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Parliament Resumes its Work With Immediate Effect

April 20, 2020

Parliament

The business of parliament has resumed with immediate effect.

In a statement, parliament also announced that the scheduled leave period for members of parliament from 28 April to 4 May has been cancelled.

Parliament was suspended in March prior to the nationwide lockdown.

During this period the presiding officers have considered how parliament “could best resume its business after the constituency period and to benchmark best practices by other legislatures around the world in the fight against COVID-19”.

Parliament emphasized that the “role of Parliament remains indispensable, during this period of national lockdown and the extended period of social distancing, which is expected to continue for months”.

Parliament has used the lockdown period to boost its technological capabilities as part of a transition to an e-parliament.

The necessary information and communications technology infrastructure has been put in place to ensure parliament’s readiness for virtual meetings.

A schedule of virtual committee meetings is to be prioritized focused on committees related to government departments driving COVID-19 response measures.

“These committees will be required to intensify their oversight engagements, particularly on COVID-19 matters, and will conduct joint meetings.”

Rules to make provision for virtual sittings of the national assembly and the national council of provinces have also been drawn up.

Parliament indicated that the Division of Revenue Bill, passed by the national assembly on 18 March, is likely to be passed by 2 June 2020.

Parliament’s presiding officers have also decided to donate one third of their monthly salaries to the Solidarity Fund for the next three months.