The Week Ahead: Budget vote debates dominate the agenda

May 15, 2017 (2 months, 1 week ago)

For the past two weeks, Committees have been meeting with Departments and Entities to pore over their strategic and annual performance plans, budgets and performance targets in preparation for reports to be considered by the House.

The focus now shifts to the budget vote debates that commence tomorrow and run until 1 June. These debates happen in the mini-plenary sittings of the National Assembly, and are considered an alternative forum for debates. The days are also packed with press briefings as the Executive expand on their priorities. It is an exhausting time and will test the stamina of even the most hardworking MPs.

The Ministers for Health, Mineral Resources and Higher Education and Training will present their votes on Tuesday. They will be followed by the Minister of Home Affairs on Wednesday, and her colleagues in the Departments of Justice and Constitutional Development, Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on Thursday. The Ministers of Rural Development and Land Reform and Energy will get their turn on Friday. These speeches often produce interesting announcements and sound bites that are likely to create big headlines.

Over in the NCOP, the main (and only) business will be the week-long preliminary oversight visits by delegates to Xhariep District Municipality. This is part of Taking Parliament to the People, which is scheduled to take place in the third term. The programme brings together the National, Provincial, and Local spheres of government in order to address service delivery issues in the targeted area and is one of the vehicles used by the NCOP to conduct oversight over the Executive.

It’s a promising week in the committee corridor, with several interesting meetings in prospect. Here is a run down of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Police Committee will interrogate reports of interference in the work of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) by some members of the SAPS.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts will discuss with SASSA the current state of affairs regarding the extended contract with the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). Scopa has written to the Chief Justice about the Constitutional Court judgement on SASSA in relation to its contract with CPS and the processes of securing a new and valid contract. It wants to be provided with the names and contact details of the suitably qualified legal practitioners and technical experts who have been appointed to work, together with the Auditor-General of South Africa, as a panel to evaluate the implementation of grants during this 12-month period with the CPS contract.

MPs have a scheduled engagement with the South African Human Rights Commission to discuss the following Report: “Report on the National Investigative Hearing into the Impact of Protest Related Action on the Right to a Basic Education in South Africa”.

On Wednesday, lawmakers will interrogate the SABC on irregular expenditure and other related matters. Also on the same day, the finance committee will meet with the embattled state carrier -South African Airways (SAA).

In between, committees will discuss the Draft Copyright Bill, Draft Performers Protection Bill and 2017 Appropriation Bill.

See the full meeting list schedule here.

See the full budget debate schedule below: *Note that Programme is subject to change without prior notification.

TUESDAY, 16 MAY: 14:00 – ±16:00 Debate on Vote 30: Science and Technology (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 11: Public Works (OAC) Debate on Vote 7: National Treasury (State Security) (E249)
16:15 – ±18:15 Debate on Vote 15: Higher Education and Training (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 16: Health (OAC)
Debate on Vote 29: Mineral Resources (E249)

WEDNESDAY, 17 MAY: 14:00 – ±16:00 Debate on Vote 8: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 18: Correctional Services (E249) 16:15 – ±18:15 Debate on Vote 22: Office of the Chief Justice and Judicial Administration (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 5: Home Affairs (OAC)

THURSDAY, 18 MAY: 14:00 – ±16:00 Debate on Vote 38: Human Settlements (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 31: Small Business Development (OAC) Debate on Vote 12: Statistics South Africa (E249) 16:15 – ±18:15 Debate on Vote 4: Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 21: Justice and Constitutional Development (OAC

FRIDAY, 19 MAY: 10:00 – ±12:00 Debate on Vote 39: Rural Development and Land Reform (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 26: Energy (OAC)

TUESDAY, 23 MAY: 14:00 – ±16:00 Debate on Vote 34: Trade and Industry (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 33: Tourism (OAC) Debate on Vote 7: National Treasury (E249)
16:15 – ±18:15 Debate on Vote 35: Transport (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 23 & 20: Police & Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) (OAC)
Debate on Vote 37: Arts and Culture (E249)

WEDNESDAY, 24 MAY 14:00 – ±16:00 Debate on Vote 24: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 14: Basic Education (OAC) Debate on Vote 32: Telecommunications and Postal Services (E249) 16:15 – ±18:15 Debate on Vote 28: Labour (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 10: Public Service and Administration (OAC) Debate on Vote 13: Women (E249)

THURSDAY, 25 MAY 14:00 – ±16:00 Debate on Vote 19: Defence and Military Veterans (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 9: Public Enterprises (OAC) Debate on Vote 6: International Relations and Cooperation (E249) 16:15 – ±18:15 Debate on Vote 25: Economic Development (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 17: Social Development (OAC) Debate on Vote 27: Environmental Affairs (E249)

FRIDAY, 26 MAY 0:00 – ±12:00 Debate on Vote 40: Sport and Recreation South Africa (NA Chamber) Debate on Vote 36: Water and Sanitation (OAC) Debate on Vote 3: Communications (E249)

TUESDAY, 30 MAY 14:00 –±18:30 Plenary - Debate on Vote 2: Parliament (215) (p)

WEDNESDAY, 31 MAY: 14:00 –±20:00 Plenary - Debate on Vote 1: Presidency (266) (p)

THURSDAY, 1 JUNE: 14:00 Plenary - Resumption of debate on Vote 1: The Presidency (Reply by President) (p)

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