The Week Ahead: Parliament resumes & Election of Speaker

16 Aug 2021 (1 month, 1 week ago)

parli resumes

Parliament resumes this week for the third term after a lengthy winter constituency period.

The virtual/hybrid Parliament will continue for another term, with some MPs working from the precinct and others remotely.

According to the latest timetable, the term will run for 7 weeks.

Some of the highlights include committee meetings; parliamentary inquiries on the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng; oral and written questions to the Executive; a sectoral Parliament; important debates and appointments.

MPs are expected to do some heavy legislative lifting as there are over 45 bills before the legislature. The bills cover an array of issues, including gender-based violence, gas, taxes, copyright, petroleum resources, state liability, employment equity, pension funds, children’s rights, land expropriation, social assistance, health insurance and more.

In addition, scrutiny of government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue. MPs will use a range of oversight tools to get answers. We have consolidated our reports on the COVID-19 related meetings here.

That said, the timetable is fluid and can be overtaken by unscheduled debates, statements and events.

President Ramaphosa’s recent Cabinet changes have impacted Parliament. The Speaker of the National Assembly, 3 Committee Chairpersons and two other MPs have joined the Executive and these vacancies need to be filled. Meet the new Cabinet here.

The National Assembly has provisionally scheduled a sitting – on Thursday - to elect a new Speaker. The Speaker plays an essential role in ensuring a vibrant and healthy parliamentary democracy.

The ANC parliamentary caucus has announced Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as its preferred candidate for the position.

Read: Nomination and Election of Speaker and The role of the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Oversight visits provide Committees with an opportunity to assess progress made and test the authenticity of the information provided by government entities. According to Parliament, “the NCOP’s oversight programme will focus on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and assess the impact of recent riots, looting and destruction of property. The Select Committee on Health together with the Select Committee on Social Services will from Tuesday to Thursday visit the Free State Province to be briefed by the Department of Health on mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture will on Wednesday and Thursday visit schools in Northern Cape”.

Beyond this, nation-wide public hearings on the Expropriation Bill continue this week (19-22 August). Hearings will take place in Northern Cape. This is the penultimate provincial stop. Follow here.

On Friday, Parliament will host a Women’s Charter event. The theme is: “Setting a 25-year vision and agenda to advance women’s equality, growth and development”. For the past 2 years, a dedicated team embarked on nationwide sessions aimed at taking stock of progress made in implementing the articles of the 1994 Women’s Charter for Effective Equality and assess its impact since the advent of freedom and democracy.

There is plenty of interesting action in Committee-land. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury and SARS on the Taxation Laws Amendment, Tax Administration Laws Amendment and the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bills], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00

Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of the Committee 3rd term programme for 2021; Discussions on the public participation processes relating to the Gas Amendment Bill [B9 – 2021]; Update by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on the licensing regime (both Minerals and Energy), especially the South African Mineral Resources Administration System (SAMRAD)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Health: Mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; Consideration and Adoption of Committees 3rd term programme; Consideration and Adoption of Committee Minutes; Consideration and Adoption of DOH Budget Vote Report; Consideration and Adoption of DSD Budget Vote Report], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, (National Assembly), [Consideration and Adoption of Draft Minutes and Draft Reports; Briefing by the Department of Basic Education on: Gender Responsive Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing Framework as per established task team; Gender Based Violence programs as implemented in the 75 education districts; The girls’ and boys’ movement for prevention of violence; How DBE is dealing with Sexual harassment at schools and issues of misconduct by Educators / Officials in respect of GBV], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-12:30

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Hearing on the annual report and financial statements of the South African Post Office SOC Limited (SAPO), for the financial year 2019/20, as well as irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:30

Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Health on the cost of air pollution in South Africa; Briefing by ESKOM on their non-compliance with the environmental laws; Briefing by SASOL on their non-compliance with the environmental laws], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-14:00

Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Adoption of oversight report to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces; Adoption of Terms of Reference for the Parliamentary Inquiry into the serious lapses in the ability and capacity of the policing services, to deal with the violence and unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces during July 2021; Presentation: Follow- up meeting with IPID and SAPS on the Discipline Management], Virtual Meeting Platform, 13:00-17:00

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Portfolio Committee on Communications, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and its entities on its 2020/21 Third and Fourth Quarter Performance and Expenditure Report; Briefing by ICASA on its Spectrum Auction Process and Municipal Elections Broadcasts and Political Advertisements Amendment Regulations 2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the submissions received wrt the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Council of Provinces), [Virtual oversight meeting focusing on in-year monitoring expenditure of HIV & AIDS (Life Skills Education) Grant and Learners with Profound Intellectual Disabilities Grant for the 2020/21 financial year], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-17:00

Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Deliberations and adoption of the committee report on the national public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020]; Consideration and adoption 3rd Term Committee programme; Adoption of outstanding reports and minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Council of Provinces), [Virtual oversight meeting focusing on in-year monitoring expenditure of HIV & AIDS (Life Skills Education) Grant and Learners with Profound Intellectual Disabilities Grant for the 2020/21 financial year], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-17:00

Friday, 20 August 2021

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the submissions received wrt the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, (National Assembly), [Colloquium on Institutional Autonomy in South African Universities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-16:00

Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Secretary to Parliament on the institution’s performance in the first quarter of 2020/21; Briefing on Parliament’s revised 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan; Briefing on Parliament’s 2022/23 draft annual performance plan and budget; Consideration of committee minutes: 28 May 2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:30-15:30

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?

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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