Please note: Parliamentary papers have confirmed that on 9 May 2024 the National Assembly 1) passed the Housing Consumer Protection Bill (reflecting changes made by the NCOP). It has therefore completed its passage through Parliament, and 2) passed Older Persons Amendment Bill, which now requires the concurrence of the post-elections Parliaments National Assembly and is therefore on hold.  

The National Assembly will re-convene on 9 May 2024 to consider four Bills, once of which reflects changes recommended by the NCOP with which the National Assembly committee concerned has since concurred. The following week, several more Bills are expected to leave Parliament under similar circumstances.

The four Bills expected to be considered on 9 May 2024 are:

  • the Older Persons Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version (unavailable), and
  • the Housing Consumer Protection Bill’s ‘D’ version.

This is according to a recent parliamentary media statement.

Among other things, the Older Persons Amendment Bill provides for the removal of older persons to temporary safe care without a court order. The Housing Consumer Protection Bill provides for more adequate housing consumer protection and more effective home building industry regulation.

The reconvened National Assembly will hold its final pre-elections plenary session for this year’s second term on 16 May 2024, when it is expected to consider and pass several more pieces of proposed new legislation still either being processed by the NCOP committees responsible or awaiting National Assembly committee concurrence with changes already recommended by the NCOP.

Details of the 16 May 2024 National Assembly plenary feature in a programme for Parliament’s second term this year, which in the case of the National Assembly apparently began on 6 May 2024 – its traditionally long pre-elections constituency period notwithstanding. The new programme was adopted on 3 May 2024 by Parliament’s Joint Programme Committee.

The Older Persons Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version and Housing Consumer Protection Bill’s ‘D’ version must have been considered and adopted by round robin, since no National Assembly committees have met to consider legislation since the House rose on 28 March 2024 at the end of its first term for this year. At the time it was assumed that no further plenaries would take place until after the May 2024 elections.

The word ‘rose’ was used in that context. As things have since turned out, in fact the National Assembly went into recess – to reconvene on 6 May 2024, as has since been revealed.

Presumably, the round robin method will also be used by National Assembly committees approached to concur with NCOP recommendations for changes to other Bills still at different stages of the NCOP process. This is noting that many NCOP committees continued processing Bills long after the National Assembly rose/went into recess on 28 March 2024.

Plans for a brief, pre-elections second term for South Africa’s sixth democratic Parliament’s National Assembly seem to have been hatched at the eleventh hour. After all, how else could certain key Bills be finalised pre-elections and sent for presidential signature given the time some NCOP committees were taking to process them?

Pre-elections flurries of parliamentary activity and programming changes tend to suggest that South Africa’s seventh democratic Parliament will inherit far fewer lapsed Bills than might have been expected at the beginning of April, when there were 47 pieces of legislation still being processed. Should everything go according to the latest plan, by mid-May 2024 only 27 will need to be revived for finalisation by the newly elected cohort of MPs and provincial representatives.

  • parliamentary media statement (issued on 6 May 2024)
  • parliamentary programme (confirmed and published on 3 May 2024)  

Published by SA Legal Academy Policy Watch

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