POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: SA heads into level 3 — with some sticking points
SA will head into a less strict level of the national lockdown on Monday, when most of the economy will reopen.
The country has been under a strict lockdown for more than two months, in which the economy was forced to a halt and citizens’ freedoms were severely curtailed as they were bound to their homes by law.
On Monday, as SA moves to level 3 of the risk-adjusted strategy, most sectors of the economy are set to restart, while some freedom of movement will return, such as being able to exercise for more than three hours a day and being able to buy alcohol after a prohibition on the sale of it since the start of the lockdown.
The phase, however, brings a fair share of controversy as places of worship will be able to hold services with fewer than 50 people. The decisions, and a continued ban on the sale of tobacco products, have been under attack.
While the country settles into level 3, the National Council of Provinces will have its first virtual sitting to consider the Division of Revenue Bill.
The bill provides for the equitable division of funds raised nationally among the national, provincial and local spheres of government for a particular financial year.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni tabled the bill when he delivered the 2020 budget speech to parliament, and it was passed by the National Assembly on March 18.
Since then, however, the government announced a huge R500bn stimulus package, which would be funded through a variety of loans, as well as in part by the existing budget.
Parliament’s portfolio committees will continue this week, and 29 meetings are scheduled to take place from Tuesday to Friday.
On Tuesday, the standing committee on finance and the select committee on finance will be briefed by the Public Investment Corporation, Africa’s largest asset manager, on the report by judge Lex Mpati after a judicial commission of inquiry.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed the commission, headed by Mpati, the former judge president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, in 2018 to probe alleged governance failures at the institution, which manages about R2-trillion and has the Government Employees Pension Fund as its biggest client.
On Wednesday, the portfolio committee on pubic enterprises and the select committee on public enterprises and communication will be briefed by Eskom on its recovery plan and the progress in unbundling SA’s broke power utility into three independent entities.
Eskom has used the gap provided by decreased electricity consumption during the lockdown to do needed maintenance.
Also on Wednesday, the standing committee on appropriations and the select committee on appropriations will be briefed by the National Treasury on the 2020 appropriations bill.
This while the portfolio committee on small business development and the select committees on trade & industry, economic development, small business development, tourism, employment and labour will be briefed by the department of small business development on an overview of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in distress across the various sectors and provinces. The department will also give feedback on implementing the Covid-19 interventions for SMMEs and co-ops.
The DA will be in court on Monday to challenge the discrimination related to who qualifies for relief in terms of the SMME fund.
Update: May 31 2020
This article has been updated to remove the opening of schools on Monday.