The Week Ahead: President Ramaphosa’s Question Session

29 Aug 2022 (1 month ago)

The President's oral question session - on Tuesday - is the high point of the parliamentary week. The President is required to answer up to six questions of national or international importance once per term in accordance with the annual parliamentary programme. Four supplementary questions, arising from the reply to a question, are allowed during the three-hour slot. This engagement is one of the ways in which Parliament holds the President accountable. It is also an opportunity for legislators to interact directly with the President.

The questions cover a range of matters including Eskom, illegal immigration, the Phala Phala matter and gender-based violence.

View the questions here

The President will make two appearances this term. The additional appearance - scheduled for 29 September – will make up for missing his question period in term two.

This will be the President’s first appearance since June when opposition parties tried to prevent him from tabling the Presidency budget, citing the criminal investigation into the robbery at his Phala Phala farm.

Since then, following a motion by the ATM, Parliament has initiated an enquiry into the removal of President Ramaphosa from Office on specific charges. This includes referring the motion to an independent panel to conduct a preliminary assessment on whether sufficient evidence exists to show the President committed any of the violations specified in the motion.

Political parties have until 1 September to nominate candidates to serve on the Panel. This is the background against which the week's parliamentary action will unfold.

Nothing energises MPs like the prospect of a challenge to the President so we can expect another robust session.

Wednesday’s debate to commemorate National Women's Day is another point of interest. This is a standing item on the parliamentary programme and is held every year. The 2022 theme is: Debate on National Women’s Day: “Women’s socio-economic rights, empowerment and resilience”. On the same day, select ministers in the Peace and Security Cluster will be in the spotlight when they answer oral questions.

On Thursday, the main plenary highlight is the urgent debate on a matter of national public importance: “The economic impact of theft and vandalism of public infrastructure”. The debate is sponsored by the DA. According to the party, theft and vandalism of public infrastructure costs State-owned enterprises (SOEs) R7 billion each year, and results in R187 billion in economic losses to our country. The DA says it will use the debate “to call for national government to join our local governments’ efforts to address and eradicate this scourge. We have a number of interventions that will ensure the safeguarding of public infrastructure and will help right our economy”.

At the same sitting, legislators will consider the Performer’s Protection Amendment Bill and the Copyright Amendment Bill.

Over in the NCOP, there will be a Ministerial Briefing Session on Tuesday. The focus is on measures to mitigate against fiscal leakages and their impact on service delivery.

Ministerial Briefing Sessions are a regular feature of the NCOP’s programme. They serve as a platform for the Executive and provinces to discuss and highlight national and provincial perspectives on issues. The Ministers of Finance and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will be in attendance.

Delegates will debate the socio-economic impact and threat of the production and trade in counterfeit products under the theme: “Waging a concerted battle against the production and distribution of counterfeit products” during Thursday’s sitting. The agenda also includes consideration of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill.

Elsewhere, Parliament’s delegation to the Pan African Parliament will continue participating in that body’s Committee Sessions which run until 8 September. Below are the highlights in the Committee Corridor:

TUESDAY, 30 AUGUST 2022

Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [Final consideration of the Expropriation Bill [B23-2020] A – List], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of the interim report to the NA on the Electoral Amendment Bill; Briefing by the Electoral Commission (IEC) on the Electoral Integrity report; Briefing by the Commission for Gender Equality on Report on Elections and Gender Mainstreaming: Assessing gender issues and women’s representation in South Africa’s 2019 Elections; Briefing by the Commission for Gender Equality on Report on balancing the scales: Reviewing development in women’s representation in Politics and Government between the 2014 and 2019 Elections], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the MACUA and WAMUA on their 2022 Social Labour Plan (SLP) Audit Report; Briefing by the MACUA and WAMUA on their views relating to the High Court outcomes of the Mining Charter; Briefing by the MACUA and WAMUA on illegal mining;], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Transport, (National Assembly), [Response by the Department of Transport on the written and oral submissions on the Railway Safety Bill [B 7-2021]; Briefing by the Department of Transport on the Putco bus contract; Briefing by the Department of Transport on the Rail White Paper], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, (National Assembly), [Consideration and Adoption of Draft Minutes and Draft Reports; Possible consideration of Written Submissions; Adoption of Draft Report on DBE Fourth Quarter 2021/22; Updated Status Report on Early Childhood Development (ECD) Function Shift – Challenges and Mitigations ( Joint with PC on Social Development)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-12:30

Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Council of Provinces), [Progress Report on the implementation of the child Support Grant (top-up) for orphans in the care of relatives: Briefing by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-12:30

WEDNESDAY, 31 AUGUST 2022

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises and Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), Meeting with Eskom on: Finalisation of the Koeberg oversight visit and related matters; Update on developments at Eskom], Virtual Meeting Platform, 11:10-13:30

Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury on the General Laws Amendment Bill (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Adoption of the Committee Report on the Regulations of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, 2019 (Act No 8 of 2019); Introduction of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill [B15-2022] by the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS); Briefing on Public submissions on the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill [B15-2022]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Human Settlements and the provincial departments on plans to remove asbestos roofs, to eradicate mud houses and to unblock blocked projects in the following provinces: Eastern Cape Province; Free State Province; Gauteng Province;], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Engagement with the downstream sugar industry on possibilities and challenges to sugar beneficiation (Food and Beverages Sectors)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the Land Court Bill; Briefing by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the International Convention on the suppression of Apartheid; Briefing by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance], Virtual meeting Platform, 09:30

Portfolio Committee on Health, (National Assembly), [Clause by clause deliberations on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill], Venue to be confirmed, 09:30-13:00

THURSDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2022

Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the NCACC on its first and second quarterly reports (if available); Update on Open Secrets and the Southern African Litigation Centre court case, and possible demonstration of the new IT system; Consideration and Adoption of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

FRIDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2022 Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Consideration of petition by Ms R.M.M Lesoma on behalf of the shack dwellers in Khayelitsha, Sub-council Ward 10, calling on the assembly to investigate service delivery, better clean living conditions, access to water, toilets, and better shelter in their area (ATC 11 December 2020)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:30 Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Department of Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), and National Treasury’s Executive Leadership on the progress made regarding the devolution of the infrastructure maintenance function from DPWI to the SANDF], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing on Parliament’s performance in the first quarter 2022/23], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:30-15:00

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 the schedule page here. View the Provincial Legislature 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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