The Week Ahead: Budget Vote debates begin

10 May 2021 (1 month, 1 week ago)

week ahead budget

It’s the second week of budget-related meetings as Committees continue to interrogate departments and entities on their budgets, targets and priorities for the year ahead and finalise their ensuing reports to the House.

There is a common trend during the budget briefings: departments and entities complain about the impact of COVID-19 and budget cuts, which result in less money being available for core programmatic work, and ask for more money. In response, committees probe departments on whether they are working in a prudent manner with finances and prioritising spending in the right areas.

The focus also shifts to Budget Vote debates that commence on Thursday and run until 2 June 2021. These debates happen in the mini-plenary sittings of the National Assembly and are headlined by Ministers, their deputies, party leaders and senior MPs. The Budget vote debates provide an opportunity for MPs to discuss, and then formally adopt, the budgets of government departments and entities that are funded through a parliamentary vote.

Budget Vote debates schedule

Question Time is as an established part of the programme. It is one of the ways Parliament scrutinises the work of government and holds it accountable.

It is an opportunity for any lawmaker to directly question the Executive about matters for which they are responsible. Many of the questions touch on bread and butter issues and/or high-temperature business. An interesting part of the exercise is how the questions are structured as MPs simultaneously try to get their talking points across and ask a question. For all its limitations, this is usually an occasion of heightened interest and can be revealing.

The Deputy President will answer questions in the NA on Wednesday. Meanwhile, select Ministers in the Economics Cluster will be probed in the NCOP on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Beyond this, the National Assembly has arranged a debate – for Tuesday - on an urgent matter of national public importance. The debate is sponsored by Mr A Whitfield (DA) under the theme: “The unfolding DNA crisis at the South African Police Services”. At the same sitting, lawmakers will consider the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill.

The NCOP’s scheduled debate –on Thursday- should be spicy. The topic is on finding a lasting and sustainable solution to e-tolls in Gauteng.

On Friday, the Women’ Charter Review Findings will be tabled. A dedicated team embarked on nationwide sessions aimed at taking stock of progress made in implementing the articles of the 1994 Women’s Charter for Effective Equality and assess its impact since the advent of freedom and democracy.

There is plenty of interesting action in Committee-land, with a few Cabinet Ministers set to make appearances. Also, it's raining reports as Committees push to finalise their reports ahead of the Budget Vote Debates. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Engagement with the stakeholders within the sugar industry on the implementation of the masterplan; Formal consideration of the report on the remitted bills], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Comment by the Financial and Fiscal Commission on the Appropriation Bill [B4-2021] and the Special Appropriation Bill [B5-2021]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Virtual public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020] of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-18:30

Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Consideration and adoption of the Budget vote report on the Department of Home Affairs and entities, Briefing by the Department of Home Affairs, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the City of Cape Town and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on the progress on the issue of the protesting refugees in Cape Town.], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing and update by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure on developments investigations relating to the procurement and construction of the Beitbridge border fence and the Committee recommendations], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing by SIU on APP and Budget; Briefing by SAHRC on APP and Budget; Briefing by Information Regulator on APP and Budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30

Select Committee on Finance, (National Council of Provinces), [PBO briefing: “Progress on implementing the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan”], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Follow-up meeting with National Treasury, PIC, Sekunjalo Group and Mr Maponya], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00

Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by SALGA and Public hearings on the Division of Revenue Bill [B3-2021]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture, (National Assembly), [Report back by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on the outcomes of the AGM; QGM and resolution of matters pertaining to Chess SA and Cricket SA], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Communications, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on its 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan and Budget; Briefing by the South African Post Office (SAPO) on its 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan and Budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Virtual public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020] of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-18:30

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing by DCS on progress regarding the release of 19 000 offenders on parole to address COVID-19 and the capacity of Community Corrections to manage the additional numbers into their system; Briefing by DCS on alleged incidents of sexual conduct between inmates and officials and measures in place to address such incidents], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Briefing on Legal Aid South Africa and Promotion of Access to Information Act Regulations; Briefing on Judges Salaries and Chapter 9 Office Bearers], Virtual Meeting Platform, After Plenary

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by AG on the 2019/20 annual reports and financial statements of National Skills Fund, SITA, Compensation Fund, and UIF], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-14:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises and Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communications, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Public Enterprises on the annual performance plan and budget for 2021/22 financial year; Consideration and adoption of draft programme; Consideration and adoption of draft minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Virtual public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020] of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-18:30

Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) on the 2020 3rd & 4th Quarterly Report and the Annual Report; Briefing by the Department of Military Veterans on matters arising from the previous minutes; Adoption of Minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Friday, 14 May 2021

Portfolio Committee on Transport, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill [B 1-2020]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Public Enterprises and the South African Airways on the Special Appropriation Bill [B5-2021] (this includes the issues that require follow-up with SAA)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the Traditional Courts Amendment Bill; Consideration and Adoption of committee reports on Budget Votes; Consideration and Adoption of Committee Report on Judges Salaries and Chapter 9 Office Bearers; Consideration and Adoption of Minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30

Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Secretary to Parliament on the institution’s performance in the fourth quarter of 2020/21; Update by the Secretary to Parliament and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure on the investigation into the cause of the fire in the Old Assembly Building (including an update on attending to the damage caused); Consideration of committee minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-15:00

Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Virtual public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020] of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development], Virtual Meeting Platform, 15:00-19:00

Committees provide a platform for the public to present views directly to MPs. Share your on the ground experience and expert information to the relevant committees. Critically, what questions should MPs pose to the Executive as they conduct their oversight work?

View the full schedule here

*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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