The Week Ahead: Food Security, Expropriation Bill, UIF Bill & Marikana

Feb. 1, 2016 (4 years, 5 months ago)

It’s still early days and Parliament is not yet firing on all cylinders. There are no sittings scheduled in the main chambers and only a handful of meetings planned for the committee corridor. Nonetheless, there is still scope for headline-grabbing and party battles in this week's parliamentary agenda, with food safety and food security; the Expropriation Bill; the UIF Bill and Marikana Commission recommendations all up for debate.

Elsewhere, a few committees are on oversight visits, others have arranged strategic planning workshops and some training workshops.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s management is hard at work with preparations for the State of the Nation Address and will hold a media briefing later on Monday. One of the most intriguing parliamentary sagas in the Fifth Parliament has been the lack (and undermining) of rules and the disruption of plenary sittings. The press conference will highlight the new rules as they relate to the SONA including, Members’ conduct, new rules on disorder and related procedures and points of order during the address.

Here is a run down of the meetings that are likely to produce big headlines:

As the drought continues to wreak havoc, Parliament will tackle the issue again in a joint workshop of the portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, the portfolio committee on health, the portfolio committee on social development and the select committee on land and mineral resources. This is a continuation of several meetings and debates that took place late last year on the drought impact on agricultural productivity, sector employment and food costs. This workshop is set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The controversial Expropriation Bill is set to be adopted by the Public Works Committee after almost a year and 15 meetings. This is just the first hurdle as the bill still needs to be cleared by both chambers and is likely to be sujected to another round of public consultation during the NCOP committee stage. The Bill seeks to align the Expropriation Act of 1975, with the Constitution and to provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest.

Last year, the Portfolio Committee on Police welcomed the implementation plan of the Marikana Commission recommendations as tabled by Police Minister Nhleko. The Committee also undertook to monitor the rollout of this plan. One of the recommendations relates to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. The watchdog body is advised to probe possible cases against officers involved in the shooting. The Committee will get an update on these investigations. In addition, there will be a presentation on systemic corruption within the SAPS.

On Wednesday, the Labour Committee will hold public hearings on the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill. According to the Committee Chairperson, the intention of the Bill is to extend benefits to a wide range of citizens affected by unemployment including public servants‚ and learners who are undergoing learnership training. Other matters contemplated in the Bill are maternity benefits‚ enforcement provisions‚ employment services and entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits even for women who have had miscarriage.

The Finance Committee will also be conducting hearings on the Financial Intelligence Sector Amendment Bill.

You can find the full list of meetings here.


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