The Week Ahead: The strike and President top the agenda

Nov. 16, 2015 (3 years, 10 months ago)

Forget the party battles and EFF gimmicks. The really titanic struggle being fought out in Parliament at the moment is between the staff and management over performance bonuses.

Workers began striking last week after accusing Parliament of reneging on a past agreement for performance bonuses to be paid based on the annual package of employees. The legislature rejects this, arguing that the requirement is a new proposal, is unaffordable and has not been budgeted for.

The industrial action has caused chaos and frustration resulting in a number of meetings being disrupted or cancelled without notice. The riot police were also called in as emotions ran high and tensions escalated.

With the current term set to end next week, both Houses had to rearrange their programmes as they are hard-pressed to finalise all urgent business. The financial cost is yet to be tallied but it is expected to be significant on Parliament and government departments.

After a week, there are still no signs of the impasse abating and the strike is set to continue….

Amidst the cacophony, it is easy to forget that President Zuma will appear before the National Assembly on Thursday to answer oral questions where he will be probed on external and domestic issues including the water shortages and drought situation across the country.

Other highlights include the second reading debates on a number of important bills such as the Tax Bills, and the planned debate on deepening democracy through strengthening citizen participation and accountability.

There are a few of sparky sessions in prospect on the committee corridor, but you can't really call it a vintage week. Here is a run down of the highlights:

On Tuesday, the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Probing Violence Against Foreign Nationals is expected to adopt its final report. The committee was established after a spate of violence against foreign nationals in April. As part of its work, the Committee focused on the root causes of the problems and conducted public hearings with individuals, communities and organisations across the country.

On Wednesday, the Standing committee on Public Accounts will hold hearings on PRASAs 2014/15 Annual Report.

There will be a follow-up briefing with SAPS on the TETRA, PECEM project and Legal Expenditure.

Human Rights Watch and Section 27 will engage with lawmakers on the subject of Special Education and Inclusive Education.

The troubled national carrier will present its quarterly report to MPs.

On the legislative front, a number of bills will be considered by committees – these include the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill, Children’s Amendment Bill, New Development Bank Special Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill.

Find the full list of meetings here.



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