South Africa


The Week: National Assembly to debate the sorry state of SAA

The Week: National Assembly to debate the sorry state of SAA
The Houses of Parliament in Cape Town. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

In the remaining days, lawmakers are scheduled to have debates, pass the amended budget, vote on several Bills, scrutinise and question the Executive, discuss the legislature’s programme, adopt new rules, conduct oversight visits, consider statutory instruments and appointments as well as finalise assorted committee reports.

In the National Assembly chamber, the major point of interest will come from the high-profile urgent debate on the state of SAA. The rules make it possible for individual members to request the Speaker to allow discussion of matters they consider of sufficient immediate public importance to take precedence over other programmed business in certain circumstances. The IFP Chief Whip, Narend Singh, made the request following the recent strike at the national carrier. SAA is facing several other challenges: it failed to submit annual reports for the past two financial years and there is mounting pressure that it be placed under business rescue.

The other plenary highlight is the scheduled Question Time with select ministers in the Governance Cluster. In practice, Question period 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. For the latter, it is a chance to confront the government for its actions and to highlight perceived inadequacies.

Read the questions here

Beyond this, legislators will vote on three Money Bills and recommend a candidate for appointment to the Public Service Commission.

After a low-key week, the NCOP chamber has arranged two sittings.

In Wednesday’s plenary, select Ministers in the Economic Cluster (clusters 4B and 4D) will be probed on a variety of issues during their Question Time sessions- everything from specific performance to governance matters and big-picture policy will be under the microscope.

In addition, permanent delegates are set to pass the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill. The Bill allocates resources to the three spheres of government and is a critical step in the budget process before national government, the nine provinces and 257 municipalities can determine their own budgets.

Tuesday’s agenda is more pedestrian: the NCOP is scheduled to consider the Provincial Week Report and Report on the section 139 intervention in Fetakgomo Tubase Local Municipality.

Away from Plein Street, the Portfolio Committee on Health will embark on the fifth leg of public hearings on the NHI Bill in the Eastern Cape. This will take place over four days and follows hearings in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwZulu-Natal.

View venues and times here

The Committee corridor is the site for several interesting meetings. Here is a run down of the highlights:

  • The Department of Home Affairs is experiencing high volumes at its offices resulting in long queues. According to the department, the long queues arise from unpredictable walk-ins experienced since June 2017 as a result of the discontinuation of the Saturday extended working hours. This is exacerbated by unstable systems and inefficient work processes. The Department will brief Parliament on the strategies to resolve the long queues. (Tuesday)

  • The Department of Basic Education will present its school readiness preparations for 2020. The presentation will focus on Admissions and Registrations, School Management Planning, Teacher Provisioning, Learning and Teaching Resources, Basic Infrastructure and School Transport. (Tuesday)

  • In 2018, Parliament took a resolution that the Department of Environmental Affairs should, as a matter of urgency, initiate a policy and legislative review of captive breeding of lions for hunting and lion bone trade, with a view to putting an end to this practice, and that the Minister of Environmental Affairs should submit quarterly reports to the Portfolio Committee on the progress of this policy and legislative review. In line with this, the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has invited the Department to update it on the implementation of the Resolution. (Tuesday)

  • A joint sub-committee will be established to deal with the filling of vacancies in the National Youth Development Agency. (Tuesday)

  • The Standing Committee on Finance will get a briefing on Transformation in the Financial Sector. (Tuesday)

  • The National Assembly Rules Committee will consider matters referred to the subcommittee. This includes developing rules under which the Head of Chapter Nine institution could be removed as well assorted technical amendments. (Tuesday)

  • The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services will deliberate on the candidates that will be appointed the next Deputy Public Protector. (Tuesday)

  • The Portfolio Committee on Police will get a progress report on the Internal Dockets Investigation. (Wednesday)

  • Denel, NDIC and the DCAC will brief MPs on the state of the defence Industry as well as DOD projects. (Wednesday)

  • There will be a joint meeting to get an update on South Africa’s readiness for the upcoming climate change conference. (Wednesday)

  • The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology will have a pre-parliamentary inquiry into the allegations of corruption, maladministration, nepotism and abuse of authority at the Tshwane University of Technology. (Wednesday)

  • The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services will deliberate on the removal of Adv. N Jiba and Adv. L Mrwebi from office. (Wednesday)

  • Scopa will tackle the financial stability as well as alleged wasteful, irregular expenditures at Transnet. (Wednesday)

  • The Joint Standing Committee on Defence will get a briefing on the  mandate, challenges and achievements, as well as the outcome of the Reserve Force Indaba. (Thursday)

  • In between, there will be a lot of legislating as MPs deal with the following Bills: Adjustments Appropriation Bill; Tax bills; Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill; Hydrographic Bill; Border Management Authority Bill; Defence Amendment Bill and Division of Revenue Amendment Bill.

View the full schedule here. DM

* 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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