The Week Ahead: President & Committee Meetings take centre stage

Aug. 24, 2020 (4 weeks, 1 day ago)

This-week-ahead

An eclectic week of parliamentary action beckons in the main chambers and Committee Corridor.

A combination of Question Time sessions, a sectoral parliament, a debate, legislative business and several high-profile Committee meetings, should mean plenty of fizz.

In addition, NCOP delegates return to Parliament this week for the third term.

One of the plenary highlights is Tuesday’s scheduled debate on the phased-in approach to the reopening of schools by the Department of Basic Education. This topic has been hotly debated in the public sphere for months (both domestically and internationally) with dissenting views on whether to support this decision. This debate is timely as most grades return to school this week. Concerns have been raised about the shortage of classrooms, teachers and if hygiene standards can be met. Addressing the NCOP in June, the Minister stated: “Our approach to gradually reopen our schools was guided by the reality that our schools offer more than just learning. We are centres of health, hygiene, and nutrition”. She added: “We are not reopening our schools at all costs. We will do this while implementing our compulsory additional measures to combat and manage the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic”. On the same day, lawmakers will consider and adopt the Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill.

Beyond this, Select Ministers in the Economic cluster will answer oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday. Everything from specific performance to governance matters and big-picture policy will be under the microscope.

The President's oral question session on Thursday is the high point of this parliamentary week. President Ramaphosa will be probed on 6 main and supplementary questions that cover an array of issues including corruption, COVID-19, government debt and gender-based violence. Read the questions here

Elsewhere, the NCOP has arranged a Ministerial Briefing Session on Interventions to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. The NCOP has hosted similar events in the past and they are intended to be a platform for Ministers to brief all members of the NCOP on the work of government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Further, the NCOP believes, as the custodian of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations, it has a critical role to scrutinize the efficacy and effectiveness of coordination and co-operation between the three spheres of government in relations to the interventions that are geared towards the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, a Women’s Charter Review Session has been scheduled for delegates.

The week rounds off with a Women’s Parliament under the theme “Generation Equality: Advancing our collective efforts to end gender-based-violence and feminine (GBVF)”. According to Parliament, “the 2020 Women’s Parliament will create a platform for report-back on progress made in implementing executive undertakings and interventions initiated to respond to the scourge of GBVF and the Economic Exclusion of women. The session will cover the three tiers of government in order to provide a holistic and realistic picture on the impact of interventions across the country”.

The Committee corridor is packed with meetings. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (National Assembly), [Public Hearings on Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-17:30

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Parliamentary Budget Office on Zero-Based Budgeting (Pros and Cons with relevant examples)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the DTIC on the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills; Deliberations on the remitted Copyright and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills with specific reference to the procedural reservations; Consideration of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Special Investigating Unit, Auditor General and National Treasury on the investigation findings regarding the Beitbridge fencing by the Dept. of Public Works], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Consideration and Adoption of Draft Minutes and Draft Reports; Briefing by Department of Basic Education on the following: Amended School Calendar; Risk Adjusted Differentiated Approach; Risk Adjusted Differentiated Approach on Curriculum and Assessment; and Directions], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Private Members bill briefing by Hon Shivambu on the South African Reserve Bank Amendment bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill; Criminal and Related Matters Bill; Domestic Violence Amendment Bill; Adoption of report on the provisional suspension of Ms K Bodlani], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (National Assembly), [Public Hearings on Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-17:30

Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the SAPS and CSPS on the Gender–based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) related crimes; Briefing by the South African Police Service on the first Quarterly Report of the Crime Statistics for the 1 April -30 June 2020], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the remitted Copyright and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills with specific reference to the substantive reservations], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

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 board of Denel on governance and financial challenges facing the company], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Public Service and Administration on the e- government plan and implementation to transform government services into digitalize public service; Briefing by the DPSA on the disciplinary cases, number of suspended employees and cost of suspension of the public servants; Briefing by the PSC on the corruption cases reported on the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, success and challenges impacting on the possibility of closure of cases; Consideration and adoption of the previous Committee minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00

Constitutional Review Committee, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Consideration of matters recommended for consideration in Legacy Report of the 5th CRC Parliament Report; Briefing by Committee Stakeholders on the status and development of indigenous languages in line with the constitutional mandate of making them official languages; Briefing by the Equal Education on the review of section 100 of the Constitution, including the Parliamentary legal opinion in support of the submission made], Virtual Meeting Platform, 11:00

Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Social Development on its first term quarterly report on the financial and non-financial performance for 2020/21 financial year (April – June 2020); Briefing by the Department of Social Development on progress made to meet the North Gauteng High Court order on the backlog in the foster care system; Update on progress made to respond to Covid19 pandemic issues], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), Interviews: Information Regulator vacancy], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, [Briefing by the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities on the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide for the period 2020-2030], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00

Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Presentation by Minister of Defence & Military Veterans on Letter from the President on the extension of employment of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in support of South African Police Service (SAPS) to maintain law and order, support to other state departments and borderline control to combat the spread of COVID-19 in all nine provinces; briefing by Chief of the SANDF on border safeguarding and Operation Notlela; Briefing by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans on the outcome of the enquiry into the break-in and theft of assault rifles at the Lyttelton Military Base; Consideration and adoption of outstanding minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Friday, 28 August 2020

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (National Assembly), [Public Hearings on Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-17:30

Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the acting Secretary to Parliament on the institution’s performance in the first quarter of 2020/21; Briefing by the acting Secretary to Parliament on the institution’s draft 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan and budget; Adoption of minutes and reports], Virtual Meeting Platform, 14:00-18:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Correctional Services on measures to address irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure; Briefing by the Department of Correctional Services on standard operating procedures and Covid 19 related matters], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00

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?

We have consolidated our reports on the COVID-19 related meetings here.

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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