyright and of the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills as it relates to the constitutionality of specific clauses and procedural deficiencies and on the process forward; Consideration of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and the Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Joint meeting with the Select Committee on Security and Justice: Briefing by the Minister of Home Affairs, Parliament, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on the Integrated Road Map to amend the Electoral Act; Briefing by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) on the delimitation of the municipal wards in preparation of the Local Government Elections 2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Deliberation on the Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and Disaster Management Tax Administration Bill (with the optional presence of SeCOF members, who will subsequently, after the NA has adopted the Bill, consider it separately)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Update by Minister and Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on the restructuring and reviewal of its entities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Inter Ministerial Committee regarding their work towards the allegations of corruption in the procurement of goods and services sourced for the purpose of containing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Social Development and Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Joint Meeting of the PC on Social Development and SC on Health and Social Services to receive a briefing by the Department of Social Development on the National Drug Master Plan (2019-2024); Recap briefing by the department on the facilitation of the recruitment process for members to serve in the Central Drug Authority (CDA); Briefing by the CDA board on challenges it has experienced in executing its mandate and proposals to address them and shortlisting of candidates to serve on CDA board], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-17:00
Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing by DCS on Initiatives to address overcrowding and promotion of incarceration as a last resort and strategies and action plan on gangsterism], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, SAPS, IPID and Metro Police on the recent incident involving City of Cape the Law enforcement members in Khayelitsha], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Special Investigating Unit regarding the terms of reference relating to the Procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 pandemic], 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; Second, third and fourth quarter 2019/20; First quarter 2020/21; Revised Annual Performance Plan 2020/21], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Social Development on its comprehensive plan to address Gender Based Violence and Femicide in line with the National Strategic Plan on GBVF, Family Preservation Programmes and anti-substance abuse programmes, including the National Drug Master Plan; Presentation by Mr D Harrison on the petition forwarded to the Committee on measures to curb alcohol abuse linked to Gender Based Violence], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-14:30
Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, (National Assembly), [Presentation by the Department on Foreign Policy perspective on the recent developments in the Middle East, including the proposed Israeli annexation of the West Bank], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00
Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, (National Assembly), [Update by Department of Public Enterprises on progress made in addressing governance challenges facing state-owned companies; Consideration and adoption of the report on the petition from the community of Jamestown, Stellenbosch], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Discussion on the filling of the Information Regulator vacancy; Briefing on the provisional suspension from office of Ms K Bodlani; Briefing on NCOP proposed amendments: Cybercrimes and cybersecurity Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-14:30
Thursday, 20 August 2020
Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Northern Cape Provincial Government on its COVID-19 response plans; and Briefing by the MEC on Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs on the status of all municipalities under S139 in the province], Virtual Meeting Platform, 19:00-22:00
Friday, 21 August 2020
Portfolio Committee on Transport, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Department of Transport on its revised 2020/21 Strategic and Annual Performance Plans; Consideration and adoption of the Committee’s report on the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill [B 17B – 2017]; Consideration and adoption of draft minutes of proceedings], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
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.
About this blog
"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.