The countdown to the introduction of e-tolling in Gauteng next Monday will see protests intensify in the week ahead as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) steps up its campaign against the system.
Cosatu is planning a series of pickets, night vigils and marches countrywide over the next few days in the buildup to its national strike next Monday against what it sees as "the veiled privatisation and commodification of our roads through the e-tolling system".
Tomorrow the application brought by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance for an interdict against the introduction of e-tolling will get under way in the North Gauteng High Court.
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The issue is also likely to dominate the budget vote speech of Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele in the National Assembly on Wednesday. Mr Ndebele will be one of six Cabinet ministers presenting their budget vote speeches over the next two days. The others are Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma .
Ministers often use their budget vote speeches to make important policy announcements while opposition parties use the ensuing debate to raise issues of public concern.
The annual rush for Parliament to complete more than 30 budget vote debates before the current parliamentary session ends in late June will see three debates taking place each day by way of extended public committees. This is a system whereby members of the National Assembly are split up to attend two simultaneous debates.
News is also likely to be dominated by the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring ahead of the Mangaung elective conference of the African National Congress (ANC), the verdict on ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s appeal against his expulsion, and the continuing controversy about crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
The ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal is set to release its verdict on Mr Malema’s appeal in the next few days.
President Jacob Zuma will appear in the National Council of Provinces tomorrow to answer questions on service delivery, the performance of municipalities in achieving clean audits, and about the millions of rand owed by national and provincial departments.
He will also be asked about what is being done by distressed municipalities to improve service delivery and about international agreements for the production of nuclear energy that SA has signed in the past three years.
There will be heated debate from tomorrow until Thursday when Parliament’s police committee meets for public hearings on the South African Police Service Amendment Bill. The bill attempts to address the Constitutional Court’s concerns about the lack of independence of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks).
Tomorrow, the Department of Public Enterprises is expected to speak about the long-awaited report and recommendations on the review into the remuneration of executives of state-owned companies, and the Public Investment Corporation will brief the standing committee on finance on its activities.
The transport committee will be briefed by Passenger Rail Agency of SA on its projects, and the Department of Energy will update the energy committee on bidding by independent power producers to produce renewable energy.
The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities will address criticism about its lack of financial management when it appears before the standing committee on appropriations.