Parliament will be a hive of activity this week as several key sessions are on the cards.
This morning, there will be a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to debate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), in which he made bold commitments and heralded a call for unity among all South Africans.
The joint sitting for the debate starts at 10am and is due to end at around 8pm.
On Tuesday, President Ramaphosa will reply to the debate on his address at another joint sitting of the National Assembly and NCOP starting at 2pm.
On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance will deliver the Budget Speech to a plenary sitting of the National Assembly starting at 2pm. This year, in addition to the focus on South Africa’s growth forecast and inflation rate, the Minister’s Budget Speech is expected to focus on much publicised issues such as education, the unemployment rate and how to plug the budget shortfall.
“Close scrutiny of government spending and revenue collection is key to Parliament fulfilling its constitutional mandate of maintaining oversight over executive action and policy implementation,” Parliament said on Sunday.
On Thursday, a plenary sitting of the National Assembly will include condolences for Laloo Chiba. The former Robben Island prisoner and ANC freedom fighter passed away in December 2017. He was elected as a Member of Parliament in South Africa’s first non-racial democratic election in 1994 and again in the 1999 election.
In addition to these sessions, 28 parliamentary committee meetings are also scheduled for this week.
These include a briefing from the Minister of Finance on the 2018 Budget, a public hearing on the National Research Foundation Bill and briefings and consideration of another 10 bills. These are the National Forests Amendment Bill, the National Land Transport Amendment Bill, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Amendment Bill, the Border Management Authority Bill, the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the Films and Publication Amendment Bill and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Amendment Bill.
Other matters scheduled to feature at committee meetings include subjects of public interest, briefings on progress with specific government programmes and briefings on quarterly and annual reports of government departments and entities.