The Week Ahead: Public hearings & Question Time

7 Mar 2022 (2 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Question Time is an established part of the parliamentary day and gives MPs an opportunity to question the Executive about matters for which they are responsible.

Question Time serves different objectives for governing party MPs and the opposition. In the case of the former, their questions are designed to give Ministers an opportunity to discuss the virtues of government policy and programmes. For the latter, it is a chance to confront government about its actions and to highlight perceived inadequacies.

For all its limitations, this is usually an occasion of heightened interest and can be revealing.

The Deputy President's oral question session - on Thursday - is the high point in the NCOP.

In line with the broad tasks delegated to the Deputy President, he will be probed on a range of topics, such as: addressing the decline in water quality; the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine; addressing criminal activities involving foreign nationals; finalising land claims process; the Moral Regeneration Movement and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

Over in the National Assembly, select Ministers in the Social Services Cluster will appear – on Wednesday – for their interrogation. Some of the standout questions are:

Mr C H M Sibisi (NFP) to ask the Minister of Basic Education: Given that education scholars estimate that South African pupils have lost around 80% of school time in 2020 and 50% in 2021 due to COVID-19, how does her department intend to recover the two years of disrupted learning?

Ms M D Hlengwa (IFP) to ask the Minister of Health:

Considering the dire need to address the shortage of nurses in the Republic, and that it has been reported in the media that there could potentially be a shortage of 34 000 nurses by 2025, what (a) urgent action is being taken by his department to fast-track the accreditation of provincial nursing colleges, as stated in his department’s 2020-21 annual report, and (b) timelines will be enforced to ensure that the accreditation of the specified colleges becomes a national priority?

Mr S S Zondo (IFP) to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation:

Whether, with reference to the additional R32,6 billion that has been earmarked in the Budget for financial support to current bursary holders and first-year students under the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and considering his announcement that more than 906 000 funding applications had been received for the 2022 application period, the cash injection will provide sufficient resources for all eligible students; if so, what (a) total amount of the R32,6 billion will be swallowed up by administration and staffing costs and (b) is the total percentage of the funding that will go into the students’ pockets?

The NCOP has arranged a Ministerial Briefing Session on Tuesday under the theme: Progress in Developing Integrated and Sustainable Human Settlements. These sessions are a permanent feature in the House’s programme and serve as a platform for both national and provincial perspectives on issues.

The Finance and Appropriations Committees – in both houses - are central in coordinating Parliament’s response to government’s budget and revenue proposals. The two finance committees are expected to finalise their reports on the Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposals this week. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Budget Office and Financial and Fiscal Commission will share their advice and analysis to lawmakers on the 2022 Division of Revenue Bill.

Gender matters will feature prominently in the main chambers. The National Assembly will mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday with a debate and on the following day, the NCOP will debate the 2021 Women’s Charter for Accelerated Development.

Thursday’s National Assembly sitting will be sombre as lawmakers offer condolences to two former colleagues, Mr Duma Moses Nkosi and Mme Maggie Tlou, who passed away recently.

View Plenary Programme

Beyond this, the spotlight will be on the provincial public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill. The first leg commences from Monday to Wednesday in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. The second leg moves to Mpumalanga and Northern Cape Province from Thursday to Sunday. Track the Bill

There’s lots of action in Committee-land. Here is a rundown of the highlights:

TUESDAY, 8 MARCH 2022

Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Consideration and adoption of committee report on the 2022 Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposals], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Comments by the Parliamentary Budget Office on the 2022 Division of Revenue Bill], Virtual Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Service on the recent High Court decision relating to the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP); Providing a clear way forward to the PCMRE, relating to its envisaged Inquiry, taking into consideration the recent court outcome]Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Response from the DTIC and Adv. vd Merwe on submissions received wrt the Copyright Amendment Bill [1]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (National Assembly), [Processing of Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill: An overview of the operational and regulatory environment for agricultural exports and marketing in South Africa by the DALRRD and NAMC], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Discussion and members input on the planning proposal financial oversight of State Security Agency], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Water and Sanitation on the Disciplinary cases and matters investigated by the department], 09:30-13:00

Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour, (National Council of Provinces), [Responses from Department of Employment and Labour on public hearing submissions on Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill [B 21B – 2020] (s75) (COIDA) and Employment Equity Amendment Bill [B 14B—2020] (s75)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00-19:00

WEDNESDAY, 9 MARCH 2022

Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [Consideration of the Expropriation Bill [B23-2020] clause by clause], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Comments by the Financial Fiscal Commission on the 2022 Division of Revenue Bill], Virtual Platform, 09:00-12:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of Draft Minutes and Draft Reports; Briefing on an Updated and Status Report on Migration of Early Childhood Development (ECD) by: Department of Basic Education (DBE); and Department of Social Development (DSD)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:30

Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Public Hearings on the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedure Amendment Bill [B25 – 2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements (National Assembly), [Workshop by the Department of Human Settlements on the Housing Consumer Protection Bill [B10 – 2021]; Consideration and adoption of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-12:30

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury on the blacklisting of companies that were implicated in malpractices or irregularities while doing business with government], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-12:30

Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Council of Provinces), [Presentation by the South African Police Service and the Civilian Secretariat for Police on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, 1998], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Denel on the status update on the challenges facing the company; Consideration and adoption of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00

THURSDAY, 10 MARCH 2022

Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by DOD on transformation, morale and discipline in the SANDF. Briefing by the Reserve Force Council and Reserve Force Command on challenges facing the Reserve Force. Adoption of the Annual Report of the Committee. Consideration of Minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

FRIDAY, 11 MARCH 2022

Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Public Hearings on the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedure Amendment Bill [B25 – 2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, (National Assembly), [Adoption of minutes of the previous meeting; Briefing on the Climate Change Bill [B9-2022]; Briefing on the First and Second Quarterly Performance Report for 2021/22 by the South African Weather Service (SAWS) and the South African National Parks (SANParks).], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-17:00

Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Consideration and adoption of committee minutes: 4 March 2022. Briefing by the Executive Authority and Minister of Finance on progress made as far as addressing concerns about the allocation of Parliaments budget (including a briefing by the Chairperson of Parmed Board on progress made in resolving the issues around Parmed liability)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:30-15:30

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 schedules 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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