The Week Ahead: Debates, Question Time & Committees…

There's both high policy and low politics on display in the main chambers this week, with appearances by the deputy president and ministers in the economic cluster (combining both of the above, no doubt).

Beyond this, there is plenty of scope for party battles when lawmakers debate a number of bread and butter issues: student fees crisis in South Africa, the treatment of farm workers, the impact of pro-poor programmes in enhancing the performance of basic education and the rape of learners.

Lawmakers will probe the leader of government business on a range of issues including the nuclear deal, implementation of a national minimum wage and fronting by companies.

Ministerial question time will be interesting for two reasons:

  1. There has been plenty of debate recently about the ongoing poor attendance of Ministers. Last week, the Deputy President gave an assurance that this issue was being taken seriously and attendance would improve. Many will be keeping an eye to see if he has cracked the whip.

  2. Fireworks are expected as many questions touch on specific scandals and high-temperature business. The Minister of Mineral Resources will, no doubt, be reminded about his department's blunder from last week when it issued a misleading statement that caused confusion and had to be rectified by the Presidency.

We can expect more headlines when the ad hoc committee tasked with finding the new public protector tables its report in the House. The multi-party committee nominated Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane to fill the post. In terms of the law, the recommended candidate must get the support of 60% members of the National Assembly. The vote will be a formality as all parties (except for the DA) have expressed support for the nominee. MPs will get a second chance to recommend persons for appointment to the Information Regulator. Last term, during a vote in the National Assembly, only 198 MPs voted in favour of appointing Tlakula and the board, while 59 voted against it. 201 Members had to vote in favour for the appointments to be approved by the National Assembly and sent to the President.

Elsewhere, other plenary highlights include legislative business, motions and statements.

View the full plenary programme here.

There is a lot of significant action in the committee corridor this week. Here is a rundown of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will brief MPs on South Africa’s socio-economic issues.

On the same day, there is a joint briefing of the Standing and Select Committees on Appropriations by the Financial and Fiscal Commission on their 2017- 18 Submission on the Division of Revenue.

Also on the agenda are engagements on procurement, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act, Mining Charter uplifting economically depressed mining villages, Urban Settlements Development Grant and informal Settlements upgrading.

There's some high-powered law-making to be done this week - on administrative adjudication of road traffic offences, unemployment insurance, plant improvement, plant breeders and financial sector regulation.

On Wednesday, the Department of Mineral Resources will brief legislators on the recommendations of the Farlam Commission and the steps taken by the department to deal with the findings.

Denel and National Treasury have been involved in a public spat concerning the establishment of Denel Asia. The matter will come to the fore when MPs are briefed by the board of Denel, National Treasury, Department of Public Enterprises and members of the former board of Denel on the topic.

Other noteworthy meetings include discussions on the impact of climate change on water and sanitation, the current political situation in Palestine/Israel and the review of the age of criminal capacity.

You can find the full list of meetings here.

Here we go again. Nehawu-affiliated workers in Parliament have threatened to go on strike. The programme will be impacted if they follow up on this promise.


Keep comments free of racism, sexism, homophobia and abusive language. People's Assembly reserves the right to delete and edit comments

(For newest comments first please choose 'Newest' from the 'Sort by' dropdown below.)