The Week Ahead: Another showdown in Parliament

Sept. 15, 2014 (5 years, 10 months ago)

Another week and another showdown is looming in Parliament. Last week, five opposition parties (DA, EFF, COPE, UDM and FF+) tabled a motion of no confidence in the Speaker of Parliament. They accused her, amongst other things, of being partisan and stifling criticism of the executive arm of government. The ANC has rallied behind the Speaker and expressed confidence in her. The National Assembly has set aside time in its programme to debate the motion on Tuesday.

Also in the spotlight is the President’s response to the Public Protector’s Report as well as the incident involving the EFF, which resulted in the suspension of the National Assembly. The legislature appointed a committee to review the EFFs conduct and recommend possible disciplinary action in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act. The sanctions under section 12 of the Act range from a formal warning to a suspension, with or without remuneration, for a period not exceeding 30 days. In its last meeting, the committee agreed to appoint employment law specialist Randall van Voore to be the initiator. He will formulate the charges against the EFF members for disrupting proceedings. The next meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday and will not be open to the public.

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma submitted the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) final report into the security upgrades to his private residence in Nkandla as well as his reply to the Public Protector’s letter to Parliament last week. The Ad hoc committee tasked with the matter is expected to continue its work after electing a chairperson and finalising its terms of reference last week. The committee has until the end of October to finalise its work but will be hard pressed to meet this deadline given the amount of reports involved and that Parliament will take a three week recess break in two weeks time.

Although overshadowed, there are other important plenary sittings scheduled for this week. This includes appearances by the Deputy President and Ministers in the Economic Cluster, who will answer oral questions in the National Assembly, while the Ministers in the Social Services Cluster will do the same in the NCOP. There will also be a joint plenary to debate Heritage Day on Thursday. The debate will be held under the theme: RECLAIMING, RESTORING AND CELEBRATING OUR LIVING HERITAGE.

There are many parliamentary committee meetings planned for the week. Here are some of the highlights:

On Tuesday, a Joint Meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Select Committee on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations and the Select Committee on Appropriations will have a workshop with the Financial and Fiscal commission and National Treasury on the processing of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).

On the same day, the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will get a briefing on progress made on the Integrated Urban Development Plan and the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services will discuss the Inter-sectoral Implementation of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and related matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No 32 of 2007).

On Wednesday, MPs will get a briefing by the Department of Correctional Services on challenges experienced in its delivery of Rehabilitation and Reintegration programmes/services.

In addition, the Portfolio Committee on Labour will continue its workshop on the National Minimum Wage and the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform will get a presentation on the State Land Audit and public land management in South Africa, focusing on the following: Completion of a survey and a comprehensive national database of all land under the National Government; State land available for land reform by provinces, and mechanisms to fast track the release of state land for land reform and settlement of land claims on state land; Report on state land released for redistribution and transferred under restitution by province, 1994 to date.

The Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests will table and adopt the 2014 Register of Members’ Interest.

On the legislative side, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will brief MPs on the progress made in addressing the Constitutional Court Judgement regarding Section 2 and 3 of the Performing Animals Protection Act, 1935 (Act No 24 of 1935).

The Standing Committee on Finance will meet to consider and adopt the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) Amendment Bill [B2-2014].

There will be a briefing by Mr Narend Singh (IFP MP) and the Department of Health on the Medical Innovation Bill.

The Rental Housing Amendment Bill [B 56D – 2013] will be considered by the National Assembly this week.

Get the full schedule here.


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