The Week Ahead: Parliament's third term kicks off

Parliament resumes this week after a three-week constituency period. The third term will run for ten weeks and the programme is packed with activities. Some of the highlights include committee, oversight and legislative work; oral questions to the President and the Executive; and the NCOP’s Provincial and Local Government Weeks. In addition, the legislature has provisionally scheduled three joint sittings to debate and commemorate International Mandela Day, Women's Day and Heritage Day.

Other significant events include planned meetings to consider the recommendations of the Farlam Commission and public hearings on the Expropriation Bill. The Bill seeks to align the Expropriation Act of 1975, with the final Constitution and to provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest. The proposed law is expected to be widely challenged and the most controversial since the Protection of State Information Bill, which underwent more than 1,000 changes and more than 100 meetings.

With no sittings scheduled in the main chambers and only a handful of meetings in the committee corridor, the main source of parliamentary action will happen outside the legislature. Here is a run down of the highlights:

27 National Assembly committees will be traversing the country this week to visit various government departments and state-owned enterprises as part of their oversight mandate. Some of the highlights include visits to Eskom, PRASA, NERSA and the CGE.

The spotlight will be on MPs on Wednesday when they conduct a site visit to inspect the upgrades at President Zuma’s Nkandla residence. The parliamentary ad hoc committee has been tasked with assessing Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s probe into the upgrades and report back to the House on 7 August 2015. If recent utterances are anything to go by from opposition parties, the public can brace itself for more ferment and accusations.

Legislators from the NCOP will spend the week in their provinces to assess the delivery of services. According to the Provincial Legislatures, Provincial Week is “a mechanism to ensure that Provincial Delegates to the NCOP keep in touch with the provinces with the aim of receiving mandates on what needs to be placed on the national agenda”.

The SubCommittee on the Review of the National Assembly Rules will meet on Tuesday to finalise proposals on how to address disruptions in the House. The Speaker had instructed the body to urgently develop these measures following the disruptions during the President’s last question session in Parliament. The subcommittee has to submit its work to the National Assembly Rules Committee the following day for consideration.

The legislature has arranged a two-day discussion between South African and European Parliamentarians on strategic issues related to both South Africa and the EU.

The full schedule of meetings can be found here.


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