05 June 2017

The Week Ahead: Parliament Getting Down to Business

There are four more weeks left in this term and the programme has a familiar pattern: it includes oral questions to the Executive, Members’ statements, policy debates, Committee oversight and scrutiny and processing of assorted Bills, statutory appointments and Committee reports.

There is a minor parliamentary rarity on Tuesday: the main chamber in the National Assembly has scheduled an all day sitting. The main business is the consideration of various Bills – these include Border Management Authority Bill, Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill, Courts of Law Amendment Bill, Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, interim report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works on the Expropriation Bill and consideration of a request from the Portfolio Committee on Communications to amend the Films and Publications Amendment Bill. Also scheduled for consideration are recommendations to fill vacancies in the Commission for Gender Equality.

On the following day, selected Cabinet Members in the Economic Cluster (Ministers of Public Works, Rural Development and Land Reform, Science and Technology, Small Business Development, Telecommunications and Postal Services, Trade and Industry, Tourism and Transport) will be probed on a variety of issues during the question time session. Everything from big-picture policy to specific scandals and non-performance will be on the radar.

The National Assembly leg of the budget vote process is expected to conclude on Thursday when lawmakers consider the budget vote schedules and Appropriation Bill. Parties will again have an opportunity to raise questions on budget votes already debated and make statements.

Elsewhere, the NCOP has scheduled policy debates and legislation.

See full plenary programme here.

The Committee corridor has scheduled a number of interesting meetings that are likely to produce big headlines. Here is a rundown of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Finance and Portfolio Committee on Health are conducting joint hearings on the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill (Health Promotion Levy). The main issue is the debate on the proposed tax on sugary drinks. Proponents of the tax argue that sugary drinks are driving big increases in diabetes and obesity, which cause a range of health problems including strokes, heart attacks and cancer. Meanwhile, opponents in the sugar industry, have warned there would be job losses as a result. It will be interesting to watch what balance the Committees reach.

On Wednesday, MPs will get a briefing on the implementation of the Strengthening of the Relative Rights for People Working the Land (50/50 Policy) and the One Household One hectare Policies (H1H1)].

Other notable meetings include:

Standing Committee on Public Accounts will hold hearings on the Department of Correctional Service irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure as well as accruals, receivables and commitments

Standing Committee on Finance is expected to finalise the Financial Sector regulation “Twin Peaks” Bill discussion (NCOP referral) and deliberations thereon

The Select Committee on Security and Justice will discuss the policy considerations to increasing the powers of law enforcement officers.

IPID will brief legislators on the progress on Section 9 referrals on the police. Youth employment will be in the spotlight when the NYDA briefs Parliament on the programmes introduced to facilitate and provide employment opportunities to youth of different levels of education and skills.

On Friday, the Constitutional Review Committee will meet to consider and adopt the draft report on the 2015 public submissions and receive a presentation on 2016 public submissions

You can find a full list of meetings for this week here.

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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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