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Zero-VAT Results

After VAT increased to 15%, concern about the impact on poor households led the Minister of Finance to appoint a panel of experts to evaluate the current list of zero-VAT items and consider including extra items to lessen the impact of the VAT increase on the poor.

The recently released report recommended adding these items for zero-VAT rating:

Sanitary products White bread, bread flour and cake flour School uniforms Nappies (including cloth and adult nappies)

The report also recommended strengthening the National School Nutrition Programme and increasing the Child Support Grant and Old Age Pension.

We asked you to have your and these are your suggestions that were sent to Treasury:

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Mr Motalane Monakedi (ANC)

mona

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP? I am from Limpopo, Sekhukhune district, from a village called Ga-mela. Coming from such a background I always felt the poverty in the villages could be ameliorated. I went to Jane Furse for high school studies and only then, through reading newspapers and engaging with other learners, I could understood why there was such abject poverty of the black masses. I went to Turfloop, University of Venda in 1982, and in my second year I started participating in student politics by joining the Azanian Students Organisation (AZASO), which later became Azanian Students Congress (AZASCO).

In 1984 I was one of the people who started a youth movement in Sekhukhune called Sekhukhune Youth Organisation. By 1985 our organisation was already under the banner of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

In 1987 I started working for the Detainees Support Committee which was led by Dr Mathole Motshekga. We visited political prisoners at the time to bring them blankets, clothes and other necessities. On 27 April 1987 I was arrested and detained for two years.

On 6 March 1989 I was released and restricted to Sekhukhune district, but that was later lifted due to my need to earn a living. My political activities had to be clandestine, but had continued after my release. I joined the Progressive Primary Healthcare Network (PPHN) in 1989 which had offices all over the country and I became one of the coordinators in Limpopo. PPHN was led by the late Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang with Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and others.

In 1990 I joined Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) until 1995. In the same year when the ANC was unbanned I was appointed one of the regional coordinators in Limpopo when Mr Thabo Lucas Makunyane led the province. As the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO) became the ANC Youth League (ANCYL,) I became the treasurer around 1991.

In 1995, I was elected as the ANC Regional Chairperson in Sekhukhune. In 1996, I was then elected to the Provincial Executive Council (PEC) of the ANC in Limpopo and served from 1996 until 2008. In 1995 I also had joined the provincial administration of Limpopo as an advisor to Commissioner (MEC now) Sa’ad Cachalia who was MEC for Constitutional Affairs in Limpopo. In 1996, I was sworn in as a Member of the Provincial legislature (MPL) where I served as the chairperson of chairpersons in Limpopo’s Legislature. In 2000 I was redeployed to be Executive Mayor of Capricorn District Municipality. I remained the Mayor until 2010, where I also was a PEC member and treasurer of the ANC in Limpopo until 2008.

In 2011, I was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trade and Investments in Limpopo (TIL), an entity of the Limpopo Economic Development Department. About three years into that, TIL and other entities were amalgamated into Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA) where I was the chief executive for trade investments. By this time, I had ceased to be in the PEC, but when the Capricorn district structure of the ANC was dissolved towards the 2014 general elections, the ANC had appointed me to be convener for the re-establishment of the Capricorn district structures of the ANC. With the re-establishment of the Capricorn district ANC region I was elected chairperson until June 2018. I arrived in Parliament in March 2017 as per my party request.

What does your job as an MP entail? I am currently the co-chairperson of the Joint-Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament. I have served in the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs portfolio in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Before becoming co-chairperson, the ANC had also moved me to the Select Committees on Finance and that of Appropriations in the NCOP. I am also a member of the Joint Ethics committee.

On Mondays I am at my constituency, Tuesdays until Thursdays mornings I am attending one of the four committees I am deployed to. In the afternoons, I attend NCoP plenary sessions. On Fridays, when there is no extraordinary committee session, I travel back home.

What are you finding most challenging about the Fifth Parliament? The difference is the workload when comparing the provincial legislature to the national legislature. The provincial legislatures also generally implement laws rather than making laws although they do make provincial laws from time to time.

Which constituency office have you been assigned to? Can you give examples of constituency work you engaged in? My constituency is Lebowakgomo, Limpopo. Of the work thatI have been involved with right across my political career, the mayorship of the Capricorn district had been most rewarding. We tarred major roads that linked towns like Lebowakgomo to Ga-Mphahlele and then to Burgersfort. We were also able to pipe water to villages and townships that had formerly never had piped water. Currently at my constituency, we deal with issues of insuring non-interruption of water services in Lebowa and assisting citizens to access social welfare, especially grants and human settlements matters.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? Seeing that it is my first experience of the national legislature, I am satisfied with our work although there may be challenges here and there in provinces implementing programmes and projects, especially on the oversight that councillors and provincial legislatures are supposed to be doing on departments in their provinces.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favour of electoral reform? At local government proportional representation is fine; however the calibre of people we end up deploying as councillors at municipalities remains a challenge, i.e. the actual morality and ethics of persons we deploy.

Is Parliament’s public participation model adequate/ robust enough that it affords enough public participation before a law is passed? I am satisfied with how the NCoP does its public participation, but we certainly can collaborate more with provincial governments in terms of oversight first but also delivery as well. We also can improve how we engage our provincial counterparts including departments by not being imposing when we require matters to be resolved.

What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional arena as well as personally? Being a social activist or community development worker and serving the people is my bigger passion as I have also been involved in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) by serving in boards and developing their constitutions.

What is your message to South Africa? South Africans have to remember that during elections that they are the bosses, and therefore elect political parties and individuals that are committed to improving the lot of citizens. They need to consider the track record of each political party. Of course political parties have committed mistakes and some have been found wanting, but also ensured a positive difference in the living conditions of many South Africans.

To learn more about this Member, visit his profile.

More MP blogs.


Video: Youth Monitoring Parliament

Since 1995, the Parliamentary Monitoring Group is enabling thousands of young people to go into Parliament and write detailed reports of the proceedings of the 50 oversight committees.

Here are some comments from our monitors, interns and past alumni – even two MPs are former PMG monitors.


The Week Ahead: Debates on urgent matters

The constituency period beckons with MPs in the National Assembly due to depart at the end of the week and return to Parliament on 8 October 2018. The term for NCOP delegates will conclude a week later.

There is no opportunity to go through the motions as a fair amount of heavy-duty business will be done before they go.

The NCOP has scheduled a varied programme in the main chamber this week. It will sit over three days and the main highlight is Questions to the President on Tuesday.

President Ramaphosa will be probed on a variety of issues including the governance of SOEs, expropriation of land without compensation and remarks by the President of the USA.

Read the questions here

Beyond this, the NCOP House has scheduled two debates where it will discuss the inadequate funding and low salaries paid by government to Grade R teachers, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, and Heritage Day:"Preserving cultural heritage for future generations".

Elsewhere, debates, a ministerial statement and Questions to the Deputy President dot the NA plenary programme this week.

The major points of interest in will come from three high-profile urgent debates (known as urgent matters of national public importance). The rules make it possible for individual Members to request the Speaker to allow discussion of matters they consider of sufficient immediate public importance to take precedence over other programmed business in certain circumstances.

Three legislators have persuaded the Speaker that their issues are of so serious a nature that they require immediate attention. The following debates have been scheduled:

  • Debate on urgent matter of national public importance (Mr N F Shivambu): The plight of Fees Must Fall activists
  • Debate on urgent matter of national public importance (The Leader of the Opposition): Ideas for economic revival following recession
  • Debate on urgent matter of national public importance (Mr M Hlengwa): Escalating fuel prices

Government Ministers may make oral statements to Parliament which usually addresses major incidents, government policies or actions. Each political party is allowed an opportunity to respond to such a statement. On Tuesday, the Minister of Higher Education and Training will make a statement on the developments at the National Students Financial Aid Scheme. In a recent Cabinet statement, government stated that progress has been made to clear the backlog of outstanding payments to students.

In addition, the Deputy President will have his regular engagement with lawmakers to answer oral questions and will be probed on domestic and international issues. Legislation, Committee reports and an international instrument are other agenda items that will be considered by MPs.

See the full programme here

The Committee Corridor is packed with a number of interesting meetings. Here are the highlights:

Tuesday

The South African Police Service (SAPS) will release its annual crime statistics to the Police Committee. According to some experts, this provides a useful indication of the crime situation in the country but it does not reflect the full reality and other information – like victim surveys – should be considered. Last year, the former Minister acknowledged the many changes in police commissioners in recent years contributed to inefficiencies that negatively impacted on the police’s ability to combat crime.

Wednesday

Last month, the Constitutional Review Committee met to discuss a preliminary report on the written submissions. The emerging trends showed that 59,6% thought the Constitution should not be amended, 40,14% believed that the Constitution should be amended and only 0,27% were undecided. Parliament procured the services of an outside service provider to draft the report on submissions received. Some Committee Members felt the report was unfairly biased towards the view that the Constitution should not be amended. They asked how about the service provider’s composition, what terms of reference was given to it, about the vetting of its staff and who was monitoring its work. The Committee agreed to call in the company to account for all the issues raised by Members and requested that written submissions be forwarded to all Members.

The Portfolio Committee on Labour will receive a briefing from the Department on the National Minimum Wage Regulations.

Stakeholders will give their responses to the Finance Committee on the VAT panel report. At a previous meeting, the Chairperson said, unless convinced otherwise, the majority felt the VAT hike should have a timeframe for review. This must be signalled to the Executive and they must respond to stakeholder inputs sympathetically.

Parliament’s Draft 2019/20 Budget and Annual Performance Plan will come under the microscope when the Acting Secretary briefs the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament on this topic.

Thursday

The Department of Basic Education will provide extensive details of the preparations for the 2018 NSC examinations, covering the readiness of the system to conduct examinations and interventions to ensure learners are fully prepared. Progress on the system readiness included setting and moderation of examination papers, registration of exam centres and candidates, appointment of markers, ensuring security with the printing and storage of question papers and establishing criteria for enrolment of progressed learners. The Department implemented learner support programmes in each province, such as extra weekend, morning and afternoon classes, with winter schools being a major intervention. Learners were also able to benefit from educational programmes flighted on television channels, while teachers were being assisted with development programmes.

Friday

Parliament’s Joint Rules Committee established the Subcommittee on the Report of the High-Level Panel to make recommendations about processing the Panel’s key findings. This Subcommittee has identified short, medium and long-term legislative interventions and parliamentary committees to which they should be referred. The Standing Committee on the Auditor-General will begin looking at the recommendations pertaining to the Auditor-General of South Africa.

In between, there will be detailed legislating as MPs consider the following bills: National Land Transport Amendment Bill, Banks Amendment Bill, National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill, Competition Amendment Bill, Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill, Films and Publication Bill, Ikamva National e-Skills Institute Bill, National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill, Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill, Plant Improvement Bill and Small Enterprise Ombud Service Bill.

During the constituency period, MPs have a duty to be available to the public, help solve problems and report back to their constituents on what is happening in Parliament. For more information about constituency offices, click here.

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.


The Week Ahead: Expropriation debate resumes in Parliament

It's a busy week in the main chambers. Everything from Executive Question Time, to debates, to legislative business, to statutory appointments and motions dominate the plenary agenda.

In the NA, the main highlight is the oral question session with the Minsters in the Governance Cluster. 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. Many of the questions touch on bread and butter issues and/or high-temperature business. There are ongoing complaints from the opposition about the poor attendance of Ministers, with some being repeated offenders. The Deputy President has given repeated assurance that this issue is being taken seriously and attendance will improve. Many will be keeping an eye to see if he has cracked the whip.

The Rules allow MPs to propose a subject for discussion – this mechanism provides an opportunity for the House to debate a particular topic without being required to take a decision at the end of the debate. It is meant to be a dynamic style of discussion, in which MPs generally respond to the points made by other speakers rather than reading out formal, set-piece speeches – though this is seldom upheld. This week, the subject for discussion put forward by UDM leader, Mr B Holomisa, is titled: Working towards an integrated and comprehensive infrastructure development strategy to fight poverty, inequality, unemployment and underdevelopment

Beyond this, legislators will recommend candidates for appointment to the IEC, consider assorted Committee reports and pass several Bills.

Elsewhere, it's also big week in the NCOP chamber where the main business is the oral question session with the Deputy President.

Read the questions here

Two debates are also scheduled on the programme:

-Debate on the successes and failures of provincial governments in South Africa since the start of the 5th Parliament in 2014

-Debate on International Literacy Day: “Literacy in a digital world: Taking measures to leverage the economic potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution”

There is plenty of noteworthy action in the Committee corridor. Here is a rundown of the highlights:

Tuesday

The work of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review is likely to eclipse everything else this week. The Committee was given a mandate by the NA and the NCOP to review section 25 of the Constitution, and other clauses where necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation. The Committee undertook an extensive nation-wide public hearing process from June to August. Prior to that, the public submitted written comments. From those written submissions 30 participants (representing the agricultural sector, academics, civil society organisations and the religious sectors) will be making oral submissions this week.

Click on the link for the draft programme of the hearings, which is subject to change: https://tinyurl.com/ycyuezhf

Recently, the Joint Committee met to discuss a preliminary report on the written submissions. The emerging trends showed that of the 149 886 submissions, 60 157 indicated that Section 25 of the Constitution must be reviewed while 89 327 indicated that Section 25 should not be reviewed. There were 402 submissions that were undecided. This showed that 59,6% thought that the Constitution should not be reviewed, 40,14% thought that the Constitution should be reviewed while only 0,27% were undecided.

The high line trends for those that do not want the Constitution to be reviewed speak to the fact that the Constitution in its current form already allows for expropriation without compensation. With regards to socio-economic issues, the arguments used mainly talk about the fear of loss of investment and donors, possible job losses, threats to food security and shortages and the risk of junk status. Another view that was expressed is that this whole exercise is dividing the nation instead of uniting it. Some trends showed that instead of amending the Constitution, alternative solutions to Land Reform should be found. On the side of those who supported the review of the Constitution, there is a strong view that there needs to be a recognition of the historical injustices. The current land owners acquired such land unfairly and that requires rectification. Those in favour talked about the legal entitlement of farm labourers to keep possession of land they have lived on and owned over years. Proponents further argued that land expropriation promoted nation building and equality. It would restore the dignity of the people that lost their land and reclaim the people’s cultures. We can expect these arguments to be emphasised again during the hearings. (Tuesday – Friday)

The Portfolio Committee on Communications will receive a briefing from the Department of Communications on its amended Annual Performance Plan. In addition, the Committee will shortlist candidates to be interviewed for vacancies on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) Boards. Both appointments will be heavily scrutinised given the liquidity crisis at the public broadcaster and the governance challenges at the Agency.

SCOPA will get an update from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on investigations of high profile cases. This is a follow-up briefing: earlier this year the Directorate informed lawmakers on the investigations involving former acting SAPS National Commissioner, General Khomotso Phahlane, two cases of ‘defeating the ends of justice’ by SAPS members and allegation of a corrupt relationship between members of Crime Intelligence and the service provider Brainwave.

The Minister of Energy and the Department will brief MPs on the Updated Integrated Resource Plan. Cabinet approved the publication of the Plan for public input. According to government, the finalisation of the IRP will provide the necessary certainty to industry players as well as consumers in so far as security of electricity supply in the medium to long term is concerned. (Tuesday)

The City of Cape Town will be latest municipality to appear before the Select Committee on Finance to report on its performance; including the fiscal position, revenue management, spending, infrastructure delivery and progress made with implementation of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). National Treasury had reported that the City’s audit outcomes had regressed. In addition, Treasury indicated that the most common matters impacting audit opinion across all eight metros include: Material losses (water and electricity); Material impairment of consumer debtors; Irregular and unauthorised expenditure; Restatement of corresponding figures; Non-compliance with SCM Processes; Ineffective political and administrative leadership; Slow response in improving internal controls and addressing key risk areas and Inadequate consequences for poor performance and transgression

Wednesday

Mr Markus Jooste, former Steinhoff CEO, will appear before a joint parliamentary committee to answer about the nature, causes and consequences of the sudden collapse of Steinhoff’s share value that resulted in investors and pension funds losing billions of rands, and thousands of jobs being threatened internationally and in South Africa. The former CEO had previously refused Parliament’s invitation to appear and finally relented after a summons was issued. The former CFO was subjected to a 10 hour grilling last week; this week could be similar.

The Civilian Secretariat for Police, Department of Mineral Resources, Department of Water and Sanitation will present quarterly performance reports.

Parliament’s Joint Rules Committee established the Subcommittee on Report of the High-Level Panel to make recommendations about processing the Panel’s key findings. This subcommittee has identified short, medium and long-term legislative interventions and parliamentary committees to which they should be referred. The Portfolio Committee on Labour will begin looking at the recommendations pertaining to the labour sector.

HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs will be in the spotlight when the South African National Aids Council briefs MPs on the 2017-2022 National Strategic Plan.

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises will deliberate on the Eskom inquiry report. This initial report will be sent to implicated persons to respond to the allegations against them before a final report is drafted.

The Portfolio Committee on Social Development will hear from the DSD on the effectiveness of the food distribution centres in terms of their operations, budget allocation and expenditure, difference they make in increasing access to food and how they are linked to co-operatives and Community Nutrition Development Centres.

Friday

Legislators will discuss the implementation of the Education Infrastructure Grant with the following stakeholders: National Treasury; National and provincial Education departments; National and provincial Public Works departments; Constructed Industry Development Board and Financial and Fiscal Commission.

In between, there will be some high-powered lawmaking on debt relief, payment of royalties to performers, copyright, road accident benefits, land rights, regulation and distribution of online material, national qualifications, banks, road traffic offences, land transport, e-skilling and property practitioners.

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.


The Week Ahead: Oversight & Executive Scrutiny

The major points of interest in the National Assembly chamber will come from high-profile Question Time sessions and detailed legislating.

On Thursday, the Deputy President will have his regular engagement with lawmakers when he appears to answer oral questions. In terms of the rules, these sessions happen once per month during session, are three hours long and are limited to 6 main and supplementary questions. In addition, the questions must be restricted to matters of national and international importance, as assigned to the Deputy President by the President. Currently, the Deputy President is responsible for, among other things, social cohesion, the moral regeneration movement, and is chairperson of the South African Aids Council and Human Resource Development Council so most of the questions touch on these themes.

See this week's questions

On the day before, selected Cabinet Members in the Social Services Cluster (Ministers of Arts and Culture, Basic Education, Higher Education and Training, Health, Human Settlements, Social Development, Sport and Recreation, Water and Sanitation) will be probed on a variety of issues during their turn. Everything from big-picture policy to specific scandals and non-performance will be on the radar.

Read the questions here

Beyond this, there will be a fair amount of legislative lifting with MPs set to pass four Bills. The programme is also dotted with the usual items such as Members’ statements, motions without notice and notices of motion. Elsewhere, the NCOP will return to the Free State to report back on progress made during last year’s Taking Parliament to the People programme. The oversight committees of both the NCOP and the province will make a follow-up on issues raised and commitments made.

Check out the full programme

It’s a week of blockbuster action and headline-grabbing meetings in the committee corridor. Here is a run down of the highlights:

Tuesday

Parliament passed the Expropriation bill in 2016, but it was referred back to the Legislature by President Zuma because of concerns raised about the process that was followed by the National Council of Provinces. This bill is expected to be officially withdrawn and a new one redrafted.

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has scheduled a varied and interesting agenda: this includes a briefing by the Department on the delay in effecting the Court Ruling to Open Refugee Centres in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth as well as opening of Lebombo Refugee Facility; a progress update on the issue of statelessness; and filling of the vacancies on the Electoral Commission of South Africa.

Eskom will be under the microscope at two separate meetings. Earlier in the day, the power utility will be questioned on the following: its governance challenges; status of the coal power stations; Key performance targets for 2018/19. OUTA commented that: “Eskom’s poor leadership has seen its spending and contracts in coal supply balloon out of kilter with its mandate to serve in the best interests of the public and electricity consumers”. Later, SCOPA will grill the company about deviations and expansions.

The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry has been concerned about steel and sugar tariffs for some time. Earlier this year, the Department of Trade and Industry told MPs that there were indications of modest improvements in growth in steel demand and a recovery in prices from the historic lows recorded in 2015. DTI warned that sustained recovery was uncertain due to megatrends associated with lower steel intensity. In respect of the sugar tariff, ITAC reported that small scale growers were badly affected by the current duty. They faced even tougher challenges because the smaller size of their operations, quality of land, distance from mills, different tenure system (farms on communal land) and other factors. These made their cost of production much higher than that of the average commercial farmer. The Committee will get an update on both situations at this follow-up meeting.

The National Assembly Rules Committee will consider a proposal on draft rules to remove a president from office in terms of section 89 of the Constitution to give effect to a Constitutional Court judgement. The process to formulate removal processes began several years ago. The Constitutional Court ruled, on 29 December 2017, that this be done without delay. In a majority judgement, the Court ruled that a prerequisite for the removal of the President was the holding of a factual inquiry into whether there had been serious violation of the Constitution or law, serious misconduct or the inability to perform the function of office – as outlined in Section 89 (1). The judgement also found parliamentary Committees and Ad Hoc Committees inadequate for Section 89 processes.

The Report by the Independent Panel on VAT zero-rating will be in the spotlight when the Finance Committee meets. The Panel that was appointed by the Minister of Finance to review the list of VAT zero-rated items delivered their report to the Minister on 6 August 2018. The main recommendations are that white bread, bread flour, cake flour, sanitary products, school uniforms and nappies be added to the list of zero-rated items. For each of the recommendations, the report suggests Treasury does further work to ensure that the benefits of zero-rating are not captured by producers. The Report also suggested roll-out of free sanitary products to the poor is accelerated and the potential use of expenditure programmes to mitigate the impact on poor households. Subsequently, the Minister had requested public comments on the Report, to be submitted by 31 August 2018. The Minister will present Government’s response to Panel Report after taking into account public comments and parliamentary hearings, including a final list of zero-rated items in draft legislation to Rates Bill.

Have your say on zero-VAT items

The Police Committee will be briefed by the Civilian Secretariat for Police and civil society on the statistics relating to the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) as required on a bi-annual basis by the legislation. As in previous years, the presentations are expected to show that there are significant challenges that the South African Police Service (SAPS) faces in complying with the prescripts of the Act.

Wednesday

The Finance Committee agreed to a resolution to summon the former Chief Executive Officer of Steinhoff, Mr Marius Jooste and the former Chief Financial Officer, Mr Ben la Grange, to give evidence before the relevant committees of Parliament about the nature, causes and consequences of the sudden collapse of Steinhoff’s share value that resulted in investors and pension funds losing billions of rands, and thousands of jobs being threatened internationally and in South Africa. They appearance is keenly anticipated but not guaranteed given previous attempts.

The Portfolio Committee on Police has dedicated the final week of August to gender issues. The crime stats involving women and children will be in the spotlight. SAPS, COSATU and Civil Society are expected to give input on the topic.

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs will receive a briefing from the Department on understanding the rhino demand management, preparations for CITES and findings of the Committee of Enquiry into the feasibility of legal trade in rhino horn.

In between, MPs will consider the following bills: IKamva National e-Skills Institute Bill, Immigration Amendment Bill, Civil Union Bill, Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill, Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill, Small Enterprise Ombud Bill, Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill and Restitution of Land Rights 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.


#WomensMonth: SA Women on the March

Women all over the country came together, dressed in black and red on 1 August 2018 in support of #TheTotalShutDown movement by participating in the Intersectional Women’s March against gender-based violence (GBV) to Parliament in Cape Town, the Union Buildings in Pretoria, and to the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein. According to Onica Makwakwa, national liaison for the march, “women have nothing to celebrate this Women's Month when we are dying at the rate that we are”. The position that this is a march for women by women is explained by Mpiwa Mangwiro, Regional Campaigns Specialist for Sonke Gender Justice in this clip where she says that, “the march is really about women claiming their agency to take a stand against a daily reality that is really unbearable”.

women

Periodically murder cases and those of extreme violence against women and children capture the nation and result in renewed calls for action, but in reality, most cases do not make the front pages. The outrage dies down…until next time. The statistics make for grim reading. Between April and December 2016, 1,713 were women were murdered in South Africa and in 2017, on average 109 rapes per day were reported to police. The 2016 SA Demographic and Health Survey showed that one in five (21%) women has experienced physical violence by a partner; and that 10% of women aged 18-24 experienced physical violence from a partner in the prior 12 months. Divorced or separated women (40%) were more likely to experience physical violence.

women

According to the WHO for Africa Check, the estimated global rate of femicide for 2015 was 2.4 per 100,000 women. South Africa’s rate for the same year was 9.6 per 100,000 women. This would mean that South Africa’s rate is 4 times that of the global average when considering the latest estimates.

South African women asked with this march that the outrage be turned into action. While most marches across the country closed with moments of silence for victims by midday, the group at the Union Buildings held out until late in the evening to hand over a memorandum of demands to the President. The memorandum is ‘an initial set of 24 demands that represent each year that the state has failed to ensure our [women, non-conforming women and intersectional women] constitutionally entrenched right to be free from all forms of violence since the establishment of our constitutional democracy’.

shut

Where to from here? According to reports, the work will continue with the possibility of establishing a non-profit to monitor the list of demands and the timeframes.

To get involved/volunteer, you can join the #TheTotalShutdown group on Facebook where you can access all the WhatsApp groups in the different communities. You can also find the group on Twitter @WomenProtestSA


Ms Phindiwe Samka

samka

What is your political background? How did you come to join your political party and become an MP? My political interest and activism started with the release of Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and Raymond Mhlaba. At the time they were doing underground campaigns in the Eastern Cape raising political awareness. In Bizana, when Mandisa Marasha and Ntombi Mabhude also started looking for female activists and women with an interest in politics, I then formally started participating in politics. At that time in our history the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) had not been established in Mthatha and I joined the Vukani Women’s Organisation (VWO) and we were actively championing women’s issues until 1990. With the unbanning of political parties I officially joined the ANC.

I was then working as an administrator and had been appointed organiser for the ANC in Lusikisiki. In 1991, I was employed as the ANCWL organizer for the Mthatha region when it was under the leadership of Mrs Sisulu, Ms Baleka Mbethe, Mrs Tambo and Mrs Nosiviwe Nqakula when she was the head of organising for the ANCWL.

In 1991 the ANCWL was officially launched in Durban with Winnie Madikizela Mandela as its first president. During that time I was elected into the Transkei Regional Executive Committee of the ANC. With the transition from homelands to provinces and amalgamation of regions I was elected into the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the ANC which was led by Mr Dumisani Mafu. Before moving into that role I had been moved to organising for the ANC mother body in the Butterworth region. I have also organized inthe Alfred Nzo Region during the time when from 1999-2004 I was working with Mr Mbulelo Sogoni and other leaders.

In 2004 I was deployed in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature as a whip where I have served in varied committees including social development, education, roads and public works, transport, office of the premier (OTP) and the multiparty women’s caucus. In 2014 I was then deployed in the National Council of Provinces.

What does your job as an MP entail? On Mondays I can be found at my constituency where I service about 11 wards. On Tuesday I attend the Social Services Select Committee and on Wednesdays I attend the Education and Recreation Select Committee. On Thursday it is party caucus in the morning so that the afternoon without plenary is dedicated to administration. On Fridays I return home

What are you finding most challenging about the Fifth Parliament? Management of legislatures is different from the NCOP because legislatures are empathic and supportive. When we arrived in 2014 we struggled with office space and support services from secretaries to researchers; such that that support eventually came from the home province. Committees in the NCOP oversee more departments and entities compared to provincial legislatures.

What obstacles prevent Parliament from doing its work and how would you fix it? To date I have not engaged in any new substantive policy deliberation but we certainly engage in law making and have passed quite a few bills.

Does Parliament do a good job of holding the Executive to account? If not, what can be done to improve this? We do struggle a bit and there is certainly room for improvement because sometimes Ministers do not come to committees as often as we would like them to.

Are you happy with the proportional representation system or are you in favour of electoral reform? If we were deployed according to constituency numbers we would account better even at national level. For example, one can find that the Port Elizabeth region constituency numbers were less than other regions but you find that PE would have more national deployees to Parliament. I would certainly like electoral reform to start at that level, certainly internally within political parties. At local government I would also make direct constituency based election mandatory, as that would better accountability.

Is Parliament’s public participation model adequate/ robust enough that it affords enough public participation before a law is passed? No it is not and certainly can be improved.

What are you passionate about? This applies both in a political/professional arena as well as personally? I am a social activist by nature - I would be serving in social services informally or formally

What is your message to South Africa? We need to start teaching people about democracy and what public participation is all about and the obligations and responsibility that come with that: governance is by the people for the people.

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The Week Ahead: Eclectic week of parliamentary action beckons

A combination of a heavy legislative load, the President's appearance, two conferences, debates and some important meetings, should mean plenty of fizz.

The President's oral question session on Wednesday is the high point. The President is required to answer questions of national or international importance once per term. The questions are sifted and published beforehand to ensure only questions satisfying the set criteria are put to the President. Four supplementary questions, arising from the reply to a question, are allowed. This engagement is one way in which Parliament holds the President accountable. It is also an opportunity for legislators to interact directly with the President.

President Ramaphosa will be probed on a variety of issues this week. Read the questions here

A debate to commemorate National Women's Day is a standing item on the agenda and is held every year usually around the same time as the holiday. This tradition will continue when MPs debate the emancipation and empowerment of women under the title 'Women united in moving South Africa forward'.

Continuing with this theme, Parliament has organised a women's charter review conference. The purpose is to assess progress made by government in the implementation of the imperatives set out in the 1954 Women's Charter and the 1994 Women's Charter for Effective Equality.

Beyond this, the NA plenary programme is dotted with the usual items like Members’ Statements, Motions Without Notice, Notices of Motion, passing of assorted Bills, Committee Reports and international instruments.

Elsewhere, the NCOP chamber – which will sit over two days – has arranged a varied agenda: plenary highlights include legislative business, Motions, the processing of assorted Committee Reports and a debate on addressing governance challenges in State-Owned Enterprises. In the past few months, the Minister of Public Enterprise has been on a drive to turn things around and new boards were appointed to four SOEs with more changes expected other SOEs.

The South African Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) is hosting the 3rd African Network of Parliamentary Budget Offices (AN-PBO) Conference over two days. The conference will take place in the parliamentary precinct and will see the PBO welcoming delegates from across Africa as well as from other institutions tasked with supporting parliamentarians in the oversight of public finances.

View the full programme here.

Meanwhile, there’s lots of action in Committee-land, with a few Cabinet Ministers set to make appearances. Here is a run down of highlights:

South Africa’s policy of allowing the hunting of captive-bred lions has been severely criticised and has threatened the country's reputation as an international wildlife and conservation destination. In order to address this, the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs has arranged a two-day colloquium titled 'Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country' to give stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the issue. (Tuesday and Wednesday)

The public broadcaster has recently attracted negative headlines for a variety of issues: it is alleged that it has a liquidity crisis, can't pay independent producers and is in need of another bailout. It also had to reverse a decision not to broadcast PSL games on radio following public pressure. All of this and other related issues will be the on the agenda when the Portfolio Committee on Communications meets with the Minister and the SABC. The Committee will also shortlist candidates to be interviewed for vacancies on the SABC Board and MDDA Board. (Tuesday)

A ministerial task team recommended that History should be a compulsory subject (replacing Life Orientation) in schools from 2023. The proposal has received mixed reaction and will be the focus of the meeting between lawmakers and the Department of Basic Education. The other item is the Department’s Draft Rural Education Policy. (Tuesday)

Last week, the Portfolio Committee on Energy was supposed to receive a briefing from the Minister and the Department of Energy on the fuel price. The meeting was scheduled because of the public debate about the high fuel price and the impact it not only has on businesses but households too. The meeting was meant to serve as a platform to inform the Committee and the South African public at large about the cause of the ever-increasing fuel prices and the strategies in place to help bring the fuel prices down. The meeting had to be cancelled and rescheduled due to the non-attendance of the Minister and the department officials. (Tuesday)

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs will begin the second phase of the IEC Commissioner appointment process. There are three vacancies that need to be filled. Last month, a Panel released the names of the eight candidates that were forwarded to Parliament for further consideration and recommendation to the President. (Tuesday)

SAPS will brief MPs on several important issues: High Profile Cases; Public Violence and Restructuring Plans/Senior appointments. (Wednesday)

SCOPA will be meeting with Eskom to discuss deviations and expansions at the public utility for the 3rd and 4th quarter. National Treasury had previously expressed concern about the regular use of deviations and expansions and that this was becoming a norm. The Committee began meeting with the affected departments and entities to get clarity and satisfaction that this practice did not represent an abuse of resources. It should only be used on rare occasions (Wednesday)

The DA Chief Whip, Mr J Steenhuisen, requested that Parliament remove the Public Protector from Office on the grounds of incompetence. As part of his reasoning, he cited the judgement by Judge Murphy who found that the Public Protector grossly overreached her powers when she recommended in her report that the Constitution be amended to alter the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank and that she sought to dictate to Parliament, to whom she is accountable, how and when legislation should be amended. In his view, her actions compromised the independence of Parliament and the effectiveness of parliamentary procedures. Mr Steenhuisen presented his request to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services and was asked to submit a report that was referred to the Public Protector for her comments. The Committee will deal with the responses by the Public Protector this week. (Wednesday)

The Public Service Commission will brief legislators on the factors impeding government departments from achieving set targets of 2% for persons with disability and 50% for Women in Senior Management Services level. (Wednesday)

The Portfolio Committee on Social Development will hear from the National Development Agency and the Department of Social Development on the capacitation of Non Profit Organisations (NPO) and compliance to the NPO Act.

The Joint Constitutional Review Committee was given a mandate by the NA and the NCOP to review section 25 of the Constitution, and other clauses where necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation. The Committee is expected to report back to Parliament by 11 September. This week, it will give an update on the progress made and finalise selection of participants for oral representation on the proposed review of section 25 of the Constitution. (Wednesday)

In between, there will be a lot of detailed legislating on the following bills: Customary Initiation Bill; Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill; Traditional Courts Bill; Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill; Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill; Taxation Laws Amendment Bill; Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill; National Credit Amendment Bill; Ikamva National e-Skills Institute Bill; Copyright Amendment Bill; Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill (a Private Member’s Bill); Films and Publication Bill and amendments to the Parliament and Provincial Medical Aid Scheme Act.

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.