The Week Ahead: President and Parliament’s Budget Vote Debates Take Centre Stage

6 Jun 2022 (1 month ago)

In the National Assembly, the main plenary event will be the debate on the Presidency's budget vote scheduled on Thursday and the President’s reply a day later.

The Constitution confers on the Presidency the responsibility of leading a capable developmental state. A capable state is well-run and well-managed, with clear lines of responsibility and accountability.

In their speeches, the President and Deputy President will talk about the Presidency’s budget and priority areas: accelerating economic recovery; government’s response to the recent floods; fighting corruption and strengthening the state. There should also be updates on special projects, and government's efforts to stabilise SOEs and attract investment to the country.

The Project Management Office (PMO) in the Presidency supports the delivery of key strategic priorities from the centre of government. It works across government to ensure effective coordination where multiple departments and agencies are involved and provides implementation support where required. In addition to the Presidential Employment Stimulus, the PMO has been integral to the development of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.

As with previous occasions, this will be a robust encounter and all the heavy hitters (party leaders and senior MPs) will be fronting the debate. The President will have to defend a wide range of charges, such as the performance of departments and entities, accusations against various Cabinet Ministers, performance agreements between his office and Cabinet, the establishment and performance of various Advisory Councils and Commissions, the consolidation of government work in his office and the latest scandal surrounding the President.

One of the peculiarities of our parliamentary system is that there is no parliamentary committee that oversees the Presidency. According to the IFP, South Africa is unique among parliamentary democracies throughout the world and the party has repeatedly asked that this anomaly be corrected. Previously, the IFP leader has stated that “while the budgets of every government department are pored over and questioned before we come here to express our agreement or disapproval, the Presidency's budget is presented as a fait accompli, and we rise in this House with scant capacity to debate what is being spent, where it is being spent and how it is being spent”.

The other big highlight will be the debate on Parliament's budget (the NA and NCOP will be having separate debates), on Tuesday. In their speeches, the presiding officers are expected to underscore the role of Parliament in our democracy, talk about challenges facing the institution, highlight successes and give a progress update on the implementation of the institution’s strategic plan.

A major concern is that Parliament’s budget has been cut and this will affect its ability to conduct its oversight function and fill vacancies.

For their part, MPs are expected to complain about insufficient funding provided to political parties, inadequate facilities and support to MPs and poor replies to questions by the Executive, Another matter that will be raised sharply will be the about the impact of the fire and the findings of the Zondo Commission and how Parliament plans to deal with this.

Beyond this, Oral Questions to the Deputy President, legislation and committee reports top Wednesday’s plenary agenda in the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the NCOP holds nine policy debates on budget votes.

On Tuesday, after Parliament’s budget vote debate, three policy debates will take place: Policy debate on Budget Vote 11: Public Service and Administration; Policy debate on Budget Vote 7: National School of Government and Policy debate on Budget Vote 12: Public Service Commission.

Two policy debates are scheduled on Wednesday: Policy debate on Budget Vote 5: Home Affairs and Policy debate on Budget Vote 20: Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.

Delegates will conduct three policy debates on Thursday: Policy debate on Budget Vote 10: Public Enterprises; Policy debate on Budget Vote 22: Correctional Services and Policy debate on Budget Vote 25: Justice and Constitutional Development.

The week rounds off with the latest Women's Charter for Accelerated Development Report Back Session in the Gauteng province.

Legislation dominates the Committee corridor. Below is a rundown of the highlights:

TUESDAY, 7 JUNE 2022

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Parliamentary Legal Adviser on the Road Accident Fund litigation process to prevent the Auditor General of South Africa from publishing the audit report for 2020/21. The impact on the process for SCOPA to deal with the financial statement], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-10:00

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Update by Presidency on all reports referred by the SIU – how they have been processed, and DG Public Works DC], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Further deliberations on the Electoral Amendment Bill [B 1 – 2022]; Briefing by the Content Advisor and adoption of the Committee’s Annual Business Plan], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Adviser and State Law Adviser on the A- List of the Expropriation Bill [B23-2020]; Consideration and adoption of minutes of the previous meeting], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Public hearings on the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill [B41 – 2018] and the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill [B13 – 2020]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Communications, (National Assembly), [Briefing by ICASA on Spectrum Auction finalisation and future regulation; Briefing by USAASA/USAF on framework and timelines on all for current investigations and implementation dates for consequence management processes] Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Progress report by the Department of Traditional Affairs on the implementation of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act (establishment of the Council for Khoi-San matters, recognition of the leadership etc.], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the Gas Amendment Bill [B9-2021]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Council of Provinces), [Informal/ Provisional briefing by the Department of Health: The National Health Insurance Bill Sec 76, [B11-2019]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-12:30

Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Free State Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Law Enforcement Agencies on the Status of Criminal Cases that are opened in terms of Forensic Investigations in the Free State Municipalities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00

Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Tax Ombudsman, SARS and NT on Tax administration challenges], Virtual Meeting Platform, 17:00-20:00 (After Plenaries)

WEDNESDAY, 8 JUNE 2022

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Formal consideration of the C and D Bills of the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection A/Bs; Consideration of the first draft report on the Fourth Quarter financial and non-financial performance of the DTIC for the 2021/22 financial year] Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the DPWI on the progress regarding the Telkom Towers building project; Briefing by the DPWI on the Parliamentary Villages refurbishment project], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) on their Annual Report; and the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) on their latest quarterly report], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Presentation by the South African Police Service (SAPS): Follow-up meeting on the turnaround strategy of the Forensic Science Laboratory, including the implementation of the procurement of forensic consumables, maintenance of FSL machinery, the development of the Forensic Exhibit Management (FEM) system, replacement of the PCEM system and progress on litigation regarding FDA; Further deliberations on the South African Police Service on Crime Statistics for Fourth Quarter from January to March 2021/2022 financial year], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00:13:00

Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Progress report from the Department of Cooperative Governance on implementation of the recommendations in the State of Local Governance report of report of August 2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by SIU on investigations and the briefing by Auditor-General on the 2020/21 financial statements of the Department of Water and Sanitation], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Health, (National Assembly), [Clause by clause deliberations on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill. Consideration and adoption of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, (National Assembly), [Briefing on the Public Administration Laws General Amendment Bill [B 16 2021] by Dr LA Schreiber, MP; Briefing by the Presidency Socio Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) Unit in the Presidency on the inputs regarding the Public Administration Laws General Amendment Bill; Briefing by the Department of Public Service and Administration on the Public Service Amendment Bill; Briefing by the Public Service Commission on the Public Service Commission Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00

FRIDAY, 10 JUNE 2022

Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) on the Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Institutional Landscape (HESTILL) Review Report], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Committees provide a platform for the public to present views directly to MPs. Share your thoughts, 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? Write to a Parliamentary Committee

View Parliament's schedule page here. View the Provincial Legislature's Schedule 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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