The Committee briefly considered and adopted its report on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s budget. The DA abstained from voting due to the absence of a coherent plan from the National Prosecuting Authority. The budget was however approved (with amendments) by the rest of the Committee with on condition that further engagements would take place between the department and the Committee.
Committee Report on Department of Justice budget
Mr Vhonani Ramaano, Committee Secretary, briefed Members on the changes that were made to the report. These amendments were minor and were mostly grammatical.
Ms M Smuts (DA) raised the issue of the R480million that was meant for the erection of court buildings. She requested that a plan be formulated in order for the Committee to know how this allocation would be spent.
The Chairperson explained that the funds would go to the Department; however the actual implementation would be done by the Department of Public Works (DPW).
Ms S Sithole (ANC) commented that the Committee should be able to monitor and prescribe what should happen with how the funds that it approves.
The Chairperson agreed that the Committee should hold the Department to account.
Ms S Sithole (ANC) felt that the reference to SCOPA and the Auditor-General’s Office on page 13 was not correct as it suggested that the Committee did not do its job. In future, this sort of statement would undermine the position of the Committee.
The Chairperson informed Members that the budget would be debated in the House on 5 May 2010 and voting would take place on 26th May 2010.
Mr M Gungubele (ANC) suggested that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Plan should go through the proper procedures and that the Committee should interrogate it further whilst endorsing the allocation.
Mr J Jeffery ((ANC) stated that the Committee had no powers to approve plans.
Mr Gungubele suggested that the Committee should approve the budget but it should make provisions for further scrutiny and engagement.
Ms Smuts announced that the DA would not take part in the voting and would abstain due to the absence of the NPAs coherent plan.
The Chairperson said that he was comfortable with the DA’s abstention. However the rest of the Committee would partake in the voting.
The report was duly adopted with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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