The Week Ahead: Motion of No Confidence, Question Time & Legislation top the agenda

Nov. 7, 2016 (2 years, 7 months ago)

There's both high policy and low politics on display in the main chambers this week, with appearances by the deputy president and ministers in the economic cluster (combining both of the above, no doubt).

Beyond this, the DA's motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is scheduled for Thursday. The latest motion follows the release of the state capture report and is the second attempt this year to remove the President from office. In order for the motion to succeed, a simple majority is needed – 50% + 1. The motion was not originally scheduled for this week but was hastily added after the party threatened legal action against the Speaker.

Lawmakers will probe the leader of government business on a range of issues including the funds earmarked for vaccine research/development, the ICC withdrawal, plans for a single public service and the establishment of the High Level Panel.

Ministerial question time is interesting for several reasons:

  • An interesting part of the exercise is how the questions are structured and framed as MPs simultaneously try to get their talking points across and ask a question
  • There are still issues with ministerial attendance despite assurances that this is being attended to
  • Many of the questions touch on bread and butter issues and/or high-temperature business. Two examples are the questions on the overall impact of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act on farm dwellers and farm workers since its inception and the implementation of the Public Protector’s recommendations concerning PRASA.

Elsewhere, other plenary highlights include legislative business, motions, statements, statutory appointments, the processing of assorted bills, statutory instruments, international agreements and committee reports and a subject for discussion: the progressive realisation of the socioeconomic emancipation and empowerment of a young woman.

View the full plenary programme here

There’s lots of action in the committee corridor, with several cabinet ministers set to make appearances. Here is a rundown of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence will interview candidates over the next two days to be the new Inspector General of Intelligence. This is about the fourth attempt to fill the post after previous attempts have failed were unsuccessful. According to the Constitution, a two thirds majority vote is needed in the NA to approve this appointment. Because of this high threshold, opposition parties have blocked the ruling party's nominee. This has created an intriguing scenario where there needs to be a move towards consensus building in order to find a candidate that is acceptable to most.

On the same day, legilsators will meet with the Central Energy Fund (CEF) on their Annual Report for 2015/16, get an update on the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and adopt the Revised Fiscal Framework report.

Other noteworthy meetings include engagements with the Ministers of Economic Development and Defence and Military Veterans on the implementation of the New Growth Path and services pertaining to beneficiaries and performance of the department respectively.

This is also a day for detailed lawmaking with committees dealing with the Border Management Authority Bill, Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill, Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, Financial Sector Regulation Bill and Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill.

Illegal miners, commonly known as zama-zamas, made headlines recently when some had to be rescued and others died. The problem is growing and the topic will be brought to the fore when the Department of Mineral Resources briefs MPs on illegal mining in South Africa on Wednesday.

On this day, the other headline-grabbing meetings include the following: The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises will meet with National Treasury on challenges facing Eskom and Denel. The engagement could touch on specific scandals affecting both entities.

The Portfolio Committee on Health will meet with the Public Service Commission on its assessment of public health facilities.

The Standing Committee on Finance will hold public hearings on Employment and Learnership Tax Incentives.

On the legislative side, committees are set to deliberate on the Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill, Labour Laws Amendment Bill; and Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill.

On Friday, the Constitutional Review Committee will hear from Parliamentary Legal Advisers on the legal opinions on 2015 public submissions.

You can view the full schedule here



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