The first quarter of the 2018 parliamentary programme promises to be one of the busiest as the institution continues to “deepen its constitutional function of legislating, overseeing executive action, and facilitating public participation”, the legislature said.
Among the key parliamentary activities taking place during this quarter were the state-of-the-nation address (Sona), the budget speech, the National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP) mid-term review, the rules review on the impeachment of a president, and the investigation into Steinhoff’s “corporate corruption”, parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.
Parliamentary committees’ work started much earlier than usual, with the National Assembly (NA) rules review subcommittee meeting to develop rules and procedures for implementation of section 89 (1) of the Constitution that deals with the impeachment of a sitting president, in line with the judgment of the Constitutional Court. The committee was expected to finalise these provisions and submit them for the approval of the rules committee of the NA before the end of February, he said.
A rules dialogue, hosted by the secretaries to the NA and the NCOP, would be held with key stakeholders, political commentators, and the media in Johannesburg on January 26. The first leg of the rules dialogue was held in parliament in November.
A joint sitting of the standing committee on finance, the standing committee on public accounts, and the portfolio committee on public service and administration was scheduled for January 30 and 31 to deal with the Steinhoff scandal. The portfolio committee on public enterprises would continue with its inquiry into Eskom.
The usual empowerment programme for members of the NA was scheduled for January 23 to 26, while members of the NCOP would be trained on January 30 and 31.
The NCOP would hold a two-day plenary session on February 6 and 7 to review its mid-term report as part of its ongoing celebration of 20 years since its establishment. The review would be conducted in collaboration with the provincial legislatures and the South Africa Local Government Association (Salga), which represents municipalities.
“These activities represent, arguably, an unprecedented intensity in the build-up to the state-of-the-nation address that is scheduled for 8 February 2018 when a joint sitting of the NA and the NCOP will mark the official start of the programme of parliament for the year,” Mothapo said.
The Sona would be debated on February 13 and 14, followed by the reply of the president on February 15. The national budget would be presented on February 21 by the minister of Finance, outlining how the priorities of government presented in the Sona would be resourced, he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)