ParlyBeat

ParlyBeat is a biweekly digital newsletter published by The Dullah Omar Institute’s Women and Democracy Initiative, in collaboration with the Parliament Watch Collective. ParlyBeat aims to expand the range of people who are reached with news and information regarding the legislatures.

ParlyBeat makes links between the policy and oversight processes taking place in committees in the legislatures and the lived realities of ordinary people. Through this it aims to increase public scrutiny of the performance of the legislatures, increase access to information on key social justice issues, and also promote increased engagement by a broader range of the public with the work of legislatures.

The publication Includes news analysis and feature articles as well as reflections from Parliament Watch members and relevant information to increase knowledge of and access to the legislatures. The newsletter’s content can be republished by media outlets subject to certain conditions of a creative commons licence.

ParlyBeat will be published every second Thursday, and people can subscribe via email, or follow ParlyBeat on Facebook and Twitter.

The articles can be republished subject to certain licensing conditions.

ParlyBeat is published with the support of the Open Society Foundation. The views expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the DOI or the OSF.

Latest from ParlyBeat

Did you know
Author: Alicestene October
Published: Mar 29, 2019

Voters may under our current electoral system not be able to directly elect their political representatives for Parliament and the legislatures, but at least they have the right to object to candidates nominated by political parties contesting the national and provincial elections on 8 May. Voters now have until may not directly elect their political representatives may not have a say now have until next week 17:00 PM on 2 April to lodge objections.

Report on Elder Care leave adopted and tabled
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Mar 29, 2019

It was his own personal loss and experience that moved Paarl resident Hendri Terblanche to petition Parliament to amend labour laws to allow for elder-care leave. He lost his mother-in-law to cancer last year and shortly thereafter, his godmother. His father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and his mother, Susan, with multiple sclerosis. “Our parents have dedicated their whole lives to take care of us to the best of their abilities and now it is our time to take care of them,” Terblanche told Parlybeat. He had also paved the way for the historic paternal leave amendment in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act after he petitioned Parliament.

Life, death and budget cuts: the tricky balancing act
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Mar 29, 2019

When Western Cape Minister of Health Nomafrench Mbombo delivered her budget speech this week, it was clear poor people dependent on public healthcare in violence-prone areas like the Cape Flats should manage their budget and health-service expectations. The provincial Department of Health was allocated R24,8 billion for the 2019/20 financial year with a budget cut of R187 million. The total health budget cuts over the last three years amount to R1,2 billion whilst patient numbers consistently grew.

Battlegrounds: Between the land and the law
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Mar 29, 2019

The plight of a farm-dweller family evicted from their home on a prominent wine farm in Paarl this week put the spotlight back on the growing tension between the legality and morality question relating to farm evictions. This eviction followed days after President Cyril Ramaphosa assured farmworkers in Citrusdal that his party would support farmworkers in their fight against evictions and oppression.

Impressions of Parliament
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Mar 01, 2019

A People’s Parliament means a Parliament that is accessible and responsive to the public yet Parliament’s performance on these constitutional principles are often a hit and miss. Parliament Watch monitor Sizwe Manqele shares some of his observations of the Portfolio Committee on Police meeting on 12 February 2019.

Calls for policy certainty on undocumented learners
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Mar 01, 2019

Renewed calls were made this week for policy certainty on undocumented children in South African schools as intimidation against them and school principals continues. The Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) recently held a roundtable discussion on the challenges undocumented children face in schools. Advocacy officer at the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa Sindi Moyo said the situation is getting more difficult for these learners. According to her they have received reports of at least three principals that were fined by the Department of Home Affairs for allowing undocumented learners in schools. “We need urgent solutions and we need to move fast because the numbers are growing.”

Glitches in online system adding to NPOs’ woes
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Mar 01, 2019

The department of labour earlier announced that it will name and shame employers who fail to comply with the national minimum wage (NMW), yet its own systems are found lacking. A coalition of non-profit organisations ranging from shelters for abused women to organisations providing post-rape and other related care and residential facilities for older persons and people with disabilities raised concerns in a letter to the minister of labour Mildred Oliphant about problems they are experiencing with the online exemption system.

Don’t politicise our grief, moms warn SAPS and politicians
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Mar 01, 2019

With election campaigning in full swing safety and crime has become buzz words for politicians, but mothers of children killed in gang violence on the Cape Flats made it clear they will not let their grief be politicised. This follows political parties like the DA and ANC prioritising the safety of communities on the Cape Flats during their election campaigns. DA leader Mmusi Maimane had a voter registration drive in Bonteheuwel in January where he boasted that the City of Cape Town was the first to introduce a gang unit to help keep communities safe. Thereafter the police leadership briefed MPs on the progress of the anti-gang strategy in Parliament. Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa himself has been on the campaign trail in the Western Cape and this week had a public engagement with community stakeholders on issues ranging from gangs to housing.

Impressions form Parliament
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Nov 27, 2018

Parliament will close another four portfolio committee meetings to the public between 26 November until 4 December before the national legislature wraps up for its recess period. This follows at least two letters written to the Speaker’s office in Parliament raising concerns over closing meetings to the public. However, a collective of civil society organisations under Parliament Watch, sections of the media and individuals are still waiting on a response to the concerns they raised. Parliament has since indicated it is still drafting a response to the concerns raised in the letter. So, what are these concerns?

Action not just outrage needed to protect children
Author: Jacob
Published: Nov 27, 2018

Outrage alone will not save our children from harm and neglect but fixing the tools for social protection of children will be a good start. This is how some MPs in Parliament recently responded to the department of social development’s figures showing multimillion-rand underspending on programmes like foster care grants. MPs across the political spectrum in the Portfolio Committee on Social Development raised concern and demanded answers over the department’s under expenditure on social assistance totalling almost R900 million. This concern however, did not necessarily translate into decisive demands for action in the department’s Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR).

Another wake-up call for Parly's Public Participation
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Nov 27, 2018

As the proposed constitutional amendments to allow land expropriation without compensation is facing its first court challenge, Parliament now has another opportunity to deal with its legislative mandate’s great Achilles' heel – meaningful public participation. On November 15 after nationwide public hearings spanning over two months the Joint Constitutional Review Committee in Parliament adopted its report in favour of amending section 25 of the Constitution. Lobby group Afriforum however, launched a court application to have this report set aside citing serious concerns over the public participation process.

Return Minimum Wage Bill to Parliament, CGE demands
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Nov 27, 2018

As Cosatu on Monday congratulated the President for signing the National Minimum Wage Bill into law, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) requested the bill to be returned to Parliament to be reconsidered. There has however, been no formal announcement from the Presidency that the bill was indeed signed into law. The CGE’s request follows serious concerns raised by the non-profit sector over the bill’s possible impact on the fate of care workers and other NPO staff. Despite concerns raised, certain government departments until now opted to follow a “wait and see” approach to what has been labelled an impending crisis for the non-profit (NPO) sector, and the women and children depending on its services.