August 20, 2019

The parliamentary processes around what is euphemistically called “expropriation without compensation” of land, which expired in the fifth parliament has now been revived in the sixth. PAUL HOFFMAN from Accountability Now thinks it is necessary and timely to remind the new members of their oath of office and their duty to uphold the rule of law.

Remember the song you sang as a kid: ‘there were ten in the bed and the little one said roll over ... so we all rolled over, now there are nine in the bed”. Parliament is an unlikely place to be reminded of nursery rhymes, but this was a committee meeting about the scourge of child murders in South Africa, and this old ditty had chilling implications when quoted in a submission to the Western Cape Social Development department.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, the newly elected chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), stepped boldly into the role at the committee’s first working meeting of the sixth parliament by calling in the office of the Auditor-General (AG) for a presentation on a disturbing recent reportback on the 2017/18 local government audit outcomes.

You are going to have to exercise some patience if you are waiting to see the sixth parliament get on with it. The official opening is the State of the Nation Address, which falls on 20 June, and that will be the first joint sitting of the new MPs. After that the plenaries begin with debates on SONA in both Houses. But the real work of parliament, as we know, happens in the committees, which only get going on 2 July.

The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and many civil society actors were disappointed and dismayed to hear that Gwede Mantashe was awarded the newly combined Mineral Resources and Energy Ministry.

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Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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