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The Week Ahead: President, Annual Reports & Provincial Week Top Agenda

The major point of interest will come from the high-profile Question Time session with the President in the National Assembly chamber.

The President will have his regular engagement with lawmakers on Thursday. In terms of the rules, these oral question sessions happen once per term, are three hours long and are limited to six main and supplementary questions. This is his final interaction with NA lawmakers for this year.

President Ramaphosa will be probed on a variety of issues this week, including the recently unveiled stimulus and recovery plan, the spate of community protests, SA's role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and the loan agreement signed with China.

Read the questions here

It's a another big week in the Committee corridor where lawmakers will be dealing with leftover Annual Reports and finalising Budgetary Review and Recommendations Reports (BRRRs) which must be completed before the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement is delivered on 24 October.

Section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (No. 9 of 2009) compels the National Assembly to, through its Committees, submit annual BRR Reports on the financial performance of departments and entities accountable to Parliament. The BRR Report must be informed by a Committee’s interrogation of, amongst others, national departments’ Estimates of National Expenditure, strategic priorities, measurable objectives and forward-funding needs, National Treasury-published expenditure reports, the relevant Annual Reports and financial statements, the Auditor-General of South Africa’s (AGSA) audit findings as well as observations made during all other oversight activities. The Report further makes budget review and recommendations for consideration by the Minister responsible for the Vote as well as the Minister of Finance.

This gruelling schedule has again brought into sharp focus the tight deadlines and raises questions about how effective parliamentary oversight is. On several occasions, the proceedings were hurried, questions were not probing and MPs were presented with the documents for the first time at the meeting. While it has become practice for Ministers and Deputy Ministers to be present at these meetings, some failed to pitch up - much to the consternation of legislators. Besides budget-related matters, everything from statutory appointments, detailed-lawmaking and big-picture policy will be under the microscope.

Elsewhere, the National Council of Provinces delegates will spend the week in various provinces visiting projects and checking on service delivery – as part of Oversight Week - interacting with government officials, the business sector and the public. Each Committee or cluster of Committees (if there are cross-cutting issues) chooses their own oversight priorities and which province(s) to visit. The Ad Hoc Committee to Inquire into the Intervention in the North West Provincial Government, in terms of Section 100 of the Constitution, will embark on a week-long oversight visit to the province. Due to several governance challenges observed in the North West province, Cabinet resolved, on 9 May 2018, to invoke section 100(1) of the Constitution in the North West Provincial Government. This is the Committee’s second visit to the province after the previous trip had to be aborted due various logistical and other challenges.

Once again, the Committee corridor is the main site for most of the work – there are approximately 50 meetings scheduled. Here is a run down of the highlights:

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will be in the spotlight when the Portfolio Committee on Energy holds two days of public hearings on the topic. Experts, stakeholders and other interested persons are expected to give their views on the long-term planning of power (electricity) generation from various energy resources in South Africa. (Tuesday and Wednesday)

Read this useful summary about what the IRP 2018 is all about: https://www.esi-africa.com/what-is-the-irp-2018/

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has arranged a wide-ranging meeting to discuss topical issues affecting the agricultural sector: this includes implementation of the Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan; challenges facing the poultry industry and decline in agricultural productivity. (Tuesday)

Legislators will shortlist candidates to be interviewed to fill vacancies on the SABC Board. Thereafter, this recruitment process will be followed by qualification verification check; state security consultation; public participation; interview process; deliberations process; Committee recommendation and National Assembly adoption. (Tuesday)

SCOPA had previously expressed concern about huge sums of money being spent on maintaining ministerial residences and that some of them were not even occupied. The Committee will tackle this matter head on when it meets with the Prestige Portfolio. (Wednesday)

It’s taken about 16 months, hours of testimony and volumes of documents but finally the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises is set to consider the first draft of the Eskom Inquiry report. The Committee will be presented with the initial report - thereafter it will be sent to implicated persons to respond to the allegations against them before a final report is drafted. (Wednesday)

In between, legislation will be a key focus with Committees dealing with several Bills at various stages of their passage: iKamva Bill, Competition Amendment Bill; Municipal Structures Amendment Bill; Copyright Amendment Bill; Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill; Rates and Monetary Amounts; Tax Bills and Electronic Deeds Registration Systems 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.


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: Annual Reports & MTBPS

MPs head back to Parliament this week for the final term. This session runs for 8 weeks and will be packed with activities. Some of the highlights include committee, oversight and legislative work, oral questions to the Executive, important debates, Taking Parliament to the People initiative and a review of the national budget. That said the timetable is fluid and can be overtaken by unscheduled debates, statements and events.

Annual Report Season and Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)

It's that time of the year when parliamentary committees conduct performance assessments of government departments and entities. The performance assessments will be achieved through the scrutiny of their 2017/18 Annual Reports and financial statements. This will enable committees to compile an informed Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR). These Reports include recommendations on the future use of resources and are a critical part of Parliament’s engagement with the budget.

One of the regular criticisms about the Annual Report season is that timeframes are very short and meaningful public engagement does not take place. In order to address this, the Finance and Appropriations Committees were tasked to review the implementation of the Money Bills Act. During hearings on the Bill, critics reaffirmed this criticism highlighting that committees needed time to apply their minds, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) and other advisory bodies needed time to do substantive analysis and the public needed time to absorb details and make representations. The Joint Committee has not finalised its work so the usual problems will persist for a little while longer.

Later this month, the Minister of Finance will present the MTBPS to the National Assembly, together with the Adjustments Appropriation Bill and Division of Revenue Law Amendment Bill. The MTBPS outlines the economic context against which the 2019 budget is being formulated and sets out the spending framework for the next three years. It is an opportunity for government to modify expenditure and revenue patterns so that delivery is accelerated. Another thing to look out for is whether any party will try to make amendments to the Adjustment Appropriations Bill – the DA tried unsuccessfully for the past few years and will probably do so again this year.

Legislation

MPs are expected to do some heavy legislative lifting this term as there are 59 bills currently before the legislature and still more expected to arrive. The leftover bills cover an array of issues, including cyber crimes, customary initiation, critical infrastructure protection, credit, copyright, hate speech and hate crimes and property practitioners. There are also a number of Private Members' Bills to consider.

Because the Fifth Parliament is winding down and there is a backlog, we can expect to see legislation and important business being rushed to the finishing line while other less urgent parliamentary business is dropped for lack of time.

State of Capture Investigations

There is pressure mounting on Parliament to fast track its investigations into state capture.

In mid-2017, the Portfolio Committees on Home Affairs, Mineral Resources, Public Enterprises and Transport were directed to investigate accusations of state capture linked to alleged emails involving a number of Ministers. While no specific deadline was set for the submission of the outcome of these investigations, the committees were urged to begin with the work and report their recommendations to the House urgently.

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, which focused on the mismanagement of state funds at Eskom, was expected to finalise its report in the previous quarter but failed to do so. The Home Affairs Committee, which is looking at the naturalisation of the Gupta family, has made significant progress with its inquiry but still has to probe the Minister and Mr Ashu Chawla. The other two committees have been slow to get to get off the ground. When you take into account their other priorities, it is clear time is against these committees and drastic steps are needed.

Section 25 review

The work of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review is again likely to eclipse everything else this term. 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.

Deliberations on the public hearings and written inputs have stalled owing to the volume of submissions and question marks about the service provider that was tasked to collate and summarise the written inputs. As a result, the Committee requested a postponement to report back to Parliament -initially this was supposed to be end of September - but did not specify a deadline keeping in mind the busy parliamentary calendar in the fourth quarter of the year.

Elections & politicking

With the elections looming large, political parties are going all out to win over voters. With this in mind we can expect MPs to use every possible parliamentary occasion - question times, Members’ statements, debates, whatever – to target hot button electoral issues and try to score points over their opponents. Fuel prices, gender-based violence, unemployment and bailouts for struggling SOEs are just a sample of the main issues that will be in the spotlight.

Turning to this week, there are no plenary sittings scheduled in the NA Chamber. However, the NCOP chamber has arranged 2 sessions: on Tuesday the Deputy President will answer oral questions and the following day delegates will debate Transport Month.

In Committee-land, the schedule is bursting and the agenda is largely one-sided: scrutiny of annual reports. MPs will certainly be earning their pay due to the volume and length of meetings. We can expect an impressive array of Cabinet Ministers in the Committee corridor during this time.

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.


Dr Celiwe Madlopha (ANC)

celiwe

How did you become involved in politics and particularly, what drew you to your specific party? In 1982 conditions were terrible in high school - the teaching was poor and the toilets were a health hazard. As part of our school fees, we were forced to give R1 to the IFP and for three years we paid money into a fund to build a hall that never materialised. I was elected by fellow learners to be part of a group mandated to take up these challenges with the principal and parents. This led to us being arrested in 1985 due to a disagreement with school management.

After being released from jail we just continued where we left off and this led to the school being closed after the intervention of school inspectors. But although we had won our demands, we were still behind in our studies for the matric exams. We managed to pass because while we were suspended we were working with other comrades in other schools in study groups.

The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) moulded my early political awareness and then later the United Democratic Front (UDF). I was also part of the mobilisation for the formation of COSATU in 1985. I was leaning a lot about the history of our struggle and about how brutal the Apartheid regime could be. I got a taste of that brutality when my eardrum was damaged by police in 1985 during a strike.

How did you then become an MP for the party? Due to my record as a community activist, the branches of the ANC elected me to the parliamentary list and this was okayed by the leadership the ANC. I have been a member of the National Assembly since November 2010 and have served on the Portfolio Committees on Public Works, Appropriations and Social Development

What is your impression of the Fifth Parliament? I don’t like the way the current Parliament has become notorious for chaos, including disrespect for the decorum that had traditionally been associated with previous Parliaments. We have become a laughing stock amongst our people and others around the world.

Where is your constituency? What constituency work have you been involved in and what interests you most about constituency work? Since 2012, my constituency has been in Eshowe, uMlalazi Municipal area. Through working with the Department of Energy, Eskom, and the local municipality, electricity installation is now about 75%. With the assistance of the former Premier, I obtained a donation of 10 computers for a school in Ward 17 and we partnered with a local Inkosi on programs to fight HIV/ AIDS through cultural teaching of young girls and boys, including circumcision for young boys. We partnered with religious and traditional leaders and have dialogues on their respective roles in the fight against social ills and we built a four-roomed furnished house for a Ward 9 indigent family. When you do work in your constituency, whatever small thing you do, you feel great that you have contributed to making a difference in someone’s life.

What are you most passionate about? I am passionate about politics, because to me it is about changing the lives of people for the better. This is done through coming up with policies mostly focusing on the majority of the previously and currently disadvantaged and implementing them, i.e. putting vision into action.

What is your message to South Africans? I think our people must understand that the damage made by Apartheid is so huge that it cannot be reversed within a short space of time. They need to work with the government and us as public representatives to change their plight. They must never burn the assets built by government because that reverses progress.

To learn more about this Member, visit her profile.

More MP blogs.


Everything You Need to Know About Constituency Offices

Many are unaware of the fact that even though South Africa makes use of a Proportional Representation electoral system, meaning that our elected representatives (Members of Parliament) are not elected from geographic areas in the way Ward Councillors are in Local Government elections, MPs remain duty-bound to interact with the public. One way in which this interaction is carried out is through Constituency Offices.

People's Assembly aims to connect the public and their elected representatives. We've put together a piece explaining constituency offices in more detail and how People's Assembly makes it easier to access your MPs and constituency offices!

https://www.pa.org.za/media_root/file_archive/PCOs_updated2.jpg


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:

zero


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.


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.