Meeting SummaryThe Committee met to consider its draft Report on the Appropriations Bill. Members raised issues around the following issues: the ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ principle, the fast-tracking of the Money Bill, and Departments not being compliant with the Public Services Act in terms of dealing with matters related to financial misconduct. Members agreed that departments should draw up Turnaround Plans to address weaknesses identified in the Report and report back to Parliament within 60 days. The Report was adopted with amendments.
Report on the Appropriations Bill
Mr M Swart (DA) referred to page nine and said that he did not agree with the scrapping of the ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ principle as it had been due to the inefficiency of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (formerly known as the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs), which had led to the current situation. Also, he sought clarity as to who had raised this matter, was it the Department or the Committee?
Mr G Snell (ANC) could not understand what prohibited the Department from making offers on properties that were advertised at certain prices.
Mr J Gelderbloem (ANC) argued that this was a political issue and should therefore not be discussed at this forum. Instead, it should be debated in the House.
Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) suggested that the sentence be reworded to read as such: “The Department, in briefing the Committee, expressed their concern around the willing buyer, willing seller principle.”
The Chairperson addressed two issues. Firstly, he agreed with Mr Swart around the language issue. Secondly, he clarified that the Department had expressed concern on this issue, adding that the ANC also held a view.
Mr Ramatlakane referred to page 10 and said that it should be noted as one the Committee’s Findings that the Money Bills Act should be fast-tracked.
Mr Swart said that, as this was not mentioned in the body of the Report, it could not be listed under ‘Findings’. It should instead be noted under ‘Recommendations’.
Mr Snell said that it had been raised in the body of the Report and suggested this be amended to read as follows: “The implementation of the Money Bill and Procedures Related Act of 2009 has not been implemented in its entirety.”
The Chairperson asked whether, in terms of the third Finding (“a lack of compliance with the Public Service Act regarding the prescribed period of 60 days for resolving financial misconduct”), any departments other than the Department of Justice had been found non-compliant. Was this a general trend or was it only found with those Departments identified?
Mr Ramatlakane said that examples of non-compliant Departments should be noted.
Mr Gelderbloem said that, as there may be other departments who also were non-compliant in this regard, it should read as “some Government Departments”.
The Committee Researcher explained that the reason the Department of Justice and the Department of Police were specifically mentioned was because they were found to hold the highest levels of non-compliance in this matter. The issue of non-compliance with this Act was found at all levels of Government.
The Chairperson said that, under Recommendations, it should be stated that “Departments should draw up Turnaround Plans to address weaknesses identified in the Report and report back to Parliament within 60 days.”
Mr Snell said that “the budget implications thereof” be added to this.
The Chairperson said that he had reservations about the inclusion of the budget implications.
Mr Ramatlakane agreed by saying that Turnaround Plans would address all the issues, including budgets.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would seek to get feedback on the Recommendations it made here as, in the past, there had been very little feedback in this regard.
The Report was duly adopted with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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