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CAPE TOWN, South Africa, January 15, 2018/ — The first quarter of the 2018 programme of Parliament is promising to be one of the busiest as the institution continues to deepen its constitutional function of legislating, overseeing executive action and facilitating public participation.

Amongst the key parliamentary activities taking place during this quarter are the State of the Nation Address, the Budget Speech, National Council of Provinces’ midterm review, rules review on the impeachment of a President and investigation into Steinhoff’s corporate corruption.

Parliamentary Committees’ work started much earlier than usual, with the National Assembly Rules Review Sub-committee meeting to develop rules and procedures for the implementation of Section 89 (1) of the Constitution that deals with the impeachment of a sitting President, in line with the judgment of the Constitutional Court. The committee is expected to finalise these provisions and submit them for the approval of the Rules Committee of the NA before the end of February.

A Rules Dialogue, hosted by the Secretaries to the NA and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), will be held with key stakeholders, political commentators and the media in Johannesburg on 26 January 2018. The first leg of the Rules Dialogue was held in Parliament in November.

A joint seating of the Standing Committee on Finance, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, is scheduled for 30-31 January to deal with the Steinhoff scandal. The portfolio committee on public enterprises will continue with its inquiry into Eskom.

The usual empowerment programme for members of the NA is scheduled for the 23-26 January, while members of the NCOP will be trained on the 30-31 January 2018.

The NCOP will hold a two-day (06 – 07 Feb) plenary session to review its midterm report as part of its ongoing celebration of 20 years since its establishment. The review will be conducted in collaboration with the Provincial Legislatures and the South Africa Local Government Association (SALGA) that represents the municipalities.

These activities represent, arguably, an unprecedented intensity in the build-up to the State of the Nation Address, that is scheduled for 8 February 2018, when a joint sitting of the NA and the NCOP will mark the official start of the programme of Parliament for the year. Preparations are on course for this flagship gathering that gets attended by all three arms of the state, captains of various industries, representatives of all three spheres of government, who-is-who of the South African society and citizens. Parliament will keep the citizens and stakeholder updated on the state of readiness for this pinnacle event in the corporate calendar of Parliament.

The State of the Nation Address will be debated on 13-14 February, followed by the reply of the President on 15 February. The national Budget will be presented on 21 February 2018 by the Minister of Finance, outlining how the priorities of government presented in the SONA will be resourced.

In March, the NCOP will embark on its flagship outreach programme of Taking Parliament To The People in two Eastern Cape districts, Amathole and Alfred Nzo, to give feedback on progress made in addressing service delivery concerns raised during their 2016 visit.


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