Tag Archive | Political Party Funding Bill

Parliament 2018 : somewhat shell-shocked

Taking a breather….

As Parliament closed for the Easter recess there was a sort of stunned silence that reigned over the precinct.   It was as if the guns had gone silent following a truce declaration. 

Maybe it was because parliamentarians were looking at their piled-up in-trays as they left or were considering the legislative backlog that had built up and the long list of promises that had been made to get the country back on its feet. Nevertheless, the feeling that change was coming was palpable.

At least in the last few weeks people were smiling and looking more cheerful, saying “good morning” to all and sundry – a pleasant habit of long ago which has now returned.  The ambiance at portfolio meetings has improved dramatically with many a parliamentarian having to carry a lesser amount of political baggage.

An improved atmosphere has also been noticeable in the National Assembly, despite hard debate on such issues as the Political Party Funding Bill and the motion for an early end to the next parliamentary session.   Such issues would cause heated discussions between MPs, delegates and people’s representatives in any parliamentary forum worldwide but the angst and gloom caused by a feeling of helplessness has gone.

Long walk

The journey from the days when those two ridiculous men in gum boots, red hard hats and an old water pump tried to explain away the Nkandla swimming pool as a “fire pool”, lasting until the other day when everybody woke up to hear that the country had squeaked through with a Moody’s stable rating, has been a long and exhausting one.  

At one stage it seemed that scriptwriters were on the loose trying to dream up impossible situations for the next episode of a TV series. 

Film locations moved from Saldanha Bay one minute, to the Free State the next, and then to Gold Reef City; from 54 Sauer Street, Johannesburg to the Union Buildings in Pretoria; from the Constitutional Court, the British Houses of Parliament, Moscow, Dubai, to a chicken coop in the King Cetshwayo  district of KwaZulu-Natal, and from a large domestic home in Saxonwold, possibly with a shebeen, to the steps of the National Assembly in Cape Town.   

All of this is impossible, it seemed.    What could tomorrow bring that could possibly exceed yesterday?

Never ending

Now we hear from the Hawks that some nefarious types, who illegally trade in abalone, delivered at some stage a cartload of money to the gates of Nkandla to ensure the retention of a certain Cabinet minister.

Who could possibly have written such an outlandish, disconnected and never-ending series of scripts?

For the average South African, it has also been a highly expensive journey.   Very few are better off because of the disasterous reign of Jacob Zuma, except of course a notable few who were pulling the strings.   Most are worse off.  It has been a disgraceful episode in the country’s history and the whole of the sordid story is sadly yet to emerge.

 Chinese trains

The news recently in the Portfolio Committee of Transport that the Transnet heist has paled the Eskom heist into insignificance brought up the awful thought of another round of endless parliamentary inquiries.   But that cannot happen.   It should be left to the Hawks.  There is just not enough time in the diary and, in any case, with Parliament closing early for next recess who knows what will be further uncovered.   The parliamentary programme is now far too behind for more navel gazing.

There is much outstanding legislation needing urgent debate and coming up are the important issues of land reform, minimum wage finalisation, mineral resources charters, decisions on tolling principles, health crisis controls, and energy mix finalisation.   Fortunately, we do not have a sitting President who will hold up legislation for personal reasons, as Jacob Zuma did with the FICA Bill. 

 Looking ahead

Parliament  will now shut down its next and second of the year session earlier on June 18 and return later August 13 for the third session. With some 47 Bills to be processed by Parliament, this will be an embarrassment.  Quite obviously the reason for an early constituency period is politically driven, a further backlash of the Jacob Zuma era. It could be a snap election. Who knows?

It will  now be hard task to deal appropriately with such key laws in draft including the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, the Minimum Wage Bill, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill as well as the Expropriation Bill, the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Critical Infrastructure Bill before June 18, but the delay has to be recognised as fact and put down to damage control.

Fixed anchors

Despite all this, Parliament has preserved its status despite the political moves to challenge its structure.    It has won the day in the separation of powers battle, despite losing a little of its dignity. It has become the battlefront for all that is right and the only real venue for its people to be represented, despite there being no real constituency system but only a party list process. 

But most important of all, the Constitutional Court was seen and heard to be arbiter of truth and good reason.   This gives us every confidence that the land reform and restitution issue, an issue that was never going to go away, will be handled in the same manner with a good mix of common sense, fairness to all and proper application of the law.    We remain positive.

Posted in cabinet, Finance, economic, Justice, constitutional0 Comments


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