September 26, 2018

Seasoned parliamentary journalist JAN-JAN JOUBERT looks at the painfully slow progress of a critical piece of legislation, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill and its protracted journey through the parliamentary process, and warns that there are too many delays in Parliament's key mandate, which is after all to pass legislation.

Buried under the outcry over an apparent security lapse at Parliament lies the fact that a staff member used a gun to kill himself, while sitting at his desk. Whatever there is to be said about security at Parliament, that is not the cause of this tragedy.

As the ANC stumbles towards the 2019 poll, it looks like there is a very real prospect that it may lose its majority in at least one province and see it contract at national level. Other parties who may then start thinking that they are in with a chance must realise that coalition politics are not only about becoming kingmakers, but can also be used for the good of the country. Research by MIKE LAW may provide some tips for our parties to take on board as they enter this new political arena.

The Committee on Home Affairs unanimously voted to repeal a provision in the Civil Union Act which allows Home Affairs marriage officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples. The landmark Bill, tabled in January, if passed will bring an end to a clause in the Act which has long been considered discriminatory.

"Members have a right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts". This was the conclusion of a brief, but possibly much-needed history lesson by the DA’s Cathlene Labuschagne, who put forward a motion noting “incorrect claims about the DA” made by the Minister in the Presidency, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She is alleged to have said that the apartheid-era National Party had merged with the DA and, further, that the DA has existed for over 300 years.

Last week South Africa watched a new form of political warfare being played out in our Metropolitan Councils (metros), and it might just prove to be an early preview of things to come. MIKE LAW, who is coordinating a project looking at experiences of coalition politics, domestic and abroad, sounds a warning.

Land reform and expropriation without compensation remain pressing issues at Parliament where another three-week recess from mid-September, officially dubbed a constituency period, is putting MPs under pressure, writes MARIANNE MERTEN in an article published by the Daily Maverick.

In her new book, Turning and Turning: Exploring the complexities of South Africa’s democracy, political analyst JUDITH FEBRUARY reminds us that the Institute for Democracy in South Africa warned us back in 1997 of the threat to democracy posed by secrecy in party funding. No one knew then that in time it would bring us very close to the brink. This is an extract from the book.

The controversial Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill was adopted by the Portfolio Committee on Police last week, despite a protracted public consultation process which had civil society denouncing the Bill as the apartheid-era National Key Point Act of 1980 masquerading under a new name.

Here is something for those who are wondering when the state capture investigation will get underway. It turns out that a small start has already been made.

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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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