The Week Ahead: Women’s Parliament & the recent unrest top this week’s parliamentary agenda

23 Aug 2021 (2 months ago)

week-ahead poster

An eclectic week of parliamentary action beckons in the main chambers and Committee Corridor.

A combination of Question Time session, a sectoral parliament, a debate, legislative business and several high-profile Committee meetings, should mean plenty of fizz.

In the second week of July 2021, the country experienced unprecedented levels of unrest and destruction of public and private property. These acts of violence started in KwaZulu–Natal and spread to parts of Gauteng. More than 300 people died.

The ripple-effect has been enormous with infrastructure destroyed, supply chains disrupted, food security threatened, racial tensions inflamed and the country’s reputation and investment taking a knock.

As a result of this impact and public outcry, Parliament had to respond and it did so on many fronts. Several Committees convened meetings to receive updates on the situation and how government plans to respond to this. In addition, many undertook oversight visits to assess the extent of the looting and its impact. These Committees compiled reports, which will be discussed during Tuesday and Wednesday’s plenary. In summary, the reports highlight:

  • The role of the state is to protect and defend its citizens and property; however, the recent unrest has shown significant shortcomings, which resulted in the loss of lives and would have a negative impact on the broader economy.

  • The South African Police Service had not adequately dealt with the unrest.

  • The law enforcement should investigate the alleged instigators’ attempt to destabilise the economy.

  • There is a need for the various government departments and entities to support communities and assist affected businesses to rebuild.

Read: Committee Reports

Beyond this, two parliamentary inquiries have been established. The Portfolio Committee on Police will look into the events prior, during and after. The investigation will also establish how law enforcement agents participated in the looting, what consequence management has been put in place and what lessons have been learned. Meanwhile, the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence will inquire into allegations of intelligence failures by the intelligence services.

On Wednesday, the NCOP will debate: the recent public violence, looting and destruction of property: “Peace, stability and rebuilding beyond the public violence, looting and destruction of property”

On the following day, the Deputy President will be probed on a variety of topics during his regular Question Time session. Two of the six questions are about the recent unrest and its impact.

In addition, The NCOP has arranged a Ministerial Briefing Session on Youth Poverty and Unemployment: "Interventions to address youth unemployment and poverty". This is scheduled for Tuesday. These sessions have become a regular feature in the NCOP and usually involve the provincial governments and provincial legislatures.

Nation-wide public hearings on the Expropriation Bill will conclude on Sunday, 29 August. The Hearings in the Northern Cape wrap up on Tuesday before moving to the final stop – the Free State – on Thursday. Follow here.

The week rounds off with a Women’s Parliament under the theme "Advancing Gender Equality, Through Inclusive Economic Growth and the precepts of a Capable Developmental State". According to Parliament, “the session will serve as a reflection of progress made in implementing the 2020 Women's Parliament Undertakings” Traditionally, the session includes stakeholders and officials from all levels of government in order to provide a full picture on the impact of interventions across the country.

Read: Report on 2020 Women's Parliament

Read: Representation and Participation of Women in Parliament

The Committee corridor is packed with meetings. Here is a run down of the highlights:

MONDAY, 23 AUGUST 2021

Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [CLOSED MEETING], Committee Room V475, Fourth Floor, Old Assembly Building, 09:00-15:00

TUESDAY, 24 AUGUST 2021

Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Discussion on the Pension Funds Amendment Bill [B30 – 2020]] Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa on the expenditure of the allocations made during the 2020 Supplementary Budget and 2021 national budget], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Portfolio Committee on Police, (National Assembly), [SAPS presentations: Briefing by CFR on the modernisation plan and the building; Report on Firearm Amnesty; Report on stolen firearms at stations; Report on Central Firearm Registry; Report on Forensic Science Laboratories], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the DTIC, the IDC and the NEF on economic recovery support interventions; Briefing on the mandate, function and operation of SASRIA], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, (National Assembly), [A comprehensive briefing by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on risks, threats and challenges in the mining and energy sector, respectively], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:00

Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, (National Assembly), [Adoption of the minutes from the previous meeting; Adoption of the Third Term Programme, 2021; Responses by the Department on their interventions taken by the Department to ensure compliance by ESKOM and SASOL with Environmental laws; Follow up meeting with the SANParks land claimants on their complaints raised during the Portfolio Committee oversight visit to Kruger National Park; and Briefing by the South African National Parks on the Fourth Quarterly Performance Report for 2020/21], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-13:30

Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, (National Assembly), [Input by various Departments on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill; Public hearings on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30

Standing Committee on Public Accounts, (National Assembly), [Hearing on DENEL SIU investigations], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:30-13:00

Select Committee on Finance, (National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by National Treasury and PBO on the economic impact of the recent unrest], Virtual Meeting Platform, 16:00

WEDNESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2021

Standing Committee on Finance, (National Assembly), [Discussion on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill [B5 – 2020]], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00

Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour, (National Assembly), [Clause-by-clause consideration of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases and the Employment Equity Amendment Bills], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00

Standing Committee on Appropriations, (National Assembly), [Briefing by National Treasury on the implementation of the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as well as Operation Vulindlela and the implications on fiscal consolidation], Virtual Meeting Platform, 09:00-12:00

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committee on Social Development and Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, (National Assembly), [Briefing by the Department of Social Development and Department of Basic Education on the update on the migration of Early Childhood Development (ECD)], Virtual Meeting Platform, 10:00-13:00

Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (Steering Committee), [Gender-based Violence and Femicide Support Fund briefing; National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence: Lead departments’ report-back on the implementation of Pillar 1: Accountability, Coordination and Leadership] Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00

THURSDAY, 26 AUGUST 2021

Joint Standing Committee on Defence, (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces), [Briefing by the NCACC on its 1ST Term Quarterly Reports; Update from NCACC on all ongoing investigations related to suspected contravention of end-user certificates and /or the NCACC Act; Application backlog – total and value and knock-on effect on Defence Industry etc.; Progress report on the proposed amendment of the NCACC Act; Consideration and adoption of outstanding minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform, 18:00-21:00

Committees provide a platform for the public to present views directly to MPs. Share your on the ground experience and expert information to the relevant committees. Critically, what questions should MPs pose to the Executive as they conduct their oversight work?

We have consolidated our reports on the COVID-19 related meetings here.

View the schedule page 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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