State of the Nation Address (SoNA), budget speech, questions to the President, public hearings among highlights of Parliament’s first term of 2015
The President’s State of the Nation Address, the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech, questions for oral reply by the President, committee meetings and public hearings are among issues on the agenda of the fifth democratic Parliament during its first term of 2015.
The multiparty National Assembly (NA) Programme Committee at its first meeting for 2015, today, agreed President Jacob Zuma would answer questions for oral reply on 11 March. In response to concern about whether President Zuma would also answer questions from 2014, NA Speaker Ms Baleka Mbete, who also chairs NA Programme Committee meetings, assured Members the matter was being “positively considered” and had been raised with the Presidency,
President Zuma last appeared in the NA to answer oral questions on 21 August 2014 but was able to answer only three of six questions because proceedings were disrupted and the sitting had to be adjourned. In addition to questions for oral reply, the President also answers written questions from Members on a regular basis.
Today’s NA Programme Committee meeting also agreed to schedule a motion of no confidence in the President – from Agang SA – for consideration by the NA on 24 February.
The State of the Nation Address on 12 February to a special joint sitting of the NA and the National Council of Provinces is an opportunity for the President to assess our country’s domestic and foreign situation and to set out the direction we should take in the coming year. Two days’ debate on the Address – also in joint sittings.- takes place on 17 and 18 February and the President’s replies to the debate on 19 February. The Budget Speech to the NA on 25 February will provide further clarity on government priorities for the year.
Parliamentary committees have been meeting since last week. The multiparty Subcommittee on the Review of NA Rules yesterday completed deliberations and made decisions on nine of the 15 chapters of the NA Rules being reviewed.
Portfolio Committees, also, have scheduled a number of meetings before the State of the Nation Address. These involve briefings on a range of issues, including the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Bill on 3 February. Public hearings on the bill are scheduled for 10 February.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS