The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - Parliament is in a race against time to finalise about 50 pieces of legislation as it winds down its business for the third quarter.
But the opposition has warned against the “steam-rolling” of some bills in a last-minute rush before the end of the current term, and next year’s national and provincial elections.
Parliament spokesman Luzuko Jacobs said that apart from the oversight preliminary visits this week by members of the National Council of Provinces and committees in the National Assembly (NA), Parliament would be “working around the clock to finalise legislation”.
“As at September 3, 35 bills had been introduced to Parliament and 17 had been sent to the president for assent, compared to the whole of last year’s session when 45 bills were introduced and 25 sent to the president for assent,” said Jacobs.
The ad hoc committee to consider the report of the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on the Electoral Commission’s procurement of head office premises, and the ad hoc committee to consider President Jacob Zuma’s reservations over the Protection of State Information Bill were expected to get to work soon.
“The deadline for both ad hoc committees to report to the NA is October 31,” said Jacobs.
DA chief whip Watty Watson said on Sunday his party would not allow bills to be steam-rolled. “We will insist committees look strongly at bills. There are some bills that are purely technical. So, there is a lot of work before Parliament. There is in their (Parliament’s) eyes a race against time,” said Watson.
The DA had been complaining about Parliament’s performance in the past and he had had private discussions with some officials “that we need more time”.
“Apart from the fact that 35 bills have been introduced, there are about 50 bills before Parliament. So, that’s a lot of bills. As a result of that, we have now changed the programme on Thursday so that in this coming week we will return to Parliament to handle some of these bills,” said Watson.
He said it looked very likely that Parliament may even stay longer than November 9 to handle some of the bills and may even come back early next year to deal with some of them.
ANC chief whip spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the same process of “thoroughness and quality checks” would be applied on every piece of legislation.
“Yes, there is a lot that needs to be done before the 2014 elections. But no corners will be cut in the process of working on this legislation,” said Mothapo.