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Parliament Cancels Planned Sittings Amid State Of National Disaster

Parliament Cancels Planned Sittings Amid State Of National Disaster

The coronavirus is also affecting the functioning of Parliament as it has been forced to cancel its plenary sitting of the National Assembly scheduled for Tuesday.

The national legislature announced the postponement of the sitting on Monday morning.

The National Assembly will now sit on Wednesday, 18 March, to conclude urgent business that would have been dealt with on Tuesday.

This meeting will deal with the Division of Revenue Bill.

The bill relates to budget and how budgets are allocated across the national, provincial and local spheres of government. That has to be dealt with, otherwise, budgets cannot be allocated.

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has also cancelled public meetings scheduled for Thursday, 19 March, in three Gauteng municipalities.

The public meetings were part of the three-day report back session of the NCOP’s flagship programme, Taking Parliament to the People.

In a statement released, Parliament confirmed committee meetings will meet as scheduled until further notice.


Shopping malls will also have to impose strict measures to limit the spread of the virus.

A state of national disaster is declared to protect citizens but also grants government certain powers and duties in order to deal with a threat to society.

Declaring a state of national disaster empowers government to release any available resources, implement a national disaster management plan, evacuate to temporary shelters, regulate traffic and restrict movement of people and goods.

Government will also be able to control the occupancy of premises in disaster-stricken areas as well as provide, control or use temporary emergency accommodation.
Authorities will also be able to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages in the disaster-stricken area.

The act covers a number of issues and the powers are to be exercised only to the extent that is necessary for the purpose of assisting and protecting the public; providing relief to the public; protecting property; preventing or combating disruption and dealing with the destructive and other effects of the disaster.

It’s also noteworthy that a national state of disaster lapses three months after it has been declared.

Meanwhile, Cosatu, which had called for government to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, on Monday said sys while they appreciated some of the measures, others needed to be interrogated.

General secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said: “Government has not said anything, it needs to clarify exactly what needs to be done. If you feel, as a worker, you’ve got all these symptoms at home, what does it mean to go to a taxi or a clinic.”

The religious community is also affected with Ramaphosa announcing a ban on all gatherings of more than 100 people ahead of Easter celebrations.

South African Council of Churches’ Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said a meeting would be convened to discuss their response.

“In light of what is happening now and out consultations with government, we have concluded that instead of that meeting being hours and hours for us alone, we shall hand it over to government. We said the meeting were going to have by ourselves, we shall hand it over.”