The Week Ahead: End of the Term & Reduced Parliament Programme

March 17, 2020 (2 months, 1 week ago)

The Week Ahead: Parliament's End of the Term & a Reduced Programme

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Along with the rest of the country, Parliamentary is consumed by the Coronavirus and much of this week’s planned programme had to be discarded.

In his address on Sunday, the President prohibited non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more.

Given the unprecedented and fast-moving nature of the situation, it is likely that the agenda will be re-arranged, abruptly, again.

The National Assembly cancelled two plenary sittings scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday.

The Division of Revenue Bill and other urgent business will be considered at Wednesday’s house sitting. The Bill provides for equitable division of funds raised nationally among the national, provincial and local spheres of government for a particular financial year. It also provides for determining each province’s equitable share of the provincial share of revenue and for any other allocations to provinces, local government or municipalities from the national government’s share of revenue.

Elsewhere, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) shelved its Taking Parliament to the People programme. The Report Back programme had included a series of verification visits to 21 service delivery sites. The NCOP will only meet on Thursday to consider an urgent business: the intervention in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in terms of section 139 (1)(c).

Despite the scaled back programme, there are several interesting meetings scheduled in the Committee corridor:

Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) is concerned that expansions and deviations are becoming normalised, with the main reasons being poor planning and contract management. The watchdog body regularly meets with departments and entities affected by this. This week SAPS will be in the spotlight. (Tuesday)

Members of Parliament (MPs) will get a briefing from the Department of Basic Education on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Roll-Out. In a written parliamentary reply, the Minister stated that the primary value of providing ICTs in education is to transform teaching and learning to: enhance learning experiences of learners; improve efficiency in delivering educational services; and leverage on ICTs to mitigate educational challenges. (Tuesday)

In 2018, Parliament heard that South Africa’s tourism brand value could potentially be negatively affected by as much as R54 billion loss in revenue over the next decade, if the Captive Lion Breeding Industry is allowed to continue. The tourism committee will be briefed on the reputational risks to the tourism industry posed by captive breeding. (Tuesday)

Legislators will also receive a briefing on Illicit Financial Flows. While, it is impossible to know the exact amount or level of illicit flows, as those that break the law do not voluntarily report on their criminal actions, there are estimates that the country is losing billions in potential tax revenue. (Tuesday)

Wednesday’s agenda includes a skills colloquium and a briefing by Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and Property Management Trading Entity PMTE) on termination of employment contracts that has led to incapacity (programme has yet to be confirmed)

In between, there will be detailed lawmaking as MPs the Division of Revenue Bill; Civil Aviation Amendment Bill; Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) Bill and Social Assistance Amendment Bill.

The constituency period beckons, with MPs due to depart at the end of the week and return to Parliament on 14 April 2020.

During the constituency period, MPs have a duty to: be available to the public, help solve problems and report back to their constituents on what is happening in Parliament.

The purpose of this period is to encourage MPs to remain in contact with the people they represent. For more information about constituency offices, click here.

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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