July 22, 2018

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, much of the time the answers leave South Africans with more questions and few answers. Here is a small sample.

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 heady combination of Ramaphoria and Zumaphobia appears to have re-energised Parliament, especially in the Committee rooms where the parliamentary duty of oversight is mostly carried out.

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 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.

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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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