It’s another week where Parliament’s schedule is dominated by Budget Vote Debates.
In the National Assembly, the main plenary event will be the debate on the Presidency's budget vote scheduled on Wednesday and the President’s reply a day later.
In their speeches, the President and Deputy President are likely to talk about the administration's priority areas, give an update on special projects and talk about the government's efforts to deal with the electricity crisis, stabilise SOEs and attract investment to the country.
The Project Management Office (PMO) in the Presidency supports the delivery of key strategic priorities from the centre of government. It works across the government to ensure effective coordination where multiple departments and agencies are involved and provides implementation support where required. In addition to the Presidential Employment Stimulus, the PMO has been integral to the development of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.
We are also likely to see a re-run of the SONA debate where parties spared no punches attacking one another and using the platform to campaign for the 2024 elections. The President will have to defend a wide range of charges, such as the performance of departments and entities, accusations against various Cabinet Ministers, the establishment and performance of various Advisory Councils and Commissions, the consolidation of government work in his office and the ongoing Phala Phala scandal.
One of the peculiarities of our parliamentary system is that there is no parliamentary committee that oversees the Presidency. According to the IFP, South Africa is unique among parliamentary democracies throughout the world and the party has repeatedly asked that this anomaly be corrected. Previously, the IFP has stated that “while the budgets of every government department are pored over and questioned before we come here to express our agreement or disapproval, the Presidency's budget is presented as a fait accompli, and we rise in this House with scant capacity to debate what is being spent, where it is being spent and how it is being spent”.
There have been growing calls to establish a parliamentary committee to oversee the Presidency, especially following a recommendation from the Zondo Commission. Recently, Parliament agreed to undertake a study tour to the UK to look at best practices.
The other big highlight will be the debate on Parliament's budget (the NA and NCOP will be having separate debates), on Tuesday. In their speeches, the presiding officers are expected to highlight the institution’s achievements and challenges, talk about their priorities for the remainder of the Sixth Parliament and what legacy they hope to leave.
Parliament has continuously faced significant budget shortfalls, which have direct implications for the performance of its constitutional obligations. We can expect this point to be emphasised again.
For their part, MPs will use the opportunity to raise the numerous challenges facing the Legislature: insufficient funding provided to political parties, inadequate facilities and support to MPs, poor replies to questions by the Executive, as well as shortcomings in the Rules and their application.
Other matters that will be raised sharply will be about Parliament’s inability to discharge its oversight duty as well as interventions that are needed to strengthen accountability and public involvement.
Beyond this, the Ministers of Justice and Constitutional Development and Social Development will present their budget speeches on Tuesday.
Click here to read all the budget vote speeches and responses.
Over in the NCOP chamber, delegates will meet over multiple days and be occupied with policy debates. legislative business, and assorted reports.
On Tuesday, there are Policy debates on Budget Vote 28: Police, Budget Vote 21: Civilian Secretariat for the Police Service and Budget Vote 24: Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
On Wednesday, there are Policy debates on Budget Vote 13: Public Works and Infrastructure (Provisional) and Budget Vote 41: Water and Sanitation.
On Thursday, there are Policy debates on Budget Vote 22: Correctional Services and Budget Vote 25: Justice and Constitutional Development. At the same sitting, delegates will also consider the Land Court Bill.
The week rounds off with the NCOP’s Three Sphere Planning Session scheduled for Friday. The theme is: “Delineating key priorities and projects for accelerated implementation at local government level.”
A multi-party delegation from Parliament is still participating in the 2nd Ordinary Session of the Pan-African Parliament held in Midrand from 15 May to 2 June 2023.
There are important meetings scheduled in the Committee Corridor. Amongst others, it includes briefings on the latest crime statistics and local government audit outcomes. The highlights include:
TUESDAY, 30 MAY 2023
Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Pre-release briefing on the Fourth Quarter Crime Statistics (01 January to 31 March 2023)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 08:00-09:30
Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury on the impact and effectiveness of the Jobs Fund, plans for its recapitalisation and future contribution], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Responses by the National Treasury on the recommendations by the invited and public stakeholders on the 2023 Appropriation Bill; Briefing by the National Treasury on the preliminary spending outcomes as at the end of the fourth quarter of the 2022/23 financial year], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [Update by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on shale gas developments; Update by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, with the Central Energy Fund on the Solar Water Heater Programme], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly), [Update by Parliament Legal Services on the General Electoral Laws Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Communications, (National Assembly), [Briefing by GCIS and MDDA and the DCTD and relevant Entities on State of Readiness towards the National Elections; Update by the DCDT and Sentech on signal distribution tariffs and feedback on the mediation process] Committee Room M201, Second Floor, Marks Building, Parliament, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Minister on the deliberations and recommendations by the Inter- ministerial committee on land reform and agriculture with regard to Land Reform and the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB); Further, the ITB to present the status report on governance issues at the Ingonyama Trust and the Ingonyama Holdings], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, (National Assembly), [Virtual Oral submissions on Climate Change Bill [B9-2022]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:30
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Briefing by SAA on the progress made by the management since the last meeting with Committee and investigations conducted by the SIU on SAA], Committee Room M514, Fifth Floor, Marks Building, Parliament, 09:30-13:30
Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour, (National Council of Provinces), [Departmental responses on Negotiating Mandates on Performers Protection and Copyright Amendment Bills], Committee Room 1, 120 Plein Street Building, Parliament, 10:00-13:00
WEDNESDAY, 31 MAY 2023
Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury on the Legal and Regulatory Framework for Procurement of New Generation Energy Capacity by Municipalities and Municipal Entities], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00
Standing Committee on the Auditor-General, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Auditor-General on 2021/22 Local Government Audit Outcomes (MFMA)], Venue to be confirmed, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [Fourth Quarter Crime Statistics (01 January to 31 March 2023], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Public Service and Administration on the distinction between the Financial Disclosure Framework and Lifestyle Audits Framework and its intent purposes in the Public Service; Briefing by the Northern Cape province on the involvement of law enforcement agencies to assist in developing provincial framework for conducting lifestyle audits; An objective assessment by the Public Service Commission on the Financial Disclosure Framework and Lifestyle Audits Framework in the public administration], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00
Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [The hearing on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) annual report and financial statements for the financial year 2021/22, all investigations, as well as irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditures], Committee Room M514, Fifth Floor, Marks Building, Parliament, 09:30-13:30
Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) on the status of investigations of DOD and DMV cases referred to it], Committee Room M515, Fifth Floor, Marks Building, Parliament, 10:00-13:00
Select Committee on Appropriations, (National Council of Provinces), [Responses by National Treasury on public submissions on the: (i) Appropriation Bill [B3 – 2023]; and (ii) Eskom Debt Relief Bill [B5 – 2023]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00
Portfolio Committee on Health, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Health on the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill [B33 – 2022]], Committee Room M201, Second Floor, Marks Building, 10:00-13:00
THURSDAY, 1 JUNE 2023
Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the SA Military Health Services on requirements for improving the capacity and capabilities at Military Hospitals, including needs and expected costs for critically required equipment], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00
FRIDAY, 2 JUNE 2023
Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Update on status of the regulations to the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act: briefing by the Secretary to Parliament; BRICS Parliamentary Forum: briefing on preparations], Virtual Meeting Platform, 08:00-13:00
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View the schedule page here.
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