The Week Ahead: MPs criss-crossing the country

Sept. 14, 2015 (4 years, 10 months ago)

It's the penultimate week for the third term and an unusual programme looms; with no sittings in the main chambers, a few meetings scheduled and lawmakers devoting most of their time to oversight work across the country.

Permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will embark on a week-long Provincial Week Programme across the nine provinces. They will meet with the Provincial Legislatures, Local Government Association (SALGA), Premiers, Members of the Executive Councils, Mayors and other relevant stakeholders to discuss the state of service delivery.

It's rather similar for their counterparts in the National Assembly where a number of portfolio committees will this week undertake oversight visits to provinces to engage with entities and assess various projects and programmes. In some cases, joint or cluster visits have been planned depending on the multi-faceted nature of the subject matter or entity. Oversight visits, like processing legislation, is a core part of an MP's work and is in line with Parliament's objective to hold the executive accountable.

We're getting into the season when debates, speeches, questions and statements target hot button electoral issues. Opposition MPs expose perceived weaknesses and the ruling party brings vote winning issues to the limelight. This trend is expected to continue and even ratchet up in the next few months.

Notwithstanding the reduced programme, there are three interesting committees (6 meetings in total) to follow in the committee corridor. Here is my rundown of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry will continue with public hearings on the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill. The first round of hearings saw the European Union Chamber of Commerce in SA express concern about the proposed law while NUMSA supported it.

On Wednesday, the Standing Committee on Finance has arranged public hearings on the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill and Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill.

The subcommittee on the rules of National Assembly is in the final stages of its long, complex and exhaustive review of the rules (you can see all the deliberations here). Once finalised, the rules will need to be formally approved by the full rules committee and the House. The EFFs tactic of pushing the boundaries and testing long-established processes has put the legislature on the back foot and left it scrambling to respond to this and address deficiencies that were not possible to anticipate.

You can find the full list of meetings here.


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