As the South African Parliament reflects on the past year’s progress and successes under the leadership of Secretary to Parliament, Andisiwe Makinana, it becomes evident that the journey has been one of resilience and determination. In the face of the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with challenges like inadequate electricity supply and record levels of load-shedding, Parliament remained committed to fulfilling its constitutional obligations and mandate. The fire that broke out in January, engulfing the historical infrastructure of Parliament, further tested the institution’s resilience. Additionally, during the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption, and Fraud in the Public Sector, Parliament faced intense scrutiny. However, through strategic interventions and a transformative approach, Parliament has set itself on a path of progress and growth, focusing on various key areas such as research support, oversight capabilities, stakeholder engagement, and rebuilding efforts.
Emerging from a Devastating COVID-19 Pandemic
The year 2022 witnessed South Africa grappling with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, causing economic fallout, job losses, delayed investments, and record levels of load-shedding. Despite these challenges, Parliament remained steadfast in fulfilling its core Constitutional mandate, leveraging its powers to hold the Executive accountable and ensuring transparency in governance.
Bolstering Research Support and Oversight Capabilities
One of the key transformations undertaken by Parliament involved bolstering research support to its committees to address citizens’ concerns effectively. Efforts were made to provide timely data-driven research to equip Members during committee deliberations. Parliament also prioritized stakeholder engagement with civil society, academia, business, and other spheres to foster inclusivity and collaboration in the parliamentary process.
A New Macro Strategic Framework
Parliament developed a new Macro Strategic Framework for the 7th Parliamentary Term, focusing on building a society based on democratic values, social justice, and fundamental human rights. The framework aims to drive progress and modernization within legislative processes, with a strong focus on responsiveness, operational excellence, and responsible custodianship of assets.
Rebuilding and Restoration of Parliament
The fire that devastated Parliament’s historical infrastructure in 2022 demanded comprehensive rebuilding efforts. Parliament successfully secured R2 billion towards the rebuilding project, with additional budget allocations for further baseline adjustments. The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) was appointed to lead the reconstruction, with substantial progress already achieved, ensuring a seamless transition for parliamentary operations.
Reviewing Legal Framework for Governance and Management of Parliament Assets
Parliament initiated efforts to amend relevant acts, including the Government Infrastructure Assets Management Act, Powers and Privileges Act, and FMPPLA. This strategic move aims to entrust Parliament with the custodianship of its own assets and ensure responsible management and accountability.
Striving for Transparency and Good Governance
Despite facing declining fiscal allocations and economic challenges, Parliament achieved a clean audit for the 9th consecutive year, demonstrating its commitment to responsible and accountable use of public funds. Parliament remains resolute in its pursuit of fiscal responsibility and integrity.
Supporting Parliament to Implement State Capture Commission Recommendations
Parliament has been instrumental in supporting the implementation of the State Capture Commission’s recommendations through a comprehensive Implementation Plan. Progress has been made in enhancing committee capabilities to uphold accountability and transparency, with many of the recommendations already implemented.
Deepening International Relations Through Parliamentary Diplomacy
Parliament has been actively engaged in advancing the nation’s interests through regional, continental, and multi-lateral institutions. It has adopted several international agreements, and it will host the 9th BRICS Parliamentary Forum in September 2023, fostering regional integration and economic development.
Stabilizing Labour and Employee Relations
Parliament concluded a historic multi-year salary agreement with NEHAWU, securing a three-year deal that provides salary increases for the next three financial years. This milestone ensures labour stability and allows for proper budgeting and planning in the legislative sector.
As Parliament prepares for the 7th Parliamentary Term, it stands at a crucial juncture in the nation’s history. Guided by the values of the Constitution and fueled by the aspirations of South Africans, the 7th Parliament is committed to shaping a future of inclusivity, social justice, and economic prosperity. Through transformative initiatives, responsible governance, and strategic partnerships, Parliament is poised to lead the nation towards greater heights, overcoming challenges and fulfilling its constitutional duties for the betterment of all citizens.