The Week Ahead: Higher Education, Questions & Legislation dominate the programme

After a low key week, the main chambers have scheduled a broad and busy programme, which includes oral questions to the executive; ministerial and members’ statements, policy debates, and the processing of assorted bills, statutory instruments and committee reports.

In the National Assembly, the main plenary event will be the debate on transformation in the higher education sector on Tuesday. This debate follows unprecedented protests across the country, which led to the closure of university campuses, the storming of the parliamentary precinct by demonstrators and the eventual decision by the President to freeze fee hikes for next year. The debate is expected to be spicy with the ruling party blaming universities and the private sector for the state of affairs. In contrast and unsurprisingly, opposition parties have shifted the blame on government and insisted that there is money to fund free tertiary education and have called on it to re-organise the budget.

Other plenary highlights include the introduction of several money bills and the oral question session with Ministers in the Peace and Security Cluster, where they have to respond to a mixture of external and domestic related issues such as the AUs response to the migration crisis in the EU, restructuring of the UN Security Council, when the President will pay back the money and the implementation of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry recommendations.

Over in the NCOP, Ministers in the Economic Clusters will be probed on a range of issues during their oral question times on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

There will be some very big issues under scrutiny in Committee-land and an impressive array of cabinet ministers in action. Here is a run-down of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and the Portfolio Committee on Public Works will continue with their deliberations on the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill and Expropriation Bill respectively.

Lawmakers will discuss the issuing of title deeds pre and post 1994 as well as the elimination of housing backlogs, gender mainstreaming, spectrum policy, the Traditional and Khoi San Leadership Bill and the Electoral Amendment Bill.

The spotlight on access to higher education continues on Wednesday, when the Department of Higher Education and Training briefs MPs on their intervention plans to address student protests and on resolutions of the 2nd Higher Education Transformation Summit. In addition, the National Skills Fund and the Construction Education and Training Authority wil report on their 2014/15 annual reports.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has made a commitment to eradicate the bucket system in formal areas by December 2015. During 2014/15 alone, it successfully eradicated 20, 560 bucket systems. MPs will receive a progress report on how the department is meeting this deadline.

The Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance will conduct public hearings on the 2015 Revised Fiscal Framework and Revenue Proposals.

Elsewhere, both Houses have arranged sub-committee meetings on Friday to continue with the review of their rules.

You can find the full list of meetings here.


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