Tag Archive | south african parliament


Parliament : some clarity on policy emerging

Departments brief new Parliament..


Again and again the words ‘certainty’ and ‘uncertainty’ have arisen in parliamentary working committees,  not only in terms of the foreign investment climate but also in terms of borrowing, building and direction of strategies to achieve growth and the creation of jobs.

More than anything else, uncertainty seems to be South Africa’s greatest economic stumbling block. Even public utilities, let alone investors, bankers and private sector industrialists, have made submissions asking for clarity on government policy and decision making.

Cabinet indecision could be the problem. Leadership could be the problem. Let the political commentators decide but from a parliamentary viewpoint this week one sensed the first elements of certainty and clarity.

IRP being finalised

No doubt the news that the integrated resources plan is finally happening will bring more certainty to the energy sector and the recent nuclear and hydro decisions have let everybody know where that sector is going.

Whether recent decisions are considered right or wrong in the health sector, Minister Dr Motsoaledi seems to have a firmer hand on the tiller.  Similarly in the transport sector, and more than just hopefully but certainly, the first Brazilian train is due to arrive and new coaches will shortly be going through some new stations that are being built.

Minister Pravin Gordhan has brought his experience with SARS to bear on local government and his unsmiling manner will no doubt rattle many a cage down the line and produce the necessary repayment plans.   He appears, from reports coming to Parliament, to be getting around the constitutional problem of local affairs being out of bounds to national affairs and will bring a number of errant provincial and local employees to court.

Saving the day

Although Parliament still cannot amend a money Bill but only debate same,  national treasury seem to have come to the party to plug the gap in certain instances, thus getting rid of expressions like “currently in negotiation on possible funding” in departmental and state utility reporting. But a what cost and will this be enough?  Be that as it may, the gap has been plugged.

Whether recent events are good or bad news according to the governing or opposition parties, confirmation of direction in government policy takes the crystal ball out of planning and strategy.   Decisions can be made.

We sense at the moment some direction in parliamentary affairs and in the coming weeks, whilst there will be surprises for some such as the Areva nuclear build award, disappointments for some such as no reversal of the decision to proceed with carbon tax and the worry of the decision to increase electricity tariffs despite the multi-year fixing, at least we are beginning to know for certain where we are.

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Anti-corruption law is watered down, say critics

The new South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Bill, dealing with the separation of powers between the state itself and the investigation unit known as the Hawks, has come under extreme criticism during parliamentary hearings.

The new bill. intended to replace the present SAPS Amendment Act that established the Hawks, otherwise known as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, has come before the portfolio committee on police – with public parliamentary hearings currently completed.

Following the wipe out of the Scorpions corruption investigation team, for reasons better known to the ANC who insisted on its disbandment some years ago, the subject of whether the new legislation is sufficiently free of political influence was the core of many of the submissions made, this have being the keynote point of debate in Parliament when the previous Act was declared void.

The raison d’être for the substituted Bill is to overcome that same ruling by the Constitutional Court, which found that the Hawks were insufficiently protected from political influence or interference to meet the requirements of the independent agency’s own objectives.

The stated aim of the body is to be a free and unencumbered from political influence for investigating and countering corruption, the preamble says.

The Constitutional Court further ruled that the original legislation that created the Hawks did not comply with SA’s international obligations which accounts for the interest in this matter by overseas investor monitoring bodies. Parliament was given 18 months by the Constitutional Court to amend the Act and thus the matter has a timing to the substitution Bill for legislation to be enacted. September 2012 is in fact the date.

The issue of South Africa dropping from 54 in 2010 to 64 in 2011 out of 182 countries was mentioned in a number of submissions.

With stringent international and national legislation now in place in other countries, particularly those with investment wallets badly needed in South Africa, the debate which follows and which will involve business viewpoints, political party platforms and government implementation, particularly in the public service, which will be lively if not acrimonious at times.

The parliamentary police committee is now to consider for debate a summation of the public hearings, many of them highly critical of the proposals.


Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Justice, constitutional, Security,police,defence, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments

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