The Joint Committee met briefly to consider and adopt the report on the appointment of the Director for the Parliamentary Budget Office. There was a brief discussion about whether the designation was correct with one Member querying if it should be Chief. It was decided that current designation would remain.
The report further recommended that:
●Professor Mohammed Jahed be appointed as Director of the Parliamentary Budget Office.
●The appointment of the Director of the Parliamentary Budget Office be subject to agreement to a 5 year performance based renewable contract with the conditions of service (including salary and allowance) being substantially the same as those of the top rank of the public service as per subsection 15(5)(b) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act.
Members adopted the report without any amendments.
Committee Report on the Appointment of the Director for the Parliamentary Budget Office
The Chairperson stated that the purpose of the joint meeting was to consider and adopt the report on the appointment of the Director of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
The Committee had discussed how to proceed with this issue previously. There had been further engagements with the relevant committees in the National Assembly and this report was the product of all the deliberations. Once the report was adopted, it would be referred to the House and be published in the Announcements, Tablings and Committees (ATC).
The Chairperson mentioned that the report was circulated to all Members beforehand and hoped that they had all read it. The first part of the document gave some background that lead to the establishment of the PBO. The second part talked about the setting up of the Office and the appointment of a Director. The report further gave a profile of Prof Mohammed Jahed, who had been recommended to be the Director, as well as a summary of the committee deliberations and conclusions.
The appointment of the Director was subjected to agreement to a 5 year performance based renewable contract with the conditions of service (including salary and allowance) being substantially the same as those of the top rank of the public service as per subsection 15(5)(b) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act,.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms S Faku (ANC; Eastern Cape) and indicated that she had replaced Mr S Masoziwe (ANC; Eastern Cape). He informed Ms Faku that the report under consideration related to the appointment of a Director for the PBO. The PBO must provide independent, objective and professional advice and analysis to Parliament on matters related to the budget and other money Bills.
Finally, the Chairperson asked if Members had any objections they wanted to raise.
Mr D Joseph (DA; Western Cape) thanked the Chairperson and said that he was satisfied with the report. In terms of the recommendation, he wanted to know if Members were comfortable with the appointment of the designation as Director because he did not understand what section 15(5) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, Act No. 9 of 2009. Why not Chief Director? Was the designation negotiated and discussed with the applicant in terms of how it was captured in the report? He nevertheless noted that it was a good idea to have a specialist economist appointed to that position.
The Chairperson said the Money Bills Act said that the conditions of service (including salary and allowance) must be substantially the same as those of the top rank of the public service. He was not certain if the drafters envisaged that the designation should be a Director. In reality, the position would be like a Director-General (DG). Personally, he believed that Director was a suitable title because Secretary of Parliament is the chief of the institution. The scale of the salary would be at the equivalent of the most senior position in the public service.
The Co-Chairperson thanked his colleague. Thereafter, he tabled the report for adoption and asked if there were any objections or questions of clarity.
Mr W Makhubela (COPE; Limpopo) moved for the report for adoption.
Mr A Lees (DA; KZN) seconded the move but cautioned that this should not create a precedent for future appointments.
The Chairperson supported the report and noted that Mr Joseph also approved its adoption.
The Chairperson announced that the report was officially adopted by both committees for the record, therefore it would be published in the ATC as per the requirement.
The Co-Chairperson commented that this was the shortest meeting for both committees. He also welcomed Ms Faku and commented that he had a soft spot for the Eastern Cape because he was born there. He proposed that this matter be dealt with formally and placed the report for consideration to be referred to the House.
Mr Lees moved for the adoption of the report.
Mr Makhubela seconded the proposal.
The meeting was adjourned and Members proceeded to the National Committee of Provinces (NCOP) for the plenary.
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