07 May 2023

Budget Vote Debates 2023


2023 Budget Vote Debate Speeches


On 22 February, the Minister of Finance delivered the Budget Speech and tabled the Fiscal Framework, the Appropriation Bill, and the Division of Revenue Bill. These gave details of spending plans and revenue collection. Parliament, through recommendations of the Finance and Appropriations Committees of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, makes the final budget decisions. The Constitution allows Parliament to make these decisions so that the people, through their democratically elected representatives, have a say in budget choices which have a major impact on all of society.

Our Constitution requires Parliament to engage actively with the budget process, in the interests of good governance and financial transparency. In 2009 Parliament passed the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act. This Act gives Parliament the power to make alterations to the budget as a whole and to the budgets of specific national government departments and entities. Before the Act, Parliament could either approve or reject the budget, not make modifications to it. The Act has enhanced Parliament’s examination of government spending and revenue collection and enhanced Parliament’s constitutional duty to examine and oversee government action and policy implementation.

After the Minister of Finance presents the budget, each parliamentary committee has hearings on the Budget Vote for each state department. The committees scrutinise the departmental budgets, annual performance plans, spending plans, and performance in relation to the commitments made in the previous financial year.

Any Parliament committee may ask for a subdivision of a main division within a vote to be appropriated (funds to be moved from or to), as long as:

• The minister of finance or the affected cabinet minister is given two days to respond to the proposed conditional appropriations

• The minister and any other cabinet member has at least ten days to respond to proposed changes on the original Appropriations Bill before the Bill is sent to the National Assembly

• The National Assembly considers all recommendations from the appropriations committee within seven days of the report being admitted


Annual Performance Plans identify the performance indicators and targets that the institution will seek to achieve in the upcoming budget year. It is important that these performance indicators and targets are aligned across an institution’s annual plans, budgets, in-year and annual reports. In addition, the process for the production of the Annual Performance Plan should be aligned with the budget process.



Strategic Plans identify strategically important outcomes-orientated goals and objectives against which public institutions’ medium-term results can be measured and evaluated by Parliament, provincial legislatures and the public



Following their engagements, Committees draft a Report where they analyse the Annual and Strategic Plans as presented to them and make observations and recommendations.

This Report forms the basis from which MPs debate the budget and APPs of departments and their entities. The Budget Vote Debates, starting this week, provide another opportunity for Parliament and the people to interact with the budget.

The debates allow for Parliament, and the public, to be updated about what departments are doing, how they are performing, and exactly how public money is being used.

The debates take place in mini-plenaries i.e. breakaway sessions of the National Assembly. The Minister and Deputy Minister/s introduce the budget on behalf of a department or entity and MPs then debate the budget through a Speakers' List. Multiple budget vote debates will take place at the same time in different venues.

You can view the budget vote debate speeches here

The budget debates will commence on 9 May 2023 and conclude on 1 June 2023.

View the schedule here

After each vote has been debated, each House (NA + NCOP) must vote on the whole budget. The NA will vote on the Appropriation Bill and the accompanying votes and schedules on 8 June 2023. The NCOP will adopt the Appropriation Bill the following week. If passed, this will conclude Parliament’s processing of the 2023/24 national budget. Parliament must pass the Appropriations Bill, with or without changes, or reject it, within four months of the start of the financial year it relates to (i.e. by the end of June).

Parliament will monitor spending and performance quarterly and make adjustments, if necessary, during the October/November mid-term budget process.

It is important for citizens to closely follow the Budget Vote debates to see how respective departments will prioritise service delivery in the period ahead.

Source: parliament.gov.za, treasury.gov.za, ISS (Budget Guide for MPs)

See: Budget Vote debates schedule



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People's Assembly

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