September 21, 2019

Have we at last heard the end of the protracted disciplinary process against suspended Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana after the Speaker accepted recommendations by the disciplinary committee that he be summarily dismissed after being found guilty of serious misconduct? Possibly, but also possibly not.

The Executive Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), LAWSON NAIDOO, introduces the term ‘lawfare’, which was coined to describe the political strategy that emerged when diverse civil society groups joined forces with the courts, in particular the Constitutional Court, in the fight against state capture and corruption.

In a written question to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development the EFF wanted to know the names of the ten largest commercial land owners in each province. It turns out the answer is not White Monopoly Capital.

Most political victories are won in courts these days. Most recently the Pretoria High Court set aside the findings of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the Strategic Defence Procurement Package (or the ‘arms deal’). JUDITH FEBRUARY argues that the application, brought by the Right to Know campaign and Corruption Watch, represents a victory in the decades-long campaign to ensure that some form of accountability follows the corruption-riddled deal.

The South African parliament is fast becoming a parliament functioning in the breach rather than in the main, writes JAN-JAN JOUBERT. Over the 35 weeks of the first eight months of this year, parliament was in session for only 13 weeks, and dysfunctional or in recess for fully 22 weeks.

Performance in South Africa’s two tier health system – the public and the private – has been worsening for some time, writes ALEX VAN DEN HEEVER. Politicians have attempted to attribute the decline in the public sector to a myriad of ills, none of their making. These include migrants; insufficient funds; insufficient staff; medical schemes; lawyers suing them for medical negligence; the existence of two tiers and even the middle class.

Monetary policy is largely defensive writes KUBEN NAIDOO, Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank. It can provide a stable enough macroeconomic environment for growth and social progress, but monetary policy on its own cannot secure development. That is largely a function of the policy environment. This article will be available in the upcoming issue of New Agenda.

Big changes in electoral law are on the cards after the allegations around double-voting were made in the general election in May this year. JAN-JAN JOUBERT looks back on the drama that played out largely behind the scenes at the election results centre in Pretoria in the days immediately following the May 8 election.

The 2019 Appropriations Act, which appears to be the only act passed by the sixth parliament during its first term, includes a few nasty surprises. For one thing, even though it has not yet been through parliament and therefore does not actually exist, the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Fund has been allocated R2.112 billion, which is almost as much as national spending on communicable and non-communicable diseases, such as TB and HIV.

Recess has come to an end and parliamentarians return for the second term this week, which is a good time to release a report on the performance for the first term of the sixth democratic parliament. Overall comment: could try harder, easily distracted and not focused on the work that needs to be done.

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Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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