The Week Ahead: ICC Withdrawal, MTBPS Hearings, Legislation….

There's a broad and busy flavour to this week's parliamentary business in the main chambers - it includes oral questions to the executive, ministerial and members’ statements, notice of motions, statutory appointments, a debate, and the processing of assorted bills, statutory instruments and committee reports.

The main plenary highlight in the NA is the statement by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services on South Africa’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Government has justified the decision, stating it was aimed at creating peace and stability on the continent. The DA and the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution have applied urgently to the Constitutional Court to set aside the withdrawal notice. In their view, government did not have the power to unilaterally withdraw from the Rome Statute and that Parliament should be involved when it comes to exiting international agreements.

Beyond this, the Deputy President will fulfil his regular appointment when he appears to answer oral questions in the House. He will be probed about a mixture of external and internal matters including the situation in South Sudan, National Economic Development and Labour Council processes, the South African Post Office and social cohesion.

Other noteworthy agenda items include a draft resolution by Mr F Shivambu to invite Advocate Thulisile Madonsela to address the National Assembly, consideration of the COP21 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and a discussion on reviewing South Africa’s relationship with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

After a period of stalling – for different reasons - the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill and the Higher Education Amendment Bill will pass their last rites in the main assembly before moving to the NCOP for concurrence.

Over in the NCOP, delegates will finalise legislation and interrogate Ministers in the Economic Cluster during their question and answer sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

You can view the full plenary programme here

Legislation, Government's withdrawal from the ICC and mega-important spending decisions dominate the committee corridor. Here is a run down of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry will receive a briefing on the Liquor Policy. The policy sets the foundation for the recently published National Liquor Amendment Bill. The bill wants to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years in order to curb abuse amongst young people. In addition, it seeks to clamp down on illegal alcohol sales through unlicensed outlets, by introducing a new clause of civil liability to manufacturers who supply liquor to these unlicensed suppliers. The proposed law will also place a limitation on advertising of alcohol products that targets young people when it comes to times, content and parameters.

On the same day, lawmakers will spend time shortlisting candidates for appointment to two statutory bodies. Both the Joint Standing Committee and the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration/ Planning, Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation will shortlist candidates to be interviewed to be the next Inspector-General of Intelligence and serve as PSC Commissioners respectively.

The Departments of Transport, Public Works, Environmental Affairs and Home Affairs did not table annual reports to Parliament as required. The Standing Committee on Finance has called on these departments and SAA Express to explain themselves.

Other headline-grabbing meetings include a discussion with the Department of Energy and the PetroSA Board on the forensic report relating to PetroSA’s R14.5 Billion impairment and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa briefing on the following: Compliance and Complaints Committee (CCC) ruling on the Media Monitoring Project vs SABC case; broadcasting licence conditions of the SABC and compliance with ruling of the CCC; and the recent industrial action and its impact on the regulator.

On the lawmaking side, legislators will finalise the Plant Improvement and Plant Breeders’ Rights Bills, continue line-by-line scrutiny of the Border Management Authority Bill and conduct oral submissions on the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill.

On Wednesday, the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation will brief MPs on South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.

The mini-budget continues to be at the forefront when the joint finance committees hold public hearings on the 2016 Revised Fiscal Framework (MTBPS). Elsewhere, the joint appropriations committees will hear from SALGA on the 2016 MTBPS.

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development will brief the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus on the decriminalisation of adult sex work.

The Select Committee on Security and Justice will discuss policing matters and has scheduled a broad agenda: This includes: White Paper on Police; White Paper on Safety and Security; Implementation of professionalism of policing and its impact on service delivery on a provincial basis - what are the achievements and challenges in relation to service delivery? Explain the Public Order Policing Training and its implementation particularly in light of strikes and protests - also highlight achievements and challenges provincially; Explain the relationship between SAPS and metro police, the nature of engagement, and relationships on a provincial basis.

On Friday, there will be further engagement with the Department of Trade and Industry, National Credit Regulator (NCR) on measures to address debt relief. National Treasury will respond to the public submissions on 2016 Revised Fiscal Framework (MTBPS).

You can view the full schedule here


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