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POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD

ALL eyes this week will be on the engineering and metal workers’ strike that is likely to place more pressure on South Africa’s struggling economy.

On Friday, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the largest union representing workers across several sectors, rejected an increased wage offer. The strike is now likely to intensify and also affect the vehicle manufacturing sector.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant is scheduled to meet Numsa and employer association the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa to encourage them to find a settlement.

Another major highlight this week will be former president Thabo Mbeki’s testimony at the Seriti commission on Thursday. The commission is meant to look into the controversial arms deal.

Mr Mbeki’s testimony will complete the first phase of the probe.

On Thursday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura is scheduled to make an announcement on the e-tolling panel review that he mentioned during his state of the province address last month. He is expected to address its composition, powers and terms of reference.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) plans to intensify its fight against e-tolling. On Monday, DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane and DA transport spokesman Manny de Freitas will brief the media on the party’s continued battle against e-tolls.

On Wednesday, Mr Maimane will speak at the Cape Town Press Club for the first time on what his party deems problematic legislation.

On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma will be in Port Elizabeth to attend the launch of the First Automotive Works, a vehicle assembly plant that will assemble commercial vehicles in South Africa.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is due to meet a high-profile Chinese delegation on Tuesday in Pretoria.

Parliament this week will be dominated by briefings on budgets and the strategic plans of various departments and entities. On Tuesday, the standing committee on finance will be briefed by the National Treasury and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) on the Development Bank of Southern Africa Amendment Bill. The main objective of the proposed amendments to the Development Bank of Southern Africa Act is to enable the DBSA to operate across Africa.

Also on Tuesday, the auditor-general will brief the portfolio committee on mineral resources on the audit outcomes for the 2012-13 financial year of the Department of Mineral Resources. The department will then brief the portfolio committee on its budget and strategic aims for this financial year.