Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to deliver the 2017-18 national budget on Wednesday as speculation grows former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe may replace him.

Attention will be riveted this week on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan who will deliver the 2017-18 national budget in the National Assembly on Wednesday, answering the much-speculated upon question as to how the hole in the country’s finances is to be funded.

The announcement just ahead of Gordhan’s budget speech that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe is to become an MP will fuel speculation that a Cabinet reshuffle is in the offing, which would see Gordhan replaced by Molefe, who will be sworn in on Wednesday.

Also high on the agenda will be the state of the provinces’ addresses to be delivered throughout the week by the premiers of Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and North West. These events will mark the opening of their legislatures. The premiers of the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape delivered their state of the province speeches on Friday.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s address will be the first since the loss by the ANC of two of the province’s largest cities, Johannesburg and Tshwane, in the local government elections in 2016. The provincial government suffered another major blow in February with the revelations of the deaths of about 100 psychiatric patients. The ANC in Gauteng faces a tough road to the 2019 national election, after its support dropped below 50% in 2016 and opposition parties are keen to snatch the province from the party.

Another significant event will be the special meeting of the national executive committee of the ANC on Monday to adopt a raft of policies which will be submitted to the party’s national policy conference in June. The policies — which deal with matters such as the economy, health, education and land reform — have been developed by sub-committees of the national executive committee and will be released for comment and discussion by branches after their adoption.

Several events linked to the budget are planned prior to and after Gordhan’s budget speech, kicking off with the media briefing on Monday by DA finance spokesman David Maynier on how the opposition party believes the budget should be constructed and what expenditure items should be prioritised. Also on Monday Judge Dennis Davis, the head of the Davis tax committee, will address the Cape Town Press Club on these and other issues, including the controversial lifeboat extended to Absa’s predecessor Bankorp by the Reserve Bank.

As Gordhan addresses MPs, members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) will be participating in marches in five provinces (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape) against the Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration. They will be protesting against the “anti-worker” policies of austerity of these departments including retrenchments, outsourcing and casualisation.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma will officiate at the Armed Forces Day celebrations at Moses Mabhida Stadium. This year’s Armed Forces Day will also commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the SS Mendi steamship which killed 616 black South Africans during the First World War.

Parliament’s ad hoc committee on the SABC is to meet on Tuesday to consider responses to its draft report on allegations of mismanagement at the national broadcaster. The final report is expected to be adopted on Wednesday.

Also on Tuesday, officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs will brief the portfolio committee on environmental affairs on making rhino poaching and killing a prosecutable offence. The Department of Basic Education will brief the basic education portfolio committee on the status and readiness of schools for the commencement of the 2017 school year.

The trade and industry portfolio committee will be briefed by departmental officials on the Performers Protection Bill with public hearings on the bill scheduled to take place on Friday. Department of Home Affairs officials will brief the home affairs committee on its response to public submissions on the Refugees Amendment Bill while the energy committee will be briefed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on the various scenarios for South Africa’s future electricity mix.

On Wednesday the police committee will be briefed by the South African Police Service on the country’s crime statistics while on Thursday Gordhan will brief members of four parliamentary committees on this budget proposals.

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