There's little action on display in the main chambers and committee corridor this week.
The programme has been curtailed in order to give committees time to finalise critical legislation and other work. In addition, the revised schedule has made provision for committee chairpersons to receive media communications training. This is in line with the strategic plan of Parliament, which amongst other things, emphasises capacity building and training for all MPs. The DA has criticised the cancellations of sittings and meetings and labelled the planned training as “spin classes”. The ANC has hit back, and accused the DA of “dishonesty and cheap propaganda”.
The main item during the National Assembly’s sitting on Wednesday is the question session, where Ministers in the Governance Cluster will be probed on a range of issues – some dull, interesting, complex and controversial.
Meanwhile, the NCOP is a bit of a one-trick pony this week. Business will be entirely devoted to the 3rd Local Government Week. The House has arranged a three-day programme, where MPs and experts come together to reflect on issues affecting local government. The theme for this year is: “Celebrating 15 years of democratic and transformative local government – entrenching cooperative government for People centred development.”
Even though there is a dearth of meetings, it’s a promising week in the committee corridor, with a couple of sparky sessions and a few interesting, if less high profile, meetings in prospect. Here is a run down of the highlights:
On Tuesday, the Expropriation Bill is back before the Public Works Committee, for detailed debate - which could mean guerrilla war between supporters and die-hard opponents. The Bill seeks to align the Expropriation Act of 1975, with the final Constitution and to provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest.
The Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests has organised a workshop to discuss the ethical standards for elected public representatives and to consider best practice in relation to this. This is noteworthy given the prevailing attitudes amongst the public. The development and enforcement of norms and standards for ethical behaviour can help to build strong, trusting relationship between the public and their representatives.
With transformation in sport in the spotlight, the Department of Basic Education’s briefing to MPs on school sport has added significance.
Legislators will hear from the South African Revenue Service on its latest quarterly report and the National Research Foundation (NRF) on funding of postgraduates in South African universities.
On Wednesday, the Finance committee has arranged a workshop on retirement reforms.
Lawmakers will continue with their deliberations on the Expropriation Bill and also discuss South Africa’s role and political input in the 70th anniversary of the UN.
The Portfolio Committee on Police will, this coming Friday, scrutinise SAPS' strategy on safety and prevention of police killings. There has been a huge outcry about the recent spate of cop killings.
You can find the full list of meetings here.
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