Committee Report on 2012 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement: adoption

Standing Committee on Appropriations

13 November 2012
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered and adopted its report on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement with amendments. Members focused on the findings and recommendations as they had already dealt with the other sections of the report. They reworded several paragraphs to emphasise their concerns on underspending by departments, government employees doing work with government and the filling of funded posts. 

Meeting report

Committee Report on 2012 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement
The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration and invited Members to make comments and suggestions. He noted that the Committee would focus on the findings and recommendations as it had already dealt with the other sections of the report.

Committee’s concerns and findings
Mr M Swarts (DA) made a minor correction on page 14 in paragraph 4.1.

The Chairperson substituted the word “projects” for “funds” in the first sentence in paragraph 4.1.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) suggested that paragraph 4.2 be rephrased to read: “The Committee noted that the funding of the jobs fund to facilitate job creation”. “The Committee was concerned at effectiveness as well as the ability of the administrative capacity for the Jobs Fund”.

Mr Swarts made a technical amendment in paragraph 4.2.

Mr Swarts referred to paragraph 4.3 suggested that the following sentence be inserted: “The Committee however expressed concern at the lack of distinction between savings and under expenditure as well as the adverse effect of under-spending on performance of Departments”.

Mr Swarts referred to paragraph 4.4 and deleted the last part of the sentence and made some grammatical amendments.

Mr Swarts referred to paragraph 4.5 and suggested that the sentence be rephrased to read: “The Committee remain concerned about the planning in the longer term by the departments given the long term advantages that they could derive from the MTEF”.

Mr Swarts made a minor grammatical amendment on 4.6. He then inserted “made available for” and deleted the last sentence from “due to prevailing capacity…- to under expenditure”. He changed the words “projects in 2011/12” to “over the years”.

In respect of paragraph 4.8, Mr Swart inserted the word “expressed it’s” before the word “concerns”. He then made minor amendments to paragraphs 4.9 and 4.10.

Ms A Mfulo (ANC) and Mr G Snell (ANC) made a few grammatical amendments in respect of paragraph 4.11.

Committee’s Recommendations
Mr Swarts advised the Secretariat to change the numbering for the first five recommendations. All proposals relating to National Treasury should be grouped under one recommendation (insert new 5.1) and not separated.

The Chairperson concurred and added that some recommendations needed to be rephrased. He suggested that the new 5.1.1 should read that National Treasury should report to Parliament on declared savings and projected under-spending by departments and their effect on performance targets of Departments. He further suggested that 5.1.2, 5.1.3 and 5.2 also needed to be rephrased as well.

Ms Mashigo referred to paragraph 5.7 (which is changed to 5.3 after the numbering changes) suggested that the DPSA put in place measures to ensure full compliance to ensure full compliance with disclosures framework and mechanisms to detect and prevent conflict of interest. She was concerned with the rampant corruption of some government officials who would set up companies that would benefit from inside information.   
            
The Chairperson mentioned that in the Eastern Cape, about 60% of government officials from the Department of Education were in business with the government.

Ms Mfulo mentioned that employees were required to disclose their interests but there was no laws preventing them to be in business with the government.

Ms A Mfulo (ANC) suggested that the Committee should initiate legislation that prohibited all government employees to do business with government.

The Committee agreed to look at this in the future.

Ms Mfulo suggested that paragraph 5.8 needed to be reworded.

The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement report was adopted with amendments.

The meeting was adjourned


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