Meeting SummaryIn accordance with a decision taken during the meeting of the Committee held on 14 May 2010, five Members of the Committee were nominated to serve on a task team to consider the review of the Auditor-General’s remuneration. The four main political parties were represented on the task team. The task team had to complete deliberations and submit a recommendation to the Committee before the end of July 2010.
The Committee discussed its programme for the third Parliamentary term, July to September 2010. The Committee planned to undertake an international study tour and a provincial oversight visit to three provinces during the period. Further research was necessary to determine which countries would be visited during the study tour.
The Committee adopted its five-year strategic plan, subject to technical corrections being made to the draft document.
Review of the Auditor-General’s Remuneration
The appointment of a multiparty task team (or sub-committee) to consider the letter from the Remuneration Committee concerning the review of the Auditor-General’s remuneration was decided at a meeting of the Committee held on 14 May 2010. Members from the various political parties were requested to submit nominations by 18 May 2010.
Mr N Singh (IFP) asked if all the political parties would be represented on the task team.
The Chairperson advised that Members of the Committee representing the African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Congress of the People (COPE) were eligible to serve on the task team. He would serve as the Chairperson of the task team.
Ms E Sobiso (ANC) proposed that the ANC be represented by at least two Members. Mr Singh and Dr G George (DA) agreed to the proposal.
The following Members were nominated to serve on the task team:
Mr Narend Singh (IFP)
Mr Mark Steele (DA)
Ms Lorraine Mashiane (COPE)
Ms Elsie Sosibo (ANC)
Ms Susan Tsebe (ANC)
Committee Program for July-September 2010
A draft program for the following Parliamentary term was circulated to the Members for consideration.
The Chairperson said that the Committee’s planned international study tour and provincial oversight visits had to be included in the programme. Suggestions for the international study tour had to be submitted to the Management Committee (MANCO).
Ms Tsebe recalled that the issues concerning oversight visits were exhaustively discussed during previous meetings of the Committee. She felt that MANCO should be able to work with the decisions taken by the Committee. The problem was that the Committee had not adopted the minutes of previous meetings.
Mr Singh suggested that the Committee’s oversight visits be coordinated with the Auditor-General’s programme. Liaison with the Office of the Auditor-General was necessary. The Committee had discussed the international study tour at length but a decision was not taken on whether the tour should be to countries on the African Continent or elsewhere. He suggested that the Parliamentary Researches undertook a study into relationships with Auditors-General in other countries. The planned tour and oversight visits had to take into consideration that the task team had to finalise the matter of the Auditor-General’s remuneration before the end of July 2010. He queried the accuracy of the cost of catering for Committee meetings indicated in the draft Committee Program and felt that R2 500 per meeting was excessive.
The Chairperson advised that a discussion paper on the proposed study tour had to be compiled. The discussion paper would include items such as the models adopted for the function of the Auditor-General, where responsibility for the Auditor-General was located, the relationship of the Auditor-General with the judiciary and with Parliament and the responsibility for oversight. The discussion paper would assist Members in deciding which countries should be visited.
Mr Singh remarked that the Auditor-General of
The Chairperson had observed the high standard of governance in
Previous discussions on the oversight visits to provinces and municipalities had suggested that the North-West,
The Chairperson was disappointed with the performance of the Committee’s support services provided by the Committee Section. He said that the Committee secretary had to work closely with the Auditor-General’s Parliamentary Liaison Officer. Formal written notice of Committee meetings and copies of the minutes of meetings had to be sent to the Liaison Officer. The Committee relied on the Committee Section to submit accurate and timeous minutes for adoption and to compile a detailed annual report on the activities of the Committee. The annual report submitted at the end of 2009 contained little detail and the Speaker had commented that the report lacked substance. The report did not reflect the work that had in fact been done by the Committee.
The Chairperson said that the Auditor-General arranged road shows to promote the achievement of clean audit reports. The road shows took place during specific periods in the audit cycle. Members of the Committee had found it difficult to attend the road shows due to conflicting commitments. The provincial Offices of the Auditor-General would be requested to deploy a senior official to accompany the Members on the oversight visits.
The Chairperson was aware of the financial challenges faced by municipalities. The failure of municipalities to pay the audit fee to the Auditor-General and the failure of certain Government Departments to pay municipalities for services required further investigation. The financial sustainability of the Auditor-General was compromised if audit fees were not paid.
Mr Singh noticed that the dates in September 2010 in the draft Committee Program were incorrect. Friday, 24 September 2010 was a public holiday and a meeting cannot be scheduled for that day. He suggested that the Committee Secretary checked the Parliamentary Program for the third term and ensured that there was no conflict between the two programs.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to make the necessary corrections to the Committee Program before it was submitted. The Committee’s Program needed to be flexible enough to accommodate any unforeseen items requiring attention.
Ms Tsebe suggested that the task team’s submission to the Committee was included in the program.
Adoption of the Committee’s 5 Year Strategic Plan
A draft business plan document was circulated to the Members of the Committee. The Chairperson said that the Committee had to adopt the Strategic Plan during the meeting. He asked if the revised draft document included the vision and mission statements discussed during previous meetings.
Mr Mbuyiselo Hlekiso, Parliamentary Researcher, confirmed that the latest draft included the vision and mission statements.
The Committee approved the mandate, vision and mission statements, without amendment.
Mr Singh suggested that the sections dealing with the functions and legislative requirements included reference to the Constitution as well as the relevant sections of the Public Audit Act.
The Chairperson understood that the changes discussed and agreed with MANCO had been included in the latest draft document. Section 181 of the Constitution made specific mention of the Auditor-General and was more relevant than Section 41, which dealt with inter-departmental relationships. It would appear that the agreed changes had been omitted from the latest draft documents. The numbering of the various sections had to be changed as a result of the insertion of the vision and mission statements. He requested that the Members proceeded to discuss the content of the Strategic Plan and to approve it subject to the technical corrections being made before the final version was submitted.
The Committee approved the sections dealing with the key issues, the core objectives and the main tasks of the Committee. The reference to the Committee (i.e. the oversight authority in terms of the Act) on page 15 of the draft plan required correction. References to the Committee needed to be consistent and the Members agreed that the committee should be referred to by the acronym “SCoAG” throughout.
Prof L Ndabandaba moved the adoption of the report. Mr Singh seconded the motion, subject to the technical corrections to the text of the Strategic Plan. The Committee formally adopted the Strategic Plan.
The Chairperson remarked that the Committee needed to have a monitoring system in place to ensure that the Committee’s program of activities adhered to the Strategic Plan.
The discussion turned to internal Committee business.
The meeting was adjourned.
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