Legislative Agenda for Fourth Session 2021-2022: Bill Watch 69/2021

Both Houses of Parliament will meet on Tuesday 19th October for the first sittings of the Fourth Parliamentary session. The session opened on Thursday 7th October when the President delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA). The latter part of the SONA announced the Government’s legislative agenda for the session, that is, the Bills the Government expects Parliament to deal with during the next twelve or so months. The entire SONA, including the legislative agenda, is available on the Veritas website. This bulletin discusses the contents of the legislative agenda.

Unfinished Bills from the Third Session

The President began by acknowledging that several Bills had been left unfinished at the of the last sittings of the Third Session. Without naming all of them, he urged Parliament to complete work on these Bills without delay, so this bulletin lists these Bills as part of the legislative agenda. The Bills are, as regular readers of these bulletins will already know, the following:

Bills in the National Assembly

Undergoing Second Reading debate

Awaiting initial Parliamentary Legal Committee report after First Reading

Public Finance Management Amendment Bill.

Bills in the Senate

These two Bills were amended by the National Assembly before being sent to the Senate:

  • Marriages Bill
  • Pension and Provident Funds Bill.

Bills 1 to 7 above do not yet appear on the Order Papers for the first working sittings of the new session, because they have all lapsed in terms of the Standing Orders of Parliament. In view of what President Mnangagwa said about them, the responsible Ministers, as soon as possible, will be expected to present motions for the Bills to be restored to the Order Papers at the points previously reached, as permitted by Standing Orders – see explanation of Bills lapsing and restoring to Order Papers in Bill Watch 67/2021.

Bills already gazetted by Parliament and awaiting presentation and First Reading

# Indicates that the Bill is listed by name in the legislative agenda announced by the President.

There are two more Bills gazetted and awaiting presentation and although they are on not on the new legislative agenda they will still have to go through Parliament.

Comment: Whether early real progress can be expected on the above backlog of Bills is open to doubt. Parliament’s usual annual timetable tends to be dominated by Budget business in November and December. Indeed, MPs have already had their first pre-2022 Budget briefing on 6th October and teams from the appropriate committees held public hearings around the country from 11th to 15th October.

Other Bills Listed in the Legislative Agenda

  • Please note that the Bills listed below are not available in soft copy.
  • A soft copy of a Bill only becomes available when it has been gazetted.

Bills already being prepared by Parliament for gazetting

Bill 10 below, the Financial Adjustments Bill, may or may not be the Bill demanded by the Public Accounts Committee in a 2019 report on massive unauthorised spending by the Executive in the financial years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. An unsatisfactory Bill – see Bill Watch 66/2019 – was gazetted in 2019 but later withdrawn. The Bill proofs have been with the Attorney-General’s Office since the middle of August.

Bills 11 to 15 were sent to Parliament by the Ministers concerned for printing and gazetting during September and have reached proof-checking stage. In the ordinary course of events they are, therefore, likely to be gazetted relatively soon.

  • Financial Adjustments Bill
  • Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill
  • Child Justice Bill
  • Children’s Amendment Bill
  • Amendment of State Universities Statutes Bill
  • Labour Amendment Bill.

Other Bills listed in the legislative agenda

These Bills have not been gazetted; soft copies will not be available until their gazetting. The President dealt with these Bills in groups, as follows [the subheadings are by Veritas]:

Health sector

  • Medical Services Amendment Bill
  • Medical Aid Societies Bill
  • Health Professions Amendment Bill

Media

Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill [“further liberalisation of the broadcasting sector”]

Financial services sector

  • Securities and Exchange Amendment Bill [“to enable the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate and supervise virtual assets service providers on a risk-based approach”]
  • Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill [“to provide for the identification and assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks that may arise in relation to virtual assets and to ensure that appropriate sanctions are applicable to errant virtual assets service providers, their directors and senior managers”]
  • Deposit Protection Corporation Amendment Bill [“to align the principal Act to international best practice]

Devolution Agenda

In addition to the Provincial Councils and Administration Amendment Bill [see Bill 12 above] the President listed the following Bills:

  • Urban Councils Amendment Bill;
  • Rural District Councils Amendment Bill;
  • Regional Town and Country Planning Amendment;
  • Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill.
  • Municipal Courts and Police Bill
  • Liquor Licensing Bill

Disaster risk management

Disaster Risk Management Bill [“to strengthen our nation’s responsiveness and preparedness to tackle disasters”]

Labour law

Labour Amendment Bill [“The dispute settlement machinery will be rationalized to remove cumbersome confirmation procedures. The Bill also seeks to align the Labour Act with ratified International Labour Organisation Conventions, including freedom of association, the right to maternity leave and equal remuneration for work of equal value.”]

Parliament

Parliamentary Pensions Amendment Bill [“to address deficiencies identified in the Parliamentary Pensions Act”].

Co-operative Societies

Co-operative Societies Amendment Bill [“to take account of changes in the socio-economic environment and the need to restructure operations, efficiencies and growth of co-operatives”].

Persons with disabilities

Persons with Disabilities Amendment Bill [“to amend the 1992 Disabled Persons Act, informed by other contemporary legislation on disability rights”].

Justice delivery system

  • Administrative Justice Amendment Bill [to align the Administrative Justice Act to the Constitution].
  • Judicial Laws Amendment Bill [to amend the High Court Act, Labour Court Act and Magistrates Court Act “to ensure the proper functioning of the lower courts and efficient justice delivery”].
  • Prisons Amendment Bill [“to establish a progressive system based on principles of rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society”].

Defence

Defence Amendment Bill [to align the Defence Act with the Constitution]

International obligations

Anti-Personnel Mines (Prohibition) Amendment Bill [the principal Act is available on the Veritas website.
Biological and Toxin Weapon Warfare Bill [a Bill of the same name was gazetted in January 2014 but not proceeded with].

Obvious Omissions from the New Legislative Agenda

Ministry of Mines and Mining Development ?

Given the that a Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill has been considered urgently necessary for some years now, and that it and two other Bills featured in the Third Session’s legislative agenda, it is odd that the President did not mention the following Bills or any other Bills from this Ministry:

  • Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill
  • Precious Stones Trade Amendment Bill
  • Gold Trade Amendment Bill.

Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry ?

Two Bills from the Third Session’s legislative agenda are missing from this session’s:

  • Tourism Amendment Bill
  • Parks and Wild Life Amendment Bill.

Source: Veritas

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