The Week Ahead: Budget and Legislation

June 8, 2020 (1 month ago)

This week in parli image

There are three weeks left until Parliament’s mid-year break.

In the remaining days, the legislative body is scheduled to vote on several Bills, appropriate funding, scrutinise government performance, oversee government’s COVID-19 response, recommend statutory appointments, ratify statutory instruments and finalise assorted Committee Reports.

In the National Assembly chamber, the major point of interest will come from Friday’s all day sitting where legislators will formally adopt the budget votes for all departments and entities as well as the Appropriation Bill (the Budget).

The Appropriation Bill appropriates money from the National Revenue Fund for the requirements of the State and prescribes conditions for the spending of funds withdrawn.

Parliament has the power to amend the proposed budget but has never fully exercised this right. This paper explores why: Why has Parliament not yet made a substantive amendment to the national Budget?

The budget process is different this time around: there are no mini-plenary debates scheduled and no second reading debate on the Appropriation Bill.

The Bill will thereafter be sent to the NCOP for concurrence.

The conclusion of parliamentary processes on the Appropriation Bill will enable the Minister of Finance to table the Adjustments Appropriation Bill, which will address the financial challenges posed by the Covid-19 virus.

With MPs not able to vote remotely, parties can still register their objections when they disagree with a question. In terms of the Rules, Members shall be entitled to cast their votes by voice or by having their vote recorded by their respective whips.

Legislation is the other big focus, with the House set to consider three Bills on Tuesday: Social Assistance Amendment Bill; Prescription in Civil and Criminal Matters (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill and the Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Bill. interestingly, these Bills will make history as the first pieces of legislation to be adopted virtually.

Additionally, the chamber will consider motions to establish an Ad hoc Committee on the appointment of the Auditor-General and regularize the arrangement of combining clusters where necessary.

Beyond this, lawmakers will recommend appointments to the ICASA Council (You can review all the virtual interviews here) and approve the First Report of the National Assembly Rules Committee, 2020 as well as assorted Budget Vote Reports.

Elsewhere the NCOP will host another two provincial rounds reviewing the 1994 Women’s Charter for Effective Equality. The decision to undertake a nationwide Women’s Charter review process was taken during the Women’s Parliament held in August 2019, to cover all nine provinces over the next 12 months.

There’s a lot of action in Committee-land. Legislation, mega-important spending decisions and headline-grabbing hearings dominate the Committee corridor. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology on: Establishment of the Ministerial Task Team on review of the NSFAS business processes; Update on the decision by the Committee requesting the Minister to institute the review on remuneration of University Vice-Chancellors (VCs); Funding of the missing middle and student historic debt; Standardisation of the Student Representative Councils (SRC) elections], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Portfolio Committee on Transport, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Transport on the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill [B 1- 2020]; Consideration and adoption of the motion of desirability on the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill; Consideration of draft Committee programme for the third term; Consideration and adoption of draft minutes of proceedings], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, (National Assembly), [Follow-up on a meeting held on 2 June 2020, Joint meeting with Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the tariff determinations by the Department of Water and Sanitation, Water Boards and Salga], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-15:00

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Health and Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) on their strategies and plans to deal with Covid-19 test results and backlogs; Briefing by Life Healthcare Group on their state of readiness for Covid-19; Briefing by Netcare on their state of readiness for Covid-19], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality on the their response plans for COVID-19], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Portfolio Committee on Transport, (National Assembly), [Follow-up briefing by the Minister of Transport on the implementation of level 3 of Covid-19 regulations], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Advisor and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the proposed amendments to the Cybercrimes Bill [B 6B- 2017] (National Assembly– sec 75); Committee deliberation of the proposed amendments to the Cybercrimes Bill [B 6B- 2017] (National Assembly– sec 75)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Ministry and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on Government Notice No R. 1692 published in Government Gazette No 42916 dated 20 December 2019: Regulations for Judicial Officers in the Lower Courts, 1993: Amendment, made under section 16 of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993); Consideration and adoption of the report on Government Notice No R. 1692 published in Government Gazette No 42916 dated 20 December 2019: Regulations for Judicial Officers in the Lower Courts, 1993: Amendment, made under section 16 of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993); Continuation of Committee deliberation and consideration of the proposed amendments to the Cybercrimes Bill [B 6B- 2017] (National Assembly– sec 75); Consideration and adoption of the Report on the proposed amendments to the Cybercrimes Bill [B 6B- 2017] (National Assembly– sec 75); Consideration and adoption of the Report on the Notice of declaration of Amnesty in terms of the Firearms Control Act, No 60 of 2000], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Follow-up meeting with City of Cape Town on its COVID-19 response plans], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Friday, 12 June 2020

Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (Steering Committee), (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Analyses of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide: Content Adviser and Researcher briefing; National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide: Preparatory briefing by the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, (National Assembly), [Matters of current affairs with respect to universities: Sefako Makgatho University (SMU)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the DTIC on beneficiation and localisation; Consideration of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-18:00

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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