Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: SUPPLIED

Parliament’s business of oversight of the sixth administration will kick off this week as the portfolio committees officially begin their work. 

The May 8 election was followed by a busy phase that included President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing his first cabinet and delivering his third state of the nation address, which was followed last week by a parliamentary debate and the president’s reply. 

A total of 33 oversight committees of the National Assembly as well as joint committees of both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces are scheduled to meet for the first time to elect their chairs. 

The election of committee chairs sets in motion the business of the committees, which already have key issues waiting to be dealt with.

An example of work in the offing is the DA’s request to institute removal proceedings against public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. This has been referred to the portfolio committee on justice & correctional services. 

The ANC holds the majority of members on each committee and has already nominated the candidates who it will propose as committee chairs. 

The ANC’s original announcement of its proposals for committee chairs had to be postponed for more consultation with its alliance partners. Despite the added consultation, Zuma-era ministers such as Mosebenzi Zwane and Faith Muthambi are set to chair oversight committees that are required to hold the executive to account. 

The meetings to elect chairs have been scheduled in four different, mostly hour-long, time slots on Tuesday.

Ahead of the election of the portfolio committee chairs, the DA’s chief whip, John Steenhuisen, will on Monday outline the DA’s plans to increase the participation of opposition parties when portfolio committees elect chairs on Tuesday.

The DA is set to “reveal information pertaining to the ANC’s dodgy cast of nominees for committee chairs”, the party said in a statement.

There are no plenary sittings of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in the coming week, but a joint programme committee meeting of the two houses is scheduled for Wednesday to consider parliament’s programme for the rest of the year.

On Thursday the National Assembly’s programme committee will meet to attend to the specific programme of the National Assembly, while the programme committee of the National Council of Provinces is scheduled to do the same. 

The premiers’ state of the province addresses, which open the provincial legislatures, will continue this week with Gauteng premier David Makhura setting out the line of march for SA’s economic hub on Monday. 

Also in Gauteng the commission of inquiry into state capture, chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, will continue this week. The focus continues to be on state-owned enterprises, which were severely affected by state capture. 

On Monday the commission will hear the testimony of Mathulwane Emily Mpshe, former GM of human resources at SAA. 

The commission has also said it is identifying and consulting with other witnesses who will be called over the next few weeks.

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