ParlyBeat

ParlyBeat is a digital newsletter published by the Dullah Omar Institute’s Women and Democracy Initiative, in collaboration with the Parliament Watch Collective and the Putting People in People's Parliament Project.

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

Money and political will needed to tackle child murders
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Feb 23, 2018

Amidst the backlash against the budget tabled in Parliament this week as “anti-poor”, an answer to a Parliamentary question revealed that often money alone is not enough to address serious social ills. Political will is just as crucial to put systems in place to achieve the very thing budgets are intended for. This in turn will require rigorous monitoring by citizens and civil society of budget spending and its impact – something that will hopefully improve with the new Vulekamali initiative for greater public input in budget processes.

Calls to include patient voices for needs-based health budgeting
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Feb 23, 2018

The budget tabled in Parliament this week, does not address a crumbling health system, certain civic organisations warned. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced a R205 billion budget for health in the new financial year that is set to increase to R240,3 billion.

Funding of shelters for abused women is still uncertain post-budget
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Feb 22, 2018

Social protection is an important safety net for the poor yet not all will benefit from this. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba this week delivered his budget speech in Parliament and announced the government’s plan to increase its spending on social protection from R193.4 billion in the next financial year to R223.9 billion by 2021.

Impressions from Parliament
Author: Jay Kruuse
Published: Feb 22, 2018

This week South Africans got a glimpse into the state of South Africa’s finances and how it will affect their pocket when Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivered his budget speech in Parliament. Some have since labelled the budget as a “betrayal” and an “insult” to the poor. This backlash raises interesting questions on the level of public input in the budget. Very few ordinary South Africans get proper insight into the budgetary process or meaningfully participate in what is often a very complex process. This was highlighted recently in the Open Budget Survey 2017 showing South Africa may lead on budget transparency but disappoints in fostering public participation in the budget process.

Abortion Bill set to spark fierce debate in Parliament
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Dec 18, 2017

From next year Parliament will be the battleground for a renewed standoff over the conditions under which pregnancies may be terminated. ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley’s Private Members Bill on the proposed amendments to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act has already been slammed by rights groups and gender activists calling it a setback for women’s reproductive rights. Dudley, however, told ParlyBeat this “panic is unnecessary”.

NEWS ANALYSIS: Oversight no gentleman’s game
Author: ParlyBeat
Published: Dec 18, 2017

As Parliament this month gives itself the usual pat on the back for the “activism and responsiveness” displayed in the more than 1 400 committee meetings held this year, questions remain on how effective it exercised its oversight role in burning issues like irregularities in the Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa).

#Notourleaders: Parties given until February to respond to sexual harassment questions
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Dec 18, 2017

Political parties were given a deadline of 1 February 2018 to respond to questions regarding internal sexual harassment policies and the number and outcomes of sexual misconduct complaints they have received. This followed the #NotourLeaders Campaign that recently put the spotlight on political parties’ handling of sexual misconduct complaints against members and government officials. It was found parties’ responses are often “insipid, sluggish and inconsistent”. The drivers of the campaign – the Dullah Omar Institute’s Women and Democracy Initiative, gender activist Lisa Vetten and Lawyers for Human Rights – are now calling for more decisive leadership and for policy gaps to be addressed.

Grant beneficiaries saved by the Court – again
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Dec 18, 2017

Opposition MPs have welcomed a recent court order that averted another grants crisis in the social security agency (Sassa) and spared Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini another national embarrassment. This time the crisis loomed for foster care grants. This is the second time the courts had to intervene to ensure continued payment of grants. The DA and IFP also vowed to ensure legislation is amended for a more sustainable solution to foster care grants in the country when Parliament reopens next year.

Amend law to help fight violence against women, Parliament told
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Nov 30, 2017

Parliament has its work cut out for it in tackling issues around gender-based violence if the recommendations of the high-level panel on the assessment of legislation and the acceleration of fundamental change, is anything to go by. The panel in its recently published report made a couple of recommendations for Parliament to take a more leading role on the issue. Acknowledging the problems raised around the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA), it recommended that Parliament make certain changes to the DVA that will be welcomed by civil society organisations.

‘Do better’ on sexual violence, political parties are told
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Nov 30, 2017

A social media campaign is putting political parties on the back foot over their handling of sexual violence allegations against party members.The ANC, Democratic Alliance and Inkatha Freedom Party have been challenged on their handling of cases in which some members were accused of sexual misconduct.

LETTER: A personal reflection on the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
Author: ParlyBeat
Published: Nov 30, 2017

Every year MPs debate the scourge of violence against women and children in Parliament as part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. These debates usually just escalate into political squabbling and mudslinging with the real message often getting lost. This year was no different. Perhaps it is time to remind public representatives of the real people and faces behind the statistics they use against each other for political point scoring?

Prasa trains not safe for women
Author: Alicestine October
Published: Nov 30, 2017

The theme of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children that started on November 25 is “count me in”.Yet certain organisations have slammed the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) for undermining the safety of women and children.