17 May 2017

South Africa: Reporter's Parliamentary Notebook - the Budget Votes Burst Forth, but Little New Emerges


Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize emerged as an exception during the current round of budget votes in Parliament. On Wednesday she announced there would be a discussion document on repositioning her department as a security entity - the decision was taken by Cabinet last year and re-affirmed earlier this year - and that the department issued 498,000 more smart ID cards than planned, reaching a total of 6.8-million to date. It was a rare glimpse into government policy, programmes and initiatives among this year's budget votes so far characterised by how little actually emerged. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

It's early days yet as Wednesday was only day two of a two-week period crammed with up to six budget vote debates a day. But there is a clearly emerging trend from the ANC side of the House: a tribute to OR Tambo, the late ANC president who would have turned 100 this year, an emphasis on radical economic transformation or radical socio-economic transformation, and historical perspectives contrasting the better life of democratic South Africa against apartheid, while acknowledging the continued challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality - and the need to do more.

From the other side of the House, opposition parties...

South Africa

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