June 19, 2018

With about a year before the 2019 elections, Parliament is to go on a two-month mid-year recess, officially described as an “extended constituency period,” writes MARIANNE MERTEN. Elections or electioneering were not words used.

A meeting of Parliament’s Health Portfolio Committee held at the end of March to discuss the proposed Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill ended rather dramatically amid much anger and mud-slinging, none of which had anything directly to do with the highly charged issue of abortion.

On top of its flagrant corruption and clear state capture, Eskom is suffering the consequences of years of mismanagement and poor decision-making. Nersa tells the parliamentary Energy Committee how this former economic giant has withered away.

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.

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.

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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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