November 14, 2018

The parliamentary precinct in Cape Town couldn’t be further away from the hurly burly of provincial government, and that has little to do with distance measured in kilometres. National Parliament is where legislation about service delivery is debated and if necessary amended; local government is where it is delivered – or should be.

The mining sector is in significant disarray, according to a report tabled this month by the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources. Political uncertainty has led to low investor confidence and continuing breaches of trust between government and industry have seen a decline in constructive engagement.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance has called on its researchers to investigate allegations made in the media that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is complicit in the massive illicit tobacco trade that is costing the country an estimated R5 billion per year in tax revenue, or 10% of what is needed to plug government’s revenue shortfall of R50 billion.

Parliament appears to be trying to distance itself from the looming disciplinary hearing against its suspended Secretary to Parliament (STP), Gengezi Mgidlana, who has deeply embarrassed the institution by being accused of a series of allegations of abuse of power and financial mismanagement.

One of Parliament’s chief objectives is oversight of the executive, and a tool it uses to achieve this is Question Time. Questions for oral or written reply can be put to the President, the Deputy President and Ministers, and gives Members of Parliament the opportunity to monitor the Government’s service delivery. However, many of the answers leave South Africans with more questions.

Public Protector (PP) Busisiwe Mkhwebane appeared to have one overriding concern when she appeared before Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Service Committee to present her Annual Performance Plan (APP) in April.

The State Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy – also known as the Chapter 9 Institutions because they were established in terms of Chapter Nine of the Constitution ‑ have requested a meeting with the President to address their current budget cuts.

From reports of the Annual Performance Plan of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) one could easily come away with the impression that the only real problem currently facing the Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, was a funding shortage.

The Division of Revenue Bill, which was passed by the National Assembly on 15 March, has got the nod from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), and is now on its way to the President for his assent, which means it is well on its way to becoming law.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) Veterans’ Network have identified banks used by individuals who are believed to have engaged in illegal proceedings related to state capture.

About Us

Notes from the House is an independent weekly email newsletter that tracks and monitors Parliament in its role of holding government to account and passing legislation to improve people’s lives. It aims to bring you the news from Parliament that you don’t get elsewhere. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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