Coronavirus News Africa

Here is what Ramaphosa is going to be asked in Parliament’s first virtual Q&A

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa will for the first time answer questions in the National Assembly via a virtual platform.
  • All questions relate to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Next week it will be Deputy President David Mabuza’s turn. 

For the first time, President Cyril Ramaphosa will answer questions in the plenary of the National Assembly in a hybrid sitting on Thursday afternoon.

As expected, the Covid-19 pandemic casts a pall over the questions the members will ask Ramaphosa.

The questions also reveal something about the parties asking them; DA interim leader John Steenhuisen wants to know the scientific risk assessment the government’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) “allegedly relied” on to enter the lockdown, while EFF leader Julius Malema wants to know the scientific reasons for relaxing the lockdown to levels 4 and 3.

The economic effects of the pandemic will also come under scrutiny.

The questions are:

ANC MP Lusizo Makhubela-Mashele:

In light of the fact that the South African economy and the economies of other African countries have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in an international lockdown to curb its spread, disrupting domestic and international trade and bringing many industries such as travel and tourism to the verge of collapse as well as stalling the timetable for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, what measures has the government put in place to accelerate the recovery of the South African economy and how is he co-ordinating the economic recovery in Africa as the chairperson of the African Union?

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen (leader of the opposition):

What are the relevant details of the scientific risk assessment that the government’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) allegedly relied on with regard to the modelling used to predict the number of deaths and the projected number of deaths upon which he announced the institution of a national hard lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 from 26 March 2020 and how did the refining of the scientific evidence, since 26 March 2020, in respect of the modelling with regard to any changes in the projected number of deaths, influence the decisions of the NCCC pertaining to the institution of the national hard lockdown?

EFF leader Julius Malema:

Whether his decision to ease the lockdown from alert Level 5 to Level 4 and Level 3 within a short space of time was informed by scientific evidence; if so, how has he found the specified scientific evidence presented to him different to the scientific-based recommendation by the World Health Organisation which advised that numbers of infections must be visibly declining before lockdown should be eased, as he decided to ease the lockdown in spite of infections increasing exponentially; if not, whether he had been lobbied by any persons to ease the lockdown for business to resume operations, despite the lack of preparedness by the workplace and public healthcare services; if so, what are the names of the persons who lobbied him and on whose account he will have to take personal responsibility for the hundreds who will die of Covid-19 due to the premature opening of the economy?

ANC MP Faiez Jacobs:

In light of the United Nations survey that had found that approximately three million workers who work in the informal sector will require assistance to compensate for loss of income due to the impact of Covid-19 and given the efforts of the government, what would be his policy directives to the Department of Small Business Development and small, medium and micro enterprises that will strike a balance between saving lives and livelihoods in achieving the National Development Plan target of creating 9.9 million new jobs which would constitute 90% of all new jobs by 2030?

IFP chief whip Narend Singh:

Whether, with reference to his reply to oral question 2 on 7 March 2019 in which he welcomed as refreshing the idea of establishing an independent Chapter 9 institution, which would explicitly deal with the prevention, combating, investigation and prosecution of grand corruption and given the challenging and uncertain times the Republic is under, the billions of rand allocated for government spending in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the opportunities for corruption this creates for criminal elements in the public service, he has found that it is now more important than ever to establish such a Chapter 9 institution; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the further relevant details?

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald:

With reference to his meeting with the SA National Editors’ Forum on 31 May 2020, during which he stated that the Covid-19 pandemic offers the Republic a golden opportunity to restructure the economy, how does he intend to restructure the economy in order to be more inclusive and open up the economy to alleviate poverty and expedite the land reform process for a more productive economy without weakening the fiscal position of the Republic?

The MPs who posed the original question get the first bite of the cherry to ask a follow-up question, or supplementary question as it is called in Parliament, where after the presiding officer will other members to ask supplementary questions. In terms of the rules, these questions must relate to the original question.

Proceedings are scheduled to start at 14:00.

The president must account to Parliament at least once every term. Next Thursday, it will be Deputy President David Mabuza’s turn, as a question session with him is scheduled for this date.

Since Parliament resumed its work in April after a recess, it had to contend with the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. It had a question session with the ministers in the social cluster which worked reasonably well, except for Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s connectivity issues.

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