POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Cabinet may take major decision on Eskom and airlines
Indications have been that these crucial matters will come before the cabinet in September
Parliament will have a packed programme in a week that marks the end of its second term. Afterwards, MPs head off to their constituencies for a two-week break.
The week could see the cabinet taking ground-breaking decisions on the consolidation of the three state-owned airlines — SAA, SA Express and Mango — as well as the restructuring of flailing electricity utility Eskom.
However, these decisions could be held over pending further deliberations by cabinet and its committees. The cabinet meeting on Wednesday is usually followed by a media briefing on Thursday at which cabinet decisions are announced.
This will be the last cabinet meeting in September — they are held every two weeks — and indications have been that these crucial matters would be before the cabinet this month. Also imminent is cabinet approval for the revised Integrated Resource Plan.
On Wednesday President Cyril Ramaphosa will address an extraordinary joint session of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces on the government’s new approach to address the violence against women.
On Monday the state capture inquiry will hear from the former head of the Free State department of agriculture Peter Thabethe on the Gupta-linked Vrede dairy farm scandal.
The Treasury will begin working on the public submissions on finance minister Tito Mboweni’s economic policy paper. The deadline for comment was Sunday.
The SA Revenue Service (Sars) will brief the finance committee on Tuesday on progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Nugent commission of inquiry, which found a massive failure of governance at the institution when former commissioner Tom Moyane was at the helm.
Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter is expected to deliver the briefing and will no doubt inform MPs of the challenges he has faced in establishing the tax authority on a sound footing after the massive exodus of skilled personnel and the closure of its large-business unit.
Also on Tuesday the communications committee will be briefed by the financially threatened public broadcaster, the SABC, on its turnaround strategy and the implementation of the recommendations emanating from several reports, including those of the public protector, the auditor-general and a parliamentary ad hoc committee.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the justice and correctional services committee will hold public hearings on the Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill, which deals with information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates.
The committee on human settlements, water & sanitation will be briefed on Tuesday by the entities falling under the department, namely the water boards, catchment management agencies and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, as well as binational entities such as the Komati Basin Water Authority and the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
The National Assembly will debate an EFF motion to insource all employees of state-owned enterprises.
On Wednesday the governance cluster of ministers will answer questions from MPs in the National Assembly, and on Thursday deputy president David Mabuza will answer questions.
Wednesday's committee meetings include a meeting of the health committee, which will be briefed by the National Health Laboratory Services and the Medical Research Council on their annual performance plans and budgets, and the police committee, which will hear more about the 2018/2019 annual crime statistics from police minister Bheki Cele and police officials. The crime statistics released last week include a 3.4% increase in the murder rate in the year to end-March.
Also on Wednesday the finance committee will get the Treasury’s responses to a number of tax-related amendment bills, which have met with opposition from various sectors of the economy.
On Friday the subcommittee of the rules committee will meet to deliberate on parliamentary rules for the removal of the heads of chapter nine institutions, including the public protector. The rules committee referred the matter to a subcommittee after a request by the DA for public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to be removed from office.