12 June 2017

The week ahead:Youth Day Debates & Question Time with the Deputy President

Even with a public holiday to compress the parliamentary week, there is a fair bit of action scheduled into the available three days (Parliament is sitting from Tuesday to Thursday).

In the NA chamber, the most significant event will be the appearance by the Deputy President to answer oral questions about the state of the economy, state capture allegations, gender-based violence and other matters.

Other plenary highlights include legislative business, a debate on Africa Day and a discussion on speeding up land reform by using the limitation clause in the Constitution to bypass the failed "willing seller, willing buyer policy".

Beyond this, there is a scheduled sitting to debate Youth Day. The theme for the debate is "Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment". As has become the norm, the debate will be headlined by young MPs who will reflect on issues affecting young people. Education, unemployment and violence are some of the major issues that are expected to be touched on.

Elsewhere, the agenda in the NCOP chamber has a singular focus – policy debates. The upper house has scheduled policy debates for five government departments spread out over two days.

You can view the full plenary programme here.

It’s a promising week in the Committee corridor, with a number of interesting and compelling meetings in prospect. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Last month, SCOPA heard from the AGSA about conflict of interest in government. MPs were told that specific departments are repeat offenders when it comes to the highest numbers of cases; these include the Departments of Correctional Services, Justice and Constitutional Development, and Police. As a follow up to this meeting, SCOPA has scheduled a hearing on Tuesday about the conflict of interest in the SAPS.

The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry will continue its engagements on the proposed policy on debt relief. The Committee is in the process of drafting a Bill to this effect and is having several engagements first to establish what should be contained in the policy. On Tuesday, it will engage with the National Consumer Tribunal as well as the Department of Justice on progress made regarding Emolument Attachment Order in relation to debt relief.

Other headline-grabbing meetings include deliberations on the White Paper on International Migration, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Market Inquiry outcomes and a briefing by the SABC on its 4th Quarter Expenditure and Performance Report.

On Wednesday, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry will interact with National Treasury and the National Credit Regulator with regard to statistics in relation to over-indebtedness.

Also on the same day, lawmakers will receive the following briefings:

-Eskom on its tariff increase for 2017-18 and amended pricing structure for municipalities with effect from 1 July 2017

-Department of Social Development on progress made on Retirement and Social Security Reforms and the universalisation of Old Age Grant, Child Support Grant, guaranteed employment and informal workers social security

-Department of Public Service and Administration on the implementation of the Revised Determination on Other Remunerative Work to prohibit public servants from doing business with the State

-The Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament is set to consider the legislature’s draft 2018/19 budget and annual performance plan.

In between, there are number of bills - at various stages of their development - that will be considered by committees. These include the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill, Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill, Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill, Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, and Courts of Law Amendment Bill. Notably, the Joint Appropriations and Finance Committees will hold a workshop on the review of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act. One of the regular criticisms about the budget process is that the timeframes are very short and that meaningful public engagement on very important Bills does not take place. In order to address this, the finance committee was tasked to review the implementation of the Money Bills Act, specifically to look into the time frames and sequencing associated with the different financial instruments and bills, and the parliamentary procedures related to them.

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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