The Week Ahead: Focus shifts to budget-related matters

May 4, 2020 (2 months, 1 week ago)

money

Due to COVID-19 and the accompanying restrictions, Parliament is a very different place: virtual meetings are scheduled on Monday’s (this is usually allocated for constituency work), public holidays and even in the late afternoon/early evening.

And with Parliament still discussing how to conduct plenary business, work is confined to the Committee corridor.

Since resuming business, the legislature has priortised a schedule of virtual Committee meetings, whose scope of oversight relates to government departments driving COVID-19 response.

View: COVID-19: Parliamentary Oversight & Discussions

While this oversight continues, the focus – from this week onwards - shifts to passing the national budget. The Appropriation Bill is passed by Parliament and based on this; funds are allocated to departments and entities. Government can only spend money if it has been approved by Parliament.

The legislature’s budget vote season is a sprint. This annual ritual includes meetings with various departments and entities on their Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans and budgets for the financial year. Committees then have to prepare a report for consideration by the House.

It has become practice for Ministers and/or Deputy Ministers to be present at these meetings. They will be given an opportunity to set out their overall vision as well as their agenda and targets for the year ahead.

Because of time constraints (this is not a new issue but has been exacerbated in the period of virtual meetings), this process will bring into sharp focus Parliament's oversight processes. The usual complaints are that these proceedings are hurried and there is not enough time for proper engagement. To make things more challenging, NA and NCOP Committees will be meeting jointly so all MPs need time to ask their questions. Chairpersons set the tone and will be expected to ensure proper time management.

Here is a rundown of the highlights:

Monday, 4 May 2020

Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, (National Assembly), [ Briefing by the DPWI on Properties earmarked for use as quarantine facilities for COVID19 patients. The role of EPWP beneficiaries during the COVID19 period. Report on the Beitbridge fence erection project], Virtual Meeting Platform, 14:00 – 16:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Tourism and Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing (update) by the Minister of Tourism on the impact of Covid -19 pandemic to the Tourism Industry, and mitigating measures initiated by the Department. Consideration of Revised Committee Programme for Second Term of 2020. Draft minutes of 17th March 2020], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

Portfolio Committee on Communications (Subcommittee on Communications), (National Assembly), [ Interview of the remaining candidate for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Council. Shortlisting for the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) Board], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by National Treasury and the South African Revenue Services on Strategic Plan and Budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00 – 13:00

Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the DOD on its 2020 Annual Performance Plan; Strategic Plan and Budget for 2020/21], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Human Sciences Research Council on the 2020 Appropriation Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 14:00 – 16:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Transport and Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Transport on its on 2020/21 Budget, Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan. Briefing by the Driving Licence Card Trading Account (DLCA) on its 2020/21 Strategic and Annual Performance Plans. Briefing by the Minister and the DLCA on the progress with the proposed new card specifications and the acquisition of a new card production machine as well as the plans in place and steps taken by the entity to ensure continued compliance with the processing of driver’s licence card production], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

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 Minister of Public Enterprises on the strategic plan and budget vote; including update on the developments in state-owned companies. Briefing by the Minister of Public Enterprises and the Business Rescue Practitioners on rescue plan and the latest developments for SAA and South African Express Airways], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy and Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on their Strategic Plan 2020 - 2025, Annual Performance Plan 2020/21 and its Budget Vote No 34], Virtual Meeting Platform, 14:00 – 16:00

Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Home Affairs on their Annual Performance Plan 2020/21 & Strategic Plans for 2020-25], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Social Development and Select Committee on Health and Social Services, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Auditor-General on the Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Social Development and its entities and Department of Health], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

Friday, 8 May 2020

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Police and Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [(Joint briefings) Budget hearing briefings: South African Police Service (SAPS): Programme 3: Detectives; DPCI budget Programme 4: Crime Intelligence and Programme 5: Protection and Security Services], Virtual Meeting Platform, 14:00 – 16:00

Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Office of the Auditor-General of South Africa on audited Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans of the Departments of Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and the entities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services and Select Committee on Security and Justice, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the Office of Chief Justice on its Strategic Plan, APP and Budget 2020/21. Briefing by the South African Human Rights Commission on its Strategic Plan, APP and Budget 2020/21], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00 – 18:00

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 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.

Comments

Keep comments free of racism, sexism, homophobia and abusive language. People's Assembly reserves the right to delete and edit comments

(For newest comments first please choose 'Newest' from the 'Sort by' dropdown below.)