Following the parliamentary committee hearings on the 2022/23 priorities, targets and spending plans of departments, the focus shifts to the budget vote debates which commence this week and run until 10 June 2022.
These debates happen in the mini-plenary sittings of the National Assembly and are headlined by Ministers, their deputies, party leaders and senior MPs. The Budget Vote debates provide an opportunity for MPs to discuss, and then formally adopt the budgets of government departments and entities that are funded through a parliamentary vote.
Each debate lasts about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Due to the tight schedule, multiple budget vote debates take place simultaneously. There are 12 debates scheduled this week. A few of the standout ones include Health, Human Settlements, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Social Development and Water and Sanitation.
After each vote has been debated, each House (NA + NCOP) must vote on the whole budget.
In the NCOP, Question Time is the main chamber business. It is an established part of the programme and one of the ways Parliament scrutinises the work of government and holds it accountable.
It is an opportunity for any lawmaker to directly question the Executive about matters for which they are responsible. Many of the questions touch on bread and butter issues and/or high-temperature business. An interesting part of the exercise is how the questions are structured as MPs try to fit in as much as possible while also trying to get their talking points across. For all its limitations, this is usually an occasion of heightened interest and can be revealing.
The Deputy President will answer questions in the NCOP on Thursday.
Of interest, one of the questions that the leader of government business will have to address is on what measures are in place to ensure that members of the Executive are accountable to him for answering parliamentary questions from Members of Parliament in a timely, comprehensive and correct manner.
This week, the Speaker of the National Assembly will lead a delegation to a conference of Speakers of African Parliaments in Nigeria. The focus of the event is on the role of legislatures in the Continent’s Post Covid-19 economic recovery plans. Last Friday, the Executive Authority of Parliament announced that it would recommend the current Chief Executive Officer of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Mr Xolile George, for appointment as the Secretary to Parliament. This appointment must be confirmed by both Houses.
There are plenty of important-looking meetings in the Committee Corridor. Here is a rundown of the highlights:
TUESDAY, 10 MAY 2022
Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Comments by Financial Fiscal Commission on the 2022 Appropriation Bill and the 2022 Second Adjustment Appropriation (2021/22 financial year)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Content Advisor on the, public participation report on the Electoral Amendment Bill; Consideration of CVs and the report from the Office of the Chief Justice to fill a vacancy of an IEC Commissioner], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Transport, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill: feedback on matters of 22 March 2022 and presentation on the updated list of amendments; Deliberations on the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill: final consideration of updated list of amendments; Briefing by the Department of Transport on the Protocols relating to the Amendments to Articles 50(a) and 56 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, tabled in terms of Section 231(2) of the Constitution, 1996], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department on the Report back on the outcomes of COP26, i.e., the Glasgow Climate Pact and the implications for South Africa and preparation for COP27; Briefing by the Department on the details of the US$8.5 billion climate partnership fund for just energy transition], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Public Enterprises relating to the disposal of the majority of the Government's shareholding in SAA, the Annual Report of SAA and the financial statement], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the National Youth Development Agency on Annual Performance Plan of the National Youth Development Agency for 2022/23], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
WEDNESDAY, 11 MAY 2022
Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by SASRIA 2022 Second Adjustment Appropriation (2021/22 financial year)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [Presentation by the Parliamentary Legal Adviser and State Law Adviser on the A-List of the Expropriation Bill [B23-2020]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Response by National Treasury to the submissions received during the public hearings on the Financial Sector and Deposit Insurance Levies Bill [B3 – 2022] and the Financial Sector and Deposit Insurance Levies (Administration) and Deposit Insurance Premiums Bill [B4 – 2022]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on submissions received wrt the Copyright Amendment Bill ], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:30
Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Findings of the SAPS Organisational Climate Survey, including issues of promotions and Psychological support to members.], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and Council on Higher Education (CHE) on the questioned accreditation status of some higher education qualifications offered by the institution; Consideration of minutes and reports], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Legal Advisor on the Foster Care related clauses to be considered by the Committee a way forward; Deliberations and inputs on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020] (clause by clause); Consideration and adoption of the report on the Annual Performance Plans and budget vote of DSD and its entities], Committee Room 6047, 6th Floor, 90 Plein Street Building, Parliament, 09:30-14:30
Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, (National Assembly), [Briefing by DMV on its Annual Performance Plan and Budget for 2022/23 and Responses to the AGSA Report on the Status of Records Review; Briefing by Castle Control Board on its Annual Performance Plan and Budget for 2022/23; Consideration and adoption of outstanding Minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00
Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises and Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communication, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Public Enterprises on its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan for 2022/23], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:30
THURSDAY, 12 MAY 2022
Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [NCACC 2021 Fourth Quarterly Report and 2021 Annual Report; Update on court case by Open Secrets and Amnesty International; Consideration of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:15-21:00
FRIDAY, 13 MAY 2022
Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on / consideration of the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection A/Bs ; Consideration of the process regarding the appointment of the NLC Chairperson], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, (National Assembly), [Workshop on the Climate Change Bill [B9-2022]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-15:00
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of the budget vote report of the Department of Home Affairs; Further responses by the DHA and Electoral Commission on the public participation report and Constitutional aspects of the Electoral Amendment Bill [B 1 – 2022]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 14:00-16:00
Committees provide a platform for the public to present views directly to MPs. Share your thoughts, on the ground experience and expert information with the relevant committees. Critically, what questions should MPs pose to the Executive as they conduct their oversight work? Write to a Parliamentary Committee.
*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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