Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo. File picture.
Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo. File picture.

Parliament’s presiding officers satisfied with work done during first quarter

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Apr 11, 2021

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Cape Town - Parliament’s presiding officers on Sunday expressed their satisfaction with the work done during the first quarter of this year.

Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo said the efforts set a good foundation for accelerated delivery of parliamentary services to the people of South Africa.

“The resilience of Parliament, its leadership, Members of Parliament and employees, triggered by the outbreak of Covid-19 and the national lockdown in 2020, continues to grow in 2021.

“The spirit that drove Parliament to hold its first virtual meeting of the portfolio committee on health on April 10, 2020, continued to permeate every facet of its being, as we appreciate the amount of work done in just over 60 days from January 26 to the time it went on recess in March 2021,” Modise and Masondo said.

They said they had no doubt that when they resumed work on May 3, they would begin from where they had left off.

Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement that a report outlining Parliament’s work demonstrated a very busy programme, which epitomised Parliament’s resilience, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, in delivering on its mandate of law-making, executive oversight and promotion of public participation and involvement.

Mothapo said 10 bills were passed by the National Assembly and the NCOP.

Mothapo said apart from hosting the State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the NCOP held a ministerial briefing by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on the vaccine roll-out strategy and acquisition plan.

The parliamentary committees of both Houses held 376 virtual meetings and produced 56 reports.

“Among the executive appointments that received consideration and are due for completion during the second quarter, is the filling of vacancies in the SABC and the Media Development and Diversity Agency boards,” he said.

Mothapo said the committees also undertook six oversight visits to get first-hand experience of the execution of government policy and the challenges faced, including to Koeberg power station and ArcelorMittal, where the deaths of three workers were registered.

There were eight public hearings on bills, including the one dealing with amending the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

“The introduction of the new state-of-the-art facilities and the adoption of virtual communication platforms enabled the public and stakeholders access to parliamentary activities and enhanced engagement in ways never imagined before,” Mothapo said.

He also said public and stakeholder engagements were held as part of sectoral parliaments targeting women and men under the leadership of deputy chairperson of the NCOP Sylvia Lucas and Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

Parliament held a men’s parliament that focused on Institutionalising a responsive men’s movement.

“The programme seeks to organise and mobilise all men in South Africa to take action, be change agents and fight gender-based violence and femicide that continues to ravage families and communities.”

Mothapo added that the national legislature paid homage to one of the country’s greatest leaders, Mme Charlotte Maxeke, by hosting a virtual memorial lecture. “Parliament will embark on a year-long commemorative programme that will locate the creation of conditions that support the general upliftment of women at its centre,” he said.

Political Bureau

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