LEGISLATIVE BATTLES AND POLICY MATTERS: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM PARLIAMENT IN 2017
The upcoming Parliamentary calendar promises to be a busy one with all eyes set on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2017 National Budget Speech in Parliament this week. This as we know will be followed by legislative battles and policy matters, which will all draw from the Finance Minister’s Budget and SONA. We take a look at what main issues and stories will dominate Parliamentary headlines this year:
There is bound to be a number of big appointments and challenges over the leadership of key institutions, namely South African Airways; National Prosecuting Authority; The Hawks; South African Police Services; SARS and SABC.
There are around 30 Bills expected to be finalized within the first Parliamentary term. These include the processing of the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill; Copyright Amendment Bill; Regulation of Landholdings Bill; Liquor Amendment Bill and the Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, among others.
In accelerating land reform and redistribution, it is also expected that Parliament will hasten the matter on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, after the Constitutional Court declared the Act invalid. If you would recall, last year the Concourt found that that proper consultation was not done before passing the law. Also, the High Level Panel tasked with assessing the impact of key legislation in accelerating change and transformation will publish its report this year.
Committees and Plenary
Much of the nitty gritty work of Parliament takes place in committees, as they exercise oversight on the government executive and examine government policy, new laws and other topics such as the budget and economy. This year some of the pressing issues expected to come out of these committees are the National Minimum Wage; Drought; National Gambling Policy; Sugar tax; Performance of SOEs; Jobs and the Economy; Women’s rights, and Fees for Higher Education, to name but a few.
We are expecting to hear more on the proposal to move Parliament to Pretoria, after a feasibility study was put to tender late last year. The study is looking into the economic implications of the move, which include the cost of erecting new legislative buildings, housing facilities for senior staff and the relocation of thousands of workers, in total estimated to be R7 billion.
Cape Town benefits greatly from being the Parliamentary Capital and it would be interesting to see how its economy could be effected if the move to Pretoria were to be approved. There is however doubt that the plan will ever see the light of day because there is too much at stake but is it worth a thought within our industry and others perhaps!
Whats’s on your wishlist for Parliament?
Let us know on Twitter @tbcza what urgent issues you think should be prioritized by Parliament in the first term of 2017?
(Article source: Parliamentary Monitoring Group – www.pmg.org.za)