POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Ministers to be questioned on range of issues from jobs to prisons, police and SABC’s finances
Several cabinet ministers will face questioning in parliament this week, while the spotlight will also fall on the financial malaise at the SABC.
Parliamentary committees will continue with their oversight work and the Zondo commission investigating state capture will continue hearing evidence from witnesses.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will be in Biarritz in France on Monday for the G-7 summit and in Tokyo, Japan, from Wednesday to Friday for the summit of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development which aims to strengthen the partnership between Japan and African states. While in Tokyo he will engage with business and meet with the Japan External Trade Organisation.
On Tuesday the Commission for Employment Equity will hold a media briefing with labour minister Thulas Nxesi to launch its latest report on the transformation of the workplace. Previous reports have highlighted the slow pace of transformation, especially at senior levels of management.
On Tuesday and Wednesday ministers in the peace and justice cluster — defence and military veterans, justice and correctional services, and police — will answer questions from members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on a range of matters including whether the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on the Cape Flats to combat violent gangsterism has yielded any success.
Justice minister Ronald Lamola will be questioned on whether his department has any plans to improve the bad conditions of magistrates’ courts and whether any progress has been made in securing presidential pardons for students who were arrested during the Fees Must Fall protests.
Lamola will also be probed about what measures have been taken to address overcrowding in prisons and about the outcome of his department’s discussions with the Treasury on how to protect the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority if it were to make use of private funding.
Also to be questioned in the NCOP will be police minister Bheki Cele, who will be asked about the status of police resources in Cape Town in light of complaints that these resources are skewed to benefit affluent areas. His view will also be sought on whether the specialised crime units are vital to address serious crimes.
On Tuesday the tourism and police portfolio committees will hold a joint consultative workshop on tourist safety and security. Crime and attacks on tourists have often been cited as a deterrent against greater numbers of tourists visiting SA. The tourism sector is a key contributor to economic growth and job creation.
The communications portfolio committee will be briefed by the department of communications on the reconfiguration of the department and its entities. The committee on higher education, science and technology will be briefed by the department of higher education and training on governance in higher education and universities under administration, and also on the infrastructure development under way at new universities.
On Wednesday the same committee will be briefed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on progress in the disbursement of funding of student allowances, the restoration of governance and management, and the state of readiness for the 2020 academic year.
On Wednesday the select committee on public enterprises and communication will be briefed by the SABC on its financial stability and human resources, both of which could compromise the national broadcaster's ability to fulfill its mandate. The SABC is running at a loss and has requested a R3.2bn bailout from the government.
On Thursday statistician-general Risenga Maluleke will release the results of the nonfinancial census of municipalities 2018 at a media briefing. The census measures selected aspects of service delivery, including water, electricity, solid waste management, sewerage and sanitation, and other areas.