Here’s how the coronavirus is likely to disrupt parliamentary proceedings_1

Sorry if you were hoping to catch a glimpse of what “point of order, this man is always buffering” might look like in a parliamentary meeting over Skype, but today’s National Assembly meeting has been cancelled. 

The National Assembly will now sit on Wednesday 18 March and catch up on the work they missed today, with the presiding officers of Parliament and the whippery meeting today to forge a way forward through the disruption. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster on Sunday 15 March, and told the country to be extra vigilant of meeting in large groups of more than 100 people. 

Division of Revenue Bill to be debated later

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said that issues on the agenda for Tuesday included the Division of Revenue Bill, and said that this and all other important matters would be caught up on later in the week. 

“In light of the measures announced by the president of the republic in respect of curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and after consultations with the whips and representatives of political parties, a decision has been taken to cancel the plenary sitting of the National Assembly scheduled for Tuesday 17 March 2020.

“The National Assembly will now sit on Wednesday 18 March to conduct urgent business that would have been dealt with on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, this will include the consideration of the Division of Revenue Bill. Subject to availability of members of the executive, the time for the sitting on Wednesday is 10:00.”

Portfolio meetings go ahead

Portfolio committee meetings will go ahead as scheduled unless a decision is taken this morning to cancel them too, after the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) cancelled meetings scheduled 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 (TPTTP). The NCOP will only meet on Thursday to consider an urgent business: The intervention in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in terms of section 139 (1)(c).”

Mothapo said that more information would be available later today. 

“A comprehensive announcement regarding the programme of both Houses of Parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, will be made after the Tuesday meeting.”