The Week Ahead: Taking Parliament to the People

Nov. 19, 2018 (3 weeks, 1 day ago)

The NCOPs Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) initiative is arguably the biggest highlight this week.

The TPTTP programme brings together representatives from all spheres of government and provides an opportunity for the public to engage face to face with elected representatives.

This year, Gauteng is the selected province for the programme following visits to the Free State, Eastern Cape and Western Cape during the Fifth Parliament. The 2018 theme is: “Impact of Migration - Deepening Cooperative Governance for Accelerated Service Delivery and Development”.

The programme is normally conducted in three legs: the pre-visits earlier in the year, the main event and a report-back session (a year later) to follow-up on commitments made.

The President will close the event with his annual address to the NCOP. The speech will focus on government’s plans to tackle poverty, unemployment, inequality and under-development.

For more information on the TPTTP, read here

Elsewhere, it's a big week in the NA chamber with MPs scheduled to sit for long hours to vote on several Bills (including Money Bills) and finalise assorted Committee Reports.

One of the Reports deals with new rules to remove a President from office in terms of section 89 of the Constitution.

Beyond this, lawmakers will probe the Deputy President and selected Ministers in the Social Services Cluster during their scheduled oral reply question sessions. The practice of oral questions is an established part of the parliamentary day and gives MPs an opportunity to question the Executive about matters for which they are responsible. No doubt a few MPs will use the opportunity for point-scoring and try to eke out some parliamentary publicity.

Read the questions posed to the Ministers here

Meanwhile, the Leader of Government Business will respond to these questions

Also dotting the agenda are regular items like Members’ Statements, Motions without Notice and Notices of Motion. A scheduled discussion on ideas for ensuring fair and equal access to job opportunities for all South Africans will generate some interest.

There are a number of intriguing meetings scheduled in the Committee corridor. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Speak to any government department about the Department of Public Works and the response will likely be similar: general frustration about the poor facilities, maintenance and slow response by the Department. The Standing Committee on Appropriations will have a follow up meeting with the Departments of Defence, Public Works and National Treasury on the outcomes and way forward of the task team on infrastructure delivery challenges. (Tuesday)

The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture will interview 25 shortlisted candidates over several days to fill vacancies on the Pan South African Language Board.

The Portfolio Committee on Energy has had a singular focus since September: the Draft Integrated Resource Plan. The Committee received a briefing from the Department on the Plan, conducted public hearings and held a roundtable discussion. Over the past couple of weeks, the Committee has been compiling a report with its recommendations and is expected to conclude its work this week. A major consideration for the Committee is the effect on jobs and the impact of technology on the environment.

Legislators will get an update from the Department of Basic Education on preparation for 2019 school readiness. Late registrations, migration, vandalism, scholar transport and failure to retrieve textbooks are usually some of the major challenges. (Tuesday)

Last week, Scopa received a progress report from the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on the defaulting municipalities that owe Eskom. The Task Team reported that municipalities owe the power utility R17 billion. The Task Team Team will appear before the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs this week. (Tuesday)

The Public Administration Management Act introduced measures to prevent public servants from doing business with the state, for which any civil servant found to be in breach will face a charge of misconduct with either a fine imposed or termination of service. Despite this, state employees continue to do business with government. MPs will tackle this topic again with the Department of Public Service and Administration. They will reiterate their previous comments that a new timeframe for public servants doing business with state should be afforded as a last solution. Failure by public servants to resign as Directors in their respective companies particularly those still doing business with the State should be followed by consequences as enshrined in the Act and Public Service Regulations of 2016. (Wednesday)

Eskom will be in the spotlight when it presents its 2017/18 Annual Report and Corporate Plan. Eskom implemented loadshedding over the weekend so this, and scandals affecting the entity, will be under scrutiny. (Wednesday)

National Treasury will give is response to aspects of the Finance Committees’ Financial Sector Transformation Report, including on digital financing. (Wednesday)

The Minister of Health will brief MPs on the recommendations of the High Level Panel as they relate to Health. The High Level Panel listed travel, low morale of staff, their attitude towards patients and unequal access as some of the major issues affecting the sector.

In between, MPs will consider the following Bills: Property Practitioners Bill; Electronic Communications Amendments Bill; Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill; Financial Matters Amendment Bill; National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill; Division of Revenue Amendment Bill; Firearms Control Amendment Bill; Adjustments Appropriation Bill; Special Appropriation Bill and Competition Amendment Bill.

View the full schedule here.

*This summary is based on the schedule as it is published on Monday morning. The programme is subject to frequent updating so the link above needs to be checked daily to confirm the programme for the day.

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