The second term has been truly historic: the pandemic forced Parliament to conduct its business virtually.
The tabling of the emergency budget extended the term by another month making it the longest session (16 weeks) in many years.
Initially, parliamentary business was limited to COVID-19 related matters but was later expanded to other core constitutional duties like approving budgets, passing legislation and recommending appointments.
Apart from reduced oversight visits and public hearings, the programme ran as per normal. More than 400 meetings were held during this term.
Sure there were hiccups. The virtual and hybrid Parliament is limiting and imperfect but the experimentation with technology has enabled the legislature to fulfil its essential function during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is a fair amount of work to get through this week before the term comes to a close.
The main highlight in the NA chamber is the consideration of the Adjustments Appropriation Bill and individual budget votes on Wednesday.
In terms of the process, there will be a 90 minute debate on the first reading of the Adjustments Appropriation Bill. After the debate, there will be a decision and the House will pronounce itself on the first reading of the Bill. Moving from there, there will be a question and answer session limited to the 17 budget votes that were not debated in the mini-plenaries. MPs will be allocated 54 minutes and the Executive 24 minutes, with each Minister getting 2 minutes to respond to the questions raised. Following this, the 40 budget votes, where there are adjustments, will be put forward for a decision to the House. The process will conclude with the second reading of the Adjustments Appropriations Bill.
In Thursday’s sitting, the NA will consider assorted Committee Reports:
Report of PC on Communications on Communication received from Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies on filling of six vacancies on Council of Independent Communications Authority of South Africa
Report of PC on Communications on Draft notice determining the remuneration of councillors of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA);
Report of PC on Communications on Filling of four vacancies on the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) Board;
Report of PC on Police on Appointment of Executive Director of Independent Police Investigative Directorate; and
Report of PC on Home Affairs on Draft notice determining remuneration of Commissioners of Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).
In addition, the Minister of Social Development will make a statement on the socio-economic interventions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House, often at short notice. The statements address major incidents, government policies or actions. Each party will be given an opportunity to respond. Given the scale of the current crisis, the legislature recently indicated that it might even approach relevant Ministers and urge them to make statements to explain matters to the public.
Elsewhere, the NCOP has arranged a High Level Stakeholder Engagement on Femicide Legislation (Wednesday). This is in response to universal outrage that gender based violence and femicide continues to erode the rights of women in the country. President Ramaphosa has characterised gender based violence and femicide as the second pandemic that we have to contend with.
Beyond this, the NCOP is scheduled debate the adjustment budgets of the Department of Small Business Development and the Department of Employment and Labour and is provisionally scheduled to debate the Adjustments Appropriation Bill.
There are several important meetings in the Committee corridor that are likely to generate headlines:
Monday, 27 July 2020
Joint Meeting: Sub Committee of the Select Committee on Health & Social Services and the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities, (National Council of Provinces and National Assembly), [Interviews of Candidates – Filling of vacancies on the NYDA Board - Day 1], Premier Hotel Conference Room, OR Tambo International Airport, Gauteng, 09:30-20:30
Tuesday, 28 July 2020
Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Executive Authority on Parliament’s 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan and budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, (National Assembly), [Follow-up on a Joint meeting held on 2 June 2020 with Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on tariff determinations by water boards and South African Local Government Association (Salga)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the South African Broadcasting Authority (SABC) on deviations and expansions, covering the period from the 2nd quarter of 2019/2020 up to the 2nd quarter of 2020/2021], Virtual Meeting Platform, 12:00-15:00
Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), (National Assembly), [Responses by National Treasury and SARS to submissions made on Disaster Management Tax relief Bill and Disaster Management Tax Administration Bills], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on S139 interventions on municipalities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00 – 21:00
Wednesday, 29 July 2020
Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by Gauteng Provincial Government on its COVID-19 response plan], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00
Thursday, 30 July 2020
Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Deliberations on the Local Government: Municipal Systems Amendment Bill [B2-2019]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00
Friday, 31 July 2020
Portfolio Committee on Social Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Social Development and its entities on Covid-19 update; Consideration and adoption of the 3rd term committee programme; Adoption of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing on the Petition from residents of the Ward 52 in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Ms H O Mkalipi); Finalisation of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Amendment Bill [B2-2019]; Discussion of programme and adoption of minutes and reports on petitions], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
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?
We have consolidated our reports on the COVID-19 related meetings here.
The constituency period will run from 3 –17 August 2020. This is an unusual time so several committees will continue to meet during this period.
View the schedule page 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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