POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Private healthcare, SARS and land in focus
Land expropriation, tax matters and the dynamics of the private healthcare market will be some of the highlights of this week.
It kicks off on Monday with the continuation of hearings by the joint constitutional review committee into section 25 of the Constitution, with one delegation of the committee sitting in Mpumalanga and the other in the Free State. The hearings will last for three days.
The committee is probing whether it is necessary to change the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation in the public interest. Hearings are being held throughout the country to hear the views of interested parties.
Also on Monday Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and South African Revenue Service commissioner Mark Kingon will host an event in Alberton to mark the opening of the tax season for 2018. The minister will give a keynote address at the function. SARS faces a major challenge in achieving its revenue targets in the face of sluggish economic growth.
Also on Monday the head of the commission of inquiry into SARS, Judge Robert Nugent, will hand down his decision on the participation of lawyer Michael Katz on the inquiry panel after the lawyer of suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane raised concern over Katz’s presence on the commission, based on the fact that he is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s personal lawyer and friend.
Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe is due to appear before the judicial conduct tribunal on Monday on charges of gross misconduct. This is related to a 2008 complaint by Constitutional Court judges that Hlophe had improperly sought to influence the outcome of a judgment relating to the prosecution of then ANC president Jacob Zuma on corruption charges.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Parliament’s police portfolio committee will deliberate on submissions made on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Amendment Bill.
Parliament was directed by the Constitutional Court in 2016 to cure the defects in the act so as to give Parliament an oversight role in relation to the suspension, discipline or removal of the executive director of Ipid rather than this power residing exclusively with the minister of police.
Wednesday marks the start of the hearing by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors into a former auditor of KPMG who was responsible for the audit of the Gupta-owned Linkway Trading, which allegedly laundered public funds channelled to the Estina dairy farm to pay for the lavish Gupta family wedding at Sun City in 2013.
Also on Wednesday, the portfolio committee on social development will hear submissions from the Department of Social Development and a number of nongovernmental organisations on the escalating statistics of rape and the kidnapping of children in the country.
The South African Social Security Agency will also brief the committee on the reasons for the long queues at pay points for social grants and how this is being dealt with.
On Thursday the long-awaited preliminary report of the inquiry by the Competition Commission into the state of competition and costs in the private healthcare market will be released by the leader of the inquiry Judge Sandile Ngcobo.
The panel for the inquiry began its work in 2014 and the release of its preliminary report has been delayed repeatedly.
There is great interest in what the panel has identified as the drivers of cost price escalation in the private healthcare market and in its recommendations on how this can be addressed.
A comprehensive study by Ipsos on the illicit tobacco trade in the country will be released on Thursday by the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa.