Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's budget speech on Wednesday will dominate the headlines this week. The Minister has a tough job to do as he seeks to address significant social challenges and reassure investors about the country’s growth prospects.
During his 2014 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement Speech, the Minister highlighted energy constraints, labour market disruptions, skills shortages, administrative shortcomings and difficulties in industrial transformation as some of the major impediments affecting the country.
Commentators expect the Minister to respond to these issues in his speech as well as deal with the following matters– the review of the tax system, the selling of non-strategic core assets, loan guarantees to Eskom and the public sector wage negotiations. The spending on Government’s infrastructure programme is also expected to feature quite strongly.
After a slow start to the year, the committee corridor is stacked with meetings this week, offering a blend of interesting and drab topics as well as some legislative meat. Here is a run down of the highlights:
On Tuesday, we get an opportunity to see the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence in action (all of its meetings are normally closed) as it shortlists candidates for the position of Inspector General of Intelligence. A recent media report has indicated that senior ANC MP Cecil Burgess could be in line for the post. This was one will be closely watched given then recent scandals associated with the intelligence community.
MPs will consider candidates for the filling of the vacancy at the Electoral Commission (IEC). This opening was brought about by the resignation of former IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula.
The Select Committee on Social Services has arranged a meeting with the Department of Human Settlements, Agencies and other stakeholders on the issues of waiting lists for allocation of housing and title deeds.
On Wednesday, there will be a briefing to MPs by the Task Team and Reference Group on implementation of the recommendations arising from the Ministerial Task Team Report for the Review of the Funding of Universities. Opportunities for SMMEs, Citizen-Based Monitoring and the performance of state-owned companies will also come to the fore in various committees.
On Thursday, there will be a Joint Meeting of the Select Committees on Finance and Appropriations and Standing Committees on Finance and Appropriations to receive a special briefing by the Minister of Finance on the 2015 Budget.
There's some genuine legislative meat for MPs to chew on as they deal with several pieces of legislation this week. These include the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill, Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill Maintenance Amendment Bill (public hearings), Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, Disaster Management Amendment Bill and Agrément South Africa Bill. The Appropriation Bill and the Fiscal Framework and of Division of Revenue Bill will be tabled together with the budget.
Click here for the full list of meetings.
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