Finance Select Committee: North West Oversight Report; Taxation Laws Amendment Bill & Voluntary Disclosure Programme and Taxation Laws Second Amendment Bill: adoption

NCOP Finance

13 September 2010
Chairperson: Mr C De Beer (ANC, Northern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered the North West Report, which arose out of the oversight visit to municipalities in that province. The Committee included two new recommendations that included a follow up visit to municipalities and discussing these concerns with the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. This was done because it was observed that most municipalities tended not to act on recommendations after they were made. It was highlighted that those found misappropriating funds in government were not dealt with which was not the case in the private sector. There was a difference in opinion between two Members on why this was the case. One suggested that it was a problem with legislation while the other stated that it was due to lack of political will. The Committee eventually adopted the report on the assurance that changes that had been observed would be incorporated to the report thereafter.

The Committee also adopted the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill and the Voluntary Disclosure Programme and Taxation Laws Second Amendment Bill without amendments.

Meeting report

Chairperson's Introductory Remarks
The Chairperson welcomed Members and referred them to the agenda of the day. Firstly, the Committee would consider the North West Report, which arose out of the oversight visit to municipalities in that province. Secondly, the Committee would vote on the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill and the Voluntary Disclosure Programme and Taxation Laws Second Amendment Bill.

Consideration of the North West Report
The Chairperson proposed that since Members had received the copy of the report before the meeting and had enough time to go through the report, the process of consideration would be done by going through the document page by page for purposes of amendments and corrections.
The Committee proceeded as proposed.

Mr B Mashile (ANC, Mpumalanga) commented that the visit to the North West was an eye opening experience. It was useful for the Committee to make such trips as it made assessments of the audits of the various local municipalities. However, he noted that there was no urgency on the part of municipalities to act on the recommendations that had been made. He therefore proposed that the Committee isolate the areas where things were bad and assess if follow ups were being done as certain municipalities were now under administration for the third time.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee would have to sit with the municipality reports and with the quarterly reports by Treasury.

Mr Mashile noted that throughout the hearings, the Committee had mainly engaged with senior administrative officials in municipalities. Perhaps the Committee needed to try a different approach to get change such as meeting with the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Mr T Chaane (ANC, North West) recommended that the Committee together with the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs should visit the municipalities in three months time to monitor progress made on the recommendations.

The Chairperson said that the two recommendations of a follow-up visit and inviting the Minister would be added to the overall recommendations.

Mr Mashile observed that the municipalities only seemed to obey external committees as they were in constant touch with the Auditor-General and the MEC for Finance
Mr J Gunda (ID, Northern Cape) said that it was a trend in the country that municipalities just reported to Parliament. If the Committee was serious about doing oversight and exercising its powers, then there was a need to talk to the Minister so that recommendations made by the Committee should be included in the municipalities turn around strategy.

Mr Mashile said that there was a problem with existing legislation as those who were found misappropriating funds in government were not dealt with, which was not the case in the private sector.

Mr Chaane did not believe that was any problems with the laws, but that there was a serious problem of political will as people politicised discipline. Most of the forensic and investigative units housed under the office of the Premier were very weak. Furthermore, the human resource divisions in government departments were also equally weak.

Mr Chaane referred to the recommendations under Matlosana Local Municipality as pointed out that it did not apply to that municipality. The recommendations could have been mixed up with another municipality in the process of preparing the report. The issues in Matlosana related to housing and backlogs in terms of service delivery. These issues had not been captured.

Mr Chaane highlighted that the recommendation to the Ministers of Correctional Services and Public Works to endorse the cancellation of the planned correctional services centre applied to Ditsobotia Local Municipality and not Maquassi Hills Local Municipality as had been reflected.

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee adopt the report on assurance that changes that had been observed would be made to the report thereafter.

The Committee adopted the report.

Voting
Taxation Laws Amendment Bill
The Committee unanimously adopted the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill without amendments.
Voluntary Disclosure Programme and Taxation Laws Second Amendment Bill
The Committee unanimously approved the Voluntary Disclosure Programme and Taxation Laws Second Amendment Bill without amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.



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