Meeting SummaryThe Standing Committee on Appropriations had, on the previous day, considered a draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report on the Department in the Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, and had recommended some changes. However, when going through the Report again, Members noted, and expressed their irritation about, numerous grammatical, spelling and syntax and presentation errors. They agreed that it was not the work of the Committee Members to correct these, but of the Committee Section, and asked that all errors be rectified.
Similar comments were made in relation to the draft Committee report on the expenditure and performance of government departments in the 4th quarter of the 2011/12 year. Once again, this Report was not adopted in its present form, although the Committee agreed that most of the content was acceptable. Under-expenditure of R11.4 billion had occurred, largely due to failure to do proper planning, and major contributors were the National Treasury, Department of Cooperative Governance, Department of Basic Education, Department of Social Development, Department of Police, Department of Water Affairs, and the Department of Public Works. A number of recommendations for the Ministers of Finance, Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Police, Public Works and Water Affairs were included to improve service delivery.
Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation: Draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report
The Chairperson noted that on the previous day, Members had suggested some amendments to the Committee’s draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) on the performance of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). He asked Members to look at the revised document.
When Members went through the document, page by page and line by line, they highlighted numerous spelling and grammatical errors. These would all require to be corrected before the document was finalised.
Ms R Mashigo (ANC) commented that the terminology used by the presenter for the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was not user-friendly, and that she had spoken far too fast and in a very confusing manner.
The Chairperson agreed that the language used by the presenter had been very confusing and was not properly attuned to the Standing Committee.
Mr G Snell (ANC) expressed his irritation that, instead of concentrating on the content of the draft Report, Members were spending too much time having to correct grammar and spelling, which was the duty of the Committee section. The document should have been properly checked and edited before being placed before the Members.
Mr M Swart (DA) made similar comments, saying that he was not a specialist in the English language, but a politician, and that the Committee Section had staff and editors who were being paid to do the job that was now apparently cast upon the Committee. It was a total waste of time to expect Members to go through grammar in this way.
The draft Report was returned for correction.
Draft Committee Report on 4th quarter 2011/12 performance
Members turned to the report on performance of all government departments in the 4th quarter of the 2011/12 financial year. They noted that overall, the national departments of Government reported under expenditure of R11.4 billion at the end of 2011/12. Furthermore, they noted the failure of government departments to do proper planning. The major contributors to the underspending were National Treasury, Department of Cooperative Governance, Department of Basic Education, Department of Social Development, Department of Police, Department of Water Affairs, and the Department of Public Works.
Mr Swart said these sent a negative signal and the deteriorating trend was having an unpleasant effect on overall service delivery to the whole country.
The Committee further noted allegations that some members of the South African Police Services were benefiting from contracts for the construction of police stations, and said this was a cause for grave concern. The allegations were under investigation. The Standing Committee wanted a full report on those investigations to be tabled to it, in due course.
The Committee then moved to the Recommendations section of the report, noting that the following should be included:
-The Minister of Finance should ensure that all funded vacancies were filled in the National Treasury to ensure that service delivery was not hampered.
-The Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities should ensure that her department developed and submitted a comprehensive plan on how it proposed to address over-expenditure on compensation of employees and travelling, particularly in the Administration programme of that department
-The Minister of Police must ensure that the spending pressures on civil claims against the State and Integrated Criminal Justice programme were properly addressed.
-The Minister of Public Works must ensure that this department submitted invoices on time to other client departments, in respect of accommodation and capital projects.
-The Minister of Public Works must ensure that the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Incentive Grant and the Energy Efficient Project were successfully implemented, and that support was given to other implementing agencies.
-The Minister of Water Affairs must ensure that water capital projects, including the Nandoni, Inyaka, and Hluhluwe projects, were expedited and finalised so that this did not hamper the budget implementation process.
The Chairperson noted that the content of the Report was acceptable but he recommended that the Report not be adopted at the moment, because of the numerous grammatical errors, confusing terminology and work that still needed to be done to bring that Report to an acceptable standard.
Members held over the adoption of the Report.
The meeting was adjourned.
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