South Africa: Budget 2021 - the Loud and Robust Parliamentary Pressure Cooker

opinion

The first steps to pass Budget 2021 have already been taken, on the back of ANC numbers in the House, when the fiscal framework was adopted on 10 March 2021.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

It is with no small irony that the only parliamentary committee that actually sits in physical reality is the spooks oversight Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, which by default meets behind closed doors.

That every other committee is on a virtual platform has allowed for an increase in the number of meetings - about 60 this week, slightly up from a week earlier - although numbers don't equal quality.

MPs' questions seem tepid at best, given that the departmental and other institutional briefing documents are usually sent through a week in advance. Plenty of time to prep and dig up, if not some dirt then at least some pertinent questions on, for example, where the departmental travel budget has shifted to in these days of virtual meetings.

The year 2021 is unfurling with unseemly haste. Three weeks have been set aside to get the Budget done and dusted by 4 June, according to the current parliamentary programme. It is an election...

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