President Jacob Zuma with Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: SOWETAN
President Jacob Zuma with Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: SOWETAN

A BATTERED, bruised and significantly weakened labour federation, Cosatu holds a special central executive committee meeting on Monday, having lost two affiliates.

Cosatu, once considered a powerful counterbalancing force in the tripartite alliance and an influential voice for the downtrodden in SA, will introspect about its response to current political challenges in the alliance.

Although Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini is thought to be an ally of President Jacob Zuma, a key agenda item at the meeting will be whether or not the union federation will publicly back Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma.

However, Cosatu itself has been ravaged by factionalism that has resulted in the wholesale purge of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) from the federation and the Food and Allied Workers Union’s (Fawu’s) voluntary exit from the umbrella body.

In August, Cosatu said that workers, its core constituency, no longer had confidence in Zuma.

On the parliamentary front, committees will discuss an array of topics including South African Airways (SAA), the cost of data, electricity prices increases and a bill which proposes policing the internet.

SAA executives are scheduled to appear before the finance portfolio committee after the airline tabled its long overdue annual report.

The governance cluster of ministers will on Tuesday answer questions in the National Council of Provinces. The cluster includes the ministers of co-operative governance, public service and administration, and the minister in the Presidency.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, will on Monday brief the media on his recommendations on the 2017 fees adjustments for universities and TVET colleges. The briefing follows the Council on Higher Education report for 2017 fee adjustments, as well as the minister’s ongoing consultations with key stakeholders.

The portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services will hold public hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday on the cost to communicate. Industry players including cellphone network operators, research institutions, students, nongovernmental organisations, internet service providers and small-, medium-and micro-enterprises will make submissions to the committee.

On Wednesday, Eskom officials will brief Parliament’s select committee on communications and public enterprises about the utility’s tariff increase for 2016-17. In August, the High Court in Johannesburg set aside the National Energy Regulator of SA’s (Nersa’s) decision to grant Eskom an effective 9.4% increase for 2016 on the grounds that the regulator’s rules and methodology had not been properly applied.

The ruling followed an application by a group of businesses from the Eastern Cape, including the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, to have Eskom’s 2013-14 application under the Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) set aside. The RCA is the method approved by the regulator to allow Eskom to recover costs retrospectively after the close of the financial year.

Nersa said it would appeal the judgment. The regulator has released a Multi-Year Price Determination draft methodology document for public comment, which closes on Thursday.

DA MPs and spokeswomen on communications Phumzile van Damme and Veronica van Dyk will talk about the "highly problematic internet censorship bill — the Films and Publications Amendment Bill of 2015".

The DA says that in its current form the bill will give the Films and Publications Board and minister of communications wide-ranging powers to censor internet content. This would be "a serious infringement of the constitutionally protected rights to freedom of the media and freedom of speech".

The portfolio committee on communications will hold public hearings to deliberate on the bill on Tuesday.