The President's oral question session on Thursday is the high point of the parliamentary week. The President is required to answer questions of national or international importance once per term in accordance with the annual parliamentary programme. The questions are sifted and published beforehand to ensure that only those satisfying the set criteria are put to the President. Four supplementary questions, arising from the reply to a question, are allowed. This is President Ramaphosa's final question session in the National Assembly for 2021.
Over the years, questions have been raised about the form, frequency and effectiveness of these sessions. Some argue that it is a choreographed and ritualistic exercise that does little to hold the Executive to account. To support this view, they point to the number of questions allowed, the vetting process, the scripted response, the nature of questions asked, the long-winded statements camouflaged as questions and the poor responses. Others point out that even though it is not a perfect mechanism for Executive scrutiny, it can help to shape the public’s views and is an opportunity for the President to address specific concerns raised. The supplementary questions, in particular, show whether the President has a sound grasp of issues and is able to think on his feet. It is also a rare opportunity for legislators to interact directly with the President. For all its limitations, this is usually an occasion of heightened interest and can sometimes be revealing.
View the Questions here
Select Ministers in the Peace and Security will be quizzed on a range of issues during their Question Time Session on Wednesday. This will be followed by the consideration of the Standing Committee on Finance’s Report on the Revised Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposals.
During Tuesday’s plenary sitting, lawmakers will consider assorted committee reports, including on the Information Regulator vacancies.
The Ministerial Briefing Session on the Fiscal and Economic Impact of the July 2021 Public Violence, Looting and Destruction of Property is a highlight on the NCOP programme. In his MTBPS, the Minister of Finance indicated that government has provided an additional R48.9 billion in fiscal support due to the unrest that took place in July and the impact of the COVID19 lockdown.
Education will be in the spotlight during Thursday’s House sitting. The Ministers of Basic Education and Higher Education, Science and Innovation are scheduled to answer oral questions. Everything from specific programmes to big-picture policy to bread-and-butter issues and performance will be under the microscope.
The agenda for Wednesday’s sitting is varied, with delegates set to consider the Second Special Appropriation Bill, the Select Committee on Finance report on the Revised Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposals and hold a debate on positioning state owned enterprises as the main catalyst for growth and development in South Africa.
The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy is conducting nation-wide public hearings on the Gas Amendment Bill. The third stop is KwaZulu-Natal and hearings are scheduled for 26 and 27 November.
Meanwhile, public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill moves to Gauteng from 25-28 November.
Beyond this, Parliament and the United Nations Children’s Fund will co-host a webinar on Monday to discuss the role of the Legislature in ensuring government’s compliance and strengthening the national child rights governance system.
Read more about this event here
The NA Speaker and NCOP Chairperson will lead two delegations to the 143rd International Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Spain and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA-Africa Region) Conference in Kigali-Rwanda respectively.
It's another full week in the virtual Committee corridor. Here is a rundown of the highlights:
TUESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2021
Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Home Affairs on the Border Management Authority (BMA) rollout plan and funding; Consideration and adoption of the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report for 2021; Briefing by the Content Advisor on the Committee Resolution Tracking Mechanism], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Communications, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) on progress made in the implementation of Broadcast Digital Migration (BDM) policy; Adoption of the following Committee documents: Report recommending candidates for appointment to the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) Board; Report recommending a candidate for appointment to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board; Report recommending candidates for appointment to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Council; and Report on the World Radio Conference (WRC)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on the recent High Court Judgement on the Mining Charter], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report; Briefing by the Public Protector on an investigation into allegations of maladministration and improper conduct in connection with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into between the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Gauteng Horseracing Industry in 1997, which subsequently led to the corporatization of the horseracing industry in South Africa], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Hearing: ESKOM deviations, expansions, Annual Report, and investigations], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
WEDNESDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2021
Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) on Annual Report on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality; Briefing by the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) on Gender Transformation at Tertiary Institution 2019/20; Monitoring the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide: Briefing by the Department of Higher Education and Training on: Progress regarding the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on GBV and Femicide; The work of the Ministerial Task Team on GBV; Policy Framework and its implementation to address GBV in the PSET Sector; Budget allocation by both the DHET and PSET institutions towards GBV related interventions; Briefing by the South African Union of Students (SAUS) and South African Technical and Vocational Education and Training Students Association (SATVETSA) on GBV&F in the post-school education and training sector], Virtual Meeting Platform, 08:30-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on submission received wrt the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [Responses to the Expropriation Bill public inputs (Parliamentary Legal Adviser, Department of Public Works & Infrastructure and Office of the State Law Adviser)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Minister of the Department of Employment and Labour on the progress regarding the implementation of corrective measures at the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Compensation Fund], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
THURSDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2021
Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by National Treasury on the 2021 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill and 2021 Adjustments Appropriation Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 17:00-19:00 (After Plenary)
Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Operational status update: Update on the status of ongoing SANDF missions (Operations Prosper, Corona, Vikela, Copper and Mistral); Briefing by Netstar and Tracker on challenges faced with respect to vehicle smuggling along South Africa’s land borders and related co-operation with the SANDF deployed in those areas; Follow up matters arising from the past minutes; Consideration and Adoption of outstanding minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00
FRIDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2021
Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing on Parliament’s 2021/22 mid-year performance report; JSCFMP Strategic Planning Workshop: preparatory briefing by the Committee’s content adviser; Consideration of committee minutes and reports: 19 November 2021 & report on Parliament’s 2020/21 Annual Report], Virtual Meeting Platform, 13:00-15:30
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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