There are several parliamentary mechanisms for achieving government accountability, one of which is the asking of oral questions in the House.
Question Time is used to ask a member of the executive about matters of concern relating to government policy and activities in their portfolio. 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.
Select Ministers in the Peace and Security Cluster will be probed on a range of topics during their session on Wednesday.
Legislation is the main focus during Tuesday’s sitting. Lawmakers will get an opportunity to make a dent in the legislative load when they consider the South African Postbank Limited Amendment Bill and the Repeal of the Transkeian Penal Code Bill. In addition, they will consider a request into extending the subject of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill.
There are two mini-plenaries scheduled on Thursday. They serve as breakaway sessions of the NA. According to the rules, any matter may be discussed or debated in a mini-plenary session. This mechanism provides an opportunity for the House to debate a particular topic without having to take a decision at the end of the debate.
Subject for discussion (Mr S Swart, ACDP): The implications of the declaration of a national state of disaster and the planned appointment of the Minister of Electricity as responses to the current energy crisis
Subject for discussion (Prince Z Burns-Ncamashe, ANC): Expanding domestic investment in infrastructure development to improve access to basic services for communities and the overall performance of the local economy as part of an inclusive growth and development
Draft Resolution (Mr A M Shaik Emam, NFP): Call for downgrading of the South African embassy in Israel until such time Israel respects the rights of Palestinians
Subject for discussion (Mr T Malatji, ANC): Upgrading informal settlements to create inclusive and sustainable human settlements in cities
Over in the NCOP, delegates will take part in a three-day annual strategic planning and review session. According to Parliament, “One of the key objectives of the strategic planning sessions is to assess the implementation of legislation adopted by Parliament, review key achievements and identify lessons learnt in the 6th term of Parliament. Furthermore, the sessions will take stock of what transpired in the 6th Parliament with the intention to better plan for the remainder of the term”.
Provincial public hearings on four bills will take place from 3-5 March:
Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and Environment: Climate Change Bill (KwaZulu-Natal)
Portfolio Committee on Transport: Railway Safety Bill (Northern Cape)
Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy: Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill (Eastern Cape)
Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (Free State)
It's a busy week in Committee-land, particularly on the legislative front, and there are some very big and serious issues in play. Here is a rundown of the highlights:
MONDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2023
Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, (National Assembly), Hearing: Day 50 – Ms Bianca Mvuyana to appear before the Committee], Hybrid (Committee Room M46 & Virtual Meeting Platform), 10:00-17:00
TUESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2023
Portfolio Committee on Transport, (National Assembly); [Briefing by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) on its 2021/22 Annual Report; Briefing by the Department of Transport together with SANRAL, on the Vala Zonke pothole fixing (road maintenance) programme] Marks Building, 5th Floor M514, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Government Printing Works (GPW) on their budget allocations for the 2022-23 financial year], Committee Room S12A, Ground Floor, NCOP Building, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Comminutions and Digital Technologies, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department on (i) overhaul of IT Systems at Postbank; (ii) measures in place to address Going Concerns in the Portfolio; and (iii) consequence management in the Portfolio; Briefing by Department on (i) progress made on outstanding criminal cases at SAPO; (ii) SAPO financial crisis; and (iii) the BBI and Sentech merger; Briefing by SAPO on progress made on implementation of the Post Office of Tomorrow; and (ii) status of SAPO outlets and operations], Virtual Meeting Platform & Marks Building, Second Floor M201, 9:00-13:00
Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations, Select Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by Financial and Fiscal Commission and Parliamentary Budget Office on the 2023 Budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
WEDNESDAY, 1 MARCH 2023
Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Public hearings on 2023 Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposals], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00 Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury on the 2023 Division of Revenue Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly) The hearing on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) annual report and financial statements for the financial year 2021/22, all investigations, as well as irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditures., M 314, Marks Building, 09:30-13:30
Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, (National Assembly), Hearing: Day 52 – Professor Madonsela to appear before the Committee], Hybrid (Committee Room M46 & Virtual Meeting Platform), 10:00-17:00
THURSDAY, 2 MARCH 2023 Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, (National Assembly), Hearing: Day 52 – Professor Madonsela to appear before the Committee], Hybrid (Committee Room M46 & Virtual Meeting Platform), 10:00-17:00
Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the SANDF and Armscor on initiatives to improve the availability of spares for prime-mission equipment; Briefing by the DOD on projects allocated to Armscor and the level of satisfaction with these projects, including services rendered by the Armscor Dockyard; Briefing by the Chief Reserves on activities, challenges and way ahead], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00
FRIDAY, 3 MARCH 2023
Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Update and progress made in the restoration of buildings affected by the 2 January 2022 fire on the parliamentary precinct and related matters: briefings by Parliament and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure; Parliament’s performance in the Third Quarter of 2022/23: briefing by the Secretary to Parliament], Virtual Meeting Platform, 08:00-13:00
Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Responses by National Treasury on submissions received during public hearings on the Fiscal framework and Revenue Proposals], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, (National Assembly), Hearing: Day 54 – Mr Rodney Mataboge to appear before the Committee], Hybrid (Committee Room M46 & Virtual Meeting Platform), 10:00-17:00
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 View the schedule page here.
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