Report on the 2011 Adjustments Appropriation Bill; Report on the Medium-Term Budget and Planning Strategy

Standing Committee on Appropriations

17 November 2011
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to consider and adopt its draft Report on the 2011 Adjustments Appropriation Bill as well as its Draft Report of the Medium-Term Budget and Planning Strategy.

Members proposed that additions be made around the Department of Health having requested a rollover of R30 million for relocation to different premises, the Committee’s concerns around the reprioritisation in programmes during the financial year, the need for the Department to engage with LoveLife in order to resolve issues of non-compliance, that, in relation to the Department of Education, the Auditor-General be asked to present its report on the delivery of infrastructure in the various provinces, the Committee’s concerns around the fact that the Department of Communications had not spent any of the funds set aside for the establishment of a proposed call centre and concerns raised around the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs having requested a rollover despite its poor expenditure. Mention should also be made of numerous Departments’ contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

The Chairperson proposed that recommendations be included around the need for travel costs to be reduced as the amounts spent here were too high and the Department of Education needing to engage with the Department of Public Works in order to achieve value for money in the building of schools.  Added, many Departments’ Administration budgets were larger than that set aside for their core functions.

The Report was adopted with amendments.

In its consideration of its Draft Report on the Medium-Term Budget and Planning Strategy, a Member proposed that the call by the Human Sciences Research Council for the establishment of a reserve fund for the National Health Insurance needed to be included and asked whether the issue of the backlog of R700 million had been raised in previous engagements.

The Report was adopted.

Meeting report

Committee’s Draft Report on the 2011 Adjustments Appropriation Bill
The Chairperson asked whether the figures noted in paragraph 2 of the first page were accurate as there appeared to be some inconsistencies.

Ms Phelelani Dlomo, Committee Researcher, replied that when the budget was tabled it stood at R884.7 billion. An additional budget of R9.2 billion was put in place which brought it up to R894 billion. From this the projected under-expenditure of R6 billion was taken which resulted in the total of R888 billion.

Mr M Swart (DA) proposed that this read as: The 2011/12 Medium-Term budget introduced R9.2 billion additional to the main appropriation and, after taking into the account the 6 billion under-expenditure, the budget remaining is R888 billion.’

The Chairperson said that it should be stated that the Department of Health had requested a rollover of R30 million for relocation to different premises. It had, however, subsequently relocated.

Ms Dlomo replied that this amount was largely for Information Technology work which was yet to be completed.

The Chairperson said that, in terms of the Department’s reprioritisation of funds, it should be stated that the Committee raised concerns that during the financial year, there appeared to be a reprioritisation in programmes.

Ms Dlomo responded that the Committee raised concerns around the poor planning reflected in this reprioritisation.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) asked for clarity around what was meant in the statement that the relationship between the Department of Health and LoveLife needed to be improved.

The Committee Researcher answered that the issue here was around LoveLife’s non-compliance and its business plan not speaking to its priorities.

The Chairperson proposed that this read as: The Department of Health should engage with LoveLife in order to resolve issues of non-compliance. A recommendation should be included around the need for the Department of Education to engage with the Department of Public Works in order to achieve value for money in the building of schools.

Mr G Snel (ANC) proposed that the Auditor-General be asked to present its report on the delivery of infrastructure in the various provinces as the way Bid Committees operated seemed to be wrong.

The Chairperson said that the Committee’s concerns around the Department of Communications not spending any of the funds it had been allocated for a proposed call centre should be included, particularly as this amount had been increased from the previous year’s unspent amount.

Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) said that it should be added that this amount had been reprioritised.

Mr Snel added that it should be stated that the Department had appointed transaction advisors for a public-private partnership initiative for the establishment of this call centre. The Department was of the belief that the tender for this project would not be going out before the end of the financial year and stated that they had reprioritised the funds within the Department.

Mr Ramatlakane proposed that, in relation to the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, it be noted that the Committee noted the dispute in figures provided and was, as a result using the figures provided by National Treasury.

Mr Snel proposed that, in relation to the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, the percentages listed prior to the adjustment needed to be looked into.

The Committee Researcher responded that these figures were a typographical error and belonged instead under the Department of Communications.

Mr Ramatlakane said that it needed to be stated that the Committee raised concerns around the Department’s request for a rollover despite its poor expenditure. In relation to the Department of Finance mention should be made of numerous Departments’ contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

The Chairperson said that this should instead be included under the Overview section. In terms of the Committee’s Findings, it should be stated that as many Departments’ Administration budgets were larger than that set aside for their core functions, there was need to rework these. In terms of its Recommendations it should be stated that travel costs were too high and needed to be reduced.

The Committee Researcher added that this also be included under its Findings.

Mr Swart said that although the Democratic Alliance supported the adoption of the Report, it would not support adoption of the Bill without amendments.

The Chairperson noted this.

Mr Swart proposed that the Report be adopted.

Mr J Gelderblom (ANC) seconded this.

The Report was adopted with amendments.

Committee’s Draft Report on the Medium-Term Budget Plan Strategy
Ms Mashigo said that the call by the Human Sciences Research Council for the establishment of a reserve fund for the National Health Insurance needed to be included. Was the issue of the backlog of R700 million raised in previous engagements?

Mr Ramatlakane said that there had been engagement around the backlog.

The Committee Researcher added that there was a need to flag this issue as there were only four months left within which to spend this amount.

Mr Ramatlakane proposed the Report be adopted.

Mr Swart seconded this.

The Report was adopted.



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