The Week Ahead: 2024 SONA Debate

The main highlight is the joint debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Tuesday and Wednesday as well as the President’s response to the debate on Thursday.

This occasion is a highlight on the parliamentary calendar as all party leaders and heavyweight MPs take part.

The debate follows a predictable path: the opposition is critical of the President and governing party for failing to deliver on past SONA promises. In return, the governing party defends the President, the government's record, and proposals and points out weaknesses in the opposition.

Further, the debate is punctuated by jibes, rhetoric, heckling and points of order. Many of the speeches tend to depart from the purpose of the debate and at times, resemble a Comedy Central roast as speaker after speaker bears their political fangs.

With the 2024 elections in the background, we can expect MPs to use every possible parliamentary occasion - question time, Members’ statements, debates, whatever – to target hot-button election issues and try to score political points over their opponents.

Opposition parties were unimpressed with the speech and described it as uninspiring, misleading and empty promises.

The EFF boycotted SONA after their 6 MPs failed to have their suspensions from the House overturned by the Western Cape High Court. In a statement, the party said: “all EFF Members of Parliament will not participate in the 2024 SONA activities and programme, as these are undemocratic and unconstitutional and the so-called State of the Nation Address in 2024 is an extended caucus of the ANC”.

Provincial public hearings on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill [B40- 2023] continue this week.

There is a mixture of routine and important business in Committee-land. Here is a run-down of some of the most interesting meetings:


Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Deliberations on the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-16:00


Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of the Draft Committee Programme; Consideration and adoption of draft minutes; Tabling of CV’s of PANSALB Board candidates], Virtual Meeting Platform, 19:00


Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on: Annual Report 2021/22; Update on the implementation of the Werkmans Report; Update on funding of students at university and TVET colleges for the 2024 academic year; Update on state of governance and management; Progress in the implementation of the NSFAS student accommodation pilot project], Virtual Meeting Platform, 08:30-13:00

Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Police on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Amendment Bill [B21B-2023] S75; Committee consideration and adoption of the Divorce Amendment Bill [B22 – 2023] S75; Committee consideration and adoption of the Committee Report on the Divorce Amendment Bill [B22 – 2023] S75; Briefing by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill [B29B-2023] S75 and submissions received on the Bill; Committee deliberations on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill [B19B - 2020] S75], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the National Treasury on the 3rd quarter expenditure patterns of national departments and identified SOEs for the 2023/24 financial year; Adoption of the Committees draft programme for Term 1 of 2024; and Adoption of the Committees Annual report for 2023], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Responses by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on issues emanating from the Consolidated Provincial Public Hearings report on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23 – 2023]; Consideration and adoption of the Motion of Desirability (MoD) of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23 – 2023] and the National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill [B25 – 2023], respectively; Consideration and adoption of outstanding minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:30

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Update from the SIU and NPA on allegations of maladministration and corruption at the NLC; Formal consideration of the E and F Bills of the Copyright and the Performance Protection Amendment Bills], Committee Room M46, Ground Floor, Marks Building, Parliament, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, (National Assembly), [09:30-11:00: Briefing by the Department of Human Settlements on the White Paper on Human Settlements; 11:00-12:45: Briefing by the Department of Human Settlements on Accreditation Framework for Municipalities to Administer National Housing Programmes; 12:45-13:00: Consideration and adoption of minutes by the Committee], Committee Room S35, First Floor, NCOP Building, Parliament, 09:30-13:00

Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) on the Climate Change Bill [B9B-2022] (National Assembly – sec 76); Consideration and Adoption of Minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00


Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) on the 2023/24 First, Second and Third Quarter Expenditure and Performance Report; Briefing by the DSI, Human Sciences Resource Council (HSRC) and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) on the implementation of the Audit Action plans as agreed with the AGSA], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:30

Committees provide a platform for the public to present views directly to MPs. Share your thoughts, on-the-ground experience and expert information with 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.

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