14 August 2017

The Week Ahead: Getting Down to Third Term Business

There's a full and mixed flavour to the coming week's parliamentary business in the Committee corridor with MPs processing assorted Bills, scrutinising Executive action and dealing with statutory appointments.

In addition, a number of Portfolio and Select Committees have scheduled oversight visits during this week. The purpose of the visits is to test the authenticity of the information provided by the Departments Committees oversee. It’s also an opportunity to obtain first-hand knowledge from people engaged in the direct implementation of specific programmes and/or who are directly responsible for service delivery. Some of the interesting oversight visits are to the SABC, Eskom and Broadband Infraco.

Two committees will also be holding public hearings outside Parliament:

  1. The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs will hold public hearings on the Marine Spatial Planning Bill in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape.

  2. The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform has arranged public hearings on the Communal Association Amendment Bill in KwaZulu-Natal and North West.

Meanwhile, it’s another low key week in the main chambers where no sittings are scheduled.

Last week’s defeated motion of no confidence caused a minor political tremor. The aftershocks have been swift - the DA has called for Parliament to be dissolved and elsewhere there have been calls for the ANC to dismiss party members who supported the motion. This has guaranteed that the fallout will dominate the political landscape for a while still.

Turning to this week’s scheduled meetings, there is some significant action, with some set piece battles in prospect. Here is a run down of the highlights:

  • When it comes to issues, they don't get more bread and butter than SASSA grant payments. On Tuesday, SCOPA will meet with the Minister of Social Development and SASSA on progress made with the SA Post Office regarding payment of social grants as directed by the Constitutional Court.

  • The Ad Hoc Committee on the funding of political parties will hold public hearings over several days. These will be marathon sessions lasting the entire day. The Committee received 16 written submissions and all were invited to the public hearings. The Committee will also receive input from National Treasury, the Independent Electoral Commission, as well as the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

  • The term of office of the interim SABC Board will end soon and lawmakers have embarked on a process to select a new permanent Board. In June, the Portfolio Committee on Communications invited the public to nominate persons to fill vacancies of non-executive members to the SABC Board, as stipulated in section 13 of the Broadcasting Act, No 4 of 1999. This week, the Committee will begin sifting through those CVs to shortlist suitable candidates that can be interviewed to serve on the Board.

  • The management of the SAPS and the Priority Crime Investigation Directorate will also be in the spotlight when they report back about anti-gang strategies in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and progress made by the unit dealing with illegal firearms.

  • The Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests will meet behind closed doors to set the deadline for annual disclosures of Members’ Interests.

  • Preparations for the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom will continue when the Public Enterprises Committee meets on Wednesday to get a legal opinion and discuss its programme. The inquiry is expected to look into a wide range of issues; among other things this will include the reappointment of Brian Molefe and various allegations contained in the state capture leaked emails and those made by the former Mineral Resources Minister‚ Ngoako Ramatlhodi.

  • The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry was given permission to develop a Bill amending the National Credit Act to provide indebted consumers with debt relief. In general, there is cross-party support for the draft Bill and the Committee will get a report-back from the subcommittee on debt relief.

  • On Thursday, the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will get a briefing on the recommendations of the Indigenous Indaba.

Parliament is finally set to review the Executive Members’ Ethics Act. This is to prevent any future conflict of interest and is part of the remedial action recommended by the Public Protector.

In between, there is a lot of unglamorous legislating as lawmakers process the Copyright Amendment Bill, Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill, Liquor Products Amendment Bill, National Forests Amendment Bill, National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill, draft Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill, Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, National Health Laboratory Service Amendment Bill, Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill and National Public Health Institute of South Africa Bill.

See the full schedule here.

*The programme is subject to changes so the schedule needs to be checked daily for accuracy.

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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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