July 22, 2018

The single point of agreement in the submissions on the draft Carbon Tax Bill discussed in Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance last week was that the economy cannot cope with any more crippling taxation. The last thing citizens want to hear about right now are further tax increases, as they brace themselves for the additional 1% VAT from next month, but it appears the long-threatened carbon tax is back in the legislative pipeline.

Ten years in the making, the Traditional Courts Bill still has a very long way to go. That was the clear message from public hearings on the Bill which commenced in Parliament this week.

Seven National Council of Provinces (NCOP) delegations returned to the Alfred Nzo District and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipalities where they held their November 2016 Taking Parliament to The People programme. But most delegates came away disappointed at the lack of progress they witnessed.

For too long, the Auditor-General has been hamstrung by the relatively insignificant powers granted to it by its governing legislation. Now, it seems, steps are being taken to grant it the muscle to do what government has for so long failed to do, which is hold to account those responsible for the financial abuse and wastage that has crippled our economy.

The head of the Hawks, Major-General Alfred Khana, made some startling revelations at a Scopa hearing, reports MARIANNE THAMM. Scopa revealed that most cases of suspected government corruption were not reported to the Hawks by Directors General of affected departments but by whistle-blowers and officials at lower levels.

A total of 42% of our elected representatives gave the thumbs up to the 2018 Budget, despite 85% of the organisations and individuals who made submissions at the mandatory public hearing sounding a very clear no.

The Committee on Human Settlements wants to know why the Cape Town metro consistently fails to spend the Urban Settlements Development Grant, which is supposed to be used to upgrade and improve informal settlements.

A new column in Notes from the House tells you in brief about what goes on in Parliament behind the scenes. No fake news will be published – although you may wonder if some of this really did happen.

One of Parliament’s chief objectives is oversight of the executive, and one of the primary tools it uses to achieve this is Question Time.

Last year’s hearing by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties broke all records and met an extraordinarily tight deadline by processing extensive public consultation and reaching approval on the Bill within about three months ... only to encounter a fresh delay in the new year.

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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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