The constituency period beckons, with MPs due to depart at the end of the week and return to Parliament next year. But a fair amount of heavy-duty business will be done before they go.
It's a big week in the NA chamber with MPs scheduled to sit for long hours to vote on several bills, consider assorted statutory instruments and appointments, debate the medium-term budget policy statement and fiscal framework and finalise leftover committee reports. No doubt a few MPs will use the opportunity for point-scoring and try to eke out some parliamentary publicity.
Minister Edna Molewa’s Statement on Climate change will be one of the highlights as it comes a few days before the start of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. Her remarks are likely to echo and build on the President’s statement, which highlights the country’s desire for an ambitious, fair and pro-development international agreement. (Click here for more information about South Africa’s position on climate change).
Lawmakers will consider the final report of the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Probing Violence Against Foreign Nationals. The National Assembly set up the multi-party committee earlier this year to investigate the outbreak of violence against foreign nationals, where seven people, three of them South Africans, lost their lives and shops were looted. The report identifies the following root causes - social, economic and political issues affecting both South African nationals and foreign nationals and finds that the main causes of the violent attacks were criminal actions that started with stealing of goods from foreign owned spaza shops by South African criminals who are often drug addicts.
Over in the NCOP Chamber, the main plenary event is the debate on addressing challenges facing basic education in South Africa, in particular the late delivery of learner support material and learner transport challenges. In a recent briefing to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, the department indicated that it will meet deadlines for the delivery of textbooks ahead of the 2016 school year but conceded that there could be challenges.
Elsewhere, the legislature will host a two-day (Thursday and Friday) international conference on the role of Parliaments in preventing and ending statelessness. The event is being hosted in conjuction with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The committee corridor has scheduled several interesting meetings that are likely to produce big headlines. Here is a run down of the highlights:
On Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Finance will hold public hearings on the Financial Sector Regulation Bill, which paves the way for the twin peaks system of regulation. Twin Peaks is a comprehensive and complete system for regulating the financial sector, prioritising the customer and protecting their funds. It represents a decisive shift away from a fragmented regulatory approach.
The same committee will also tackle the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill. The proposed law has been opposed by Cosatu as it will allow workers to only access a portion of their retirement savings and compel them to put the rest in an annuity.
The National Asembly Rules Committee is expected to approve its draft rules after they were endorsed in principle last week and refer it to the House. The review process began in the Fourth Parliament and included a comprehensive study of all 15 chapters of the rule book.
The Public Works Committee is expected to vote and pass the Expropriation Bill.
On Wednesday, MPs will be briefed on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act as well as consider the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill; Defence Laws and Repeal Amendment Bill and Judicial Matters Amendment Bill.
On Friday, legislators will hear from the SAPS on the undetected docket analysis and structure.
*According to various media reports, the parliamentary staff resumed striking this morning following a brief suspension. The workers indicated that there will be a total shutdown, resulting in no services being rendered by Parliament’s protection services as well as catering and support staff. The initial strike lead to the programme being extended and there is every possibility that this could happen again, particularly if there are disruptions.
The constituency period will be from 20 November – 15 December and pick up again in early to mid January). During this time, 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 these periods is to encourage MPs to remain in contact with the people they represent. For more information about constituency offices, click here.
You can find the full list of meetings here.
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