January 24, 2020

The July announcement that Cabinet has endorsed the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which sets it well on its way along the legislative pipeline with the possibility of it being passed into law by July next year, has been greeted with reminders by civil society that the urgent priority remains to fix the public health service.

In a unexpectedly promising start to the sixth parliament’s committee schedule, the Rules Committee of the National Assembly met, on 5 June, before any other committees were ready, under the motherly but firm chairing of Speaker Thandi Modise ‑ and the committee demonstrated how it could be done.

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.

Parliament Watch, a collective of independent civil society organisations committed to social justice, human rights and constitutional democracy, monitored the conduct and effectiveness of committees during the fifth democratic parliament over a period of three years, and came to the conclusion that committee performance left a lot to be desired.

About Us

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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