Committee Report on Study Tour to US and Canada; Committee Report on Oversight Visit to Gauteng Province

Standing Committee on Appropriations

29 July 2013
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered, with a view to adopt, its reports on the oversight visit to Gauteng, and study tour to USA and Canada.

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that the report on the oversight visit to Gauteng was dealt with in the previous meeting, and there was no need for Members to go through it again. The report was then adopted with amendments that were made in the previous meeting.

The Committee’s Content Advisor gave the Committee a brief presentation on the report for the study tour to the US and Canada, focussing on the Committee’s observations that were made when the visit was concluded, and how they fit in the South African context. Members made comments and suggestions on the USA and Canada draft report. Some of the words and sentences in the draft report were removed and others were clarified. Members raised a concern that the report should not deal with the South African context, and suggested that the report should strictly reflect the information from USA and Canada.

Due to time constraints, and the USA and Canada report was not adopted with amendments.  The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should meet the following day to finish with adoption of the report. Members agreed to meet the next morning. The recommendations in the USA and Canada report were removed, as it was considered unnecessary.
 

Meeting report

Draft Report of the Standing Committee on Appropriations on the Oversight Visit to Gauteng Province: 2 to 3 May 2013
The Chairperson said that the Gauteng report was dealt with in the previous meeting, and corrections were made. In the previous meeting, Mr M Swart (DA) had commented on grammar and made corrections.

Mr J Gelderblom (ANC) noted that there was no need for the Members to look at the report again. He then suggested that the Committee Members look at the USA and Canada report.

Mr G Snell (ANC) proposed for adoption of the Gauteng report, and Ms N Mkhulusi (ANC) seconded. The Gauteng report was adopted.

First Draft Report of the Standing Committee on Appropriations on its Study Tour to the United States and Canada: 29 September - 10 October 2012.
The Chairperson noted that the study tour report was a combination of the US and Canada information. He suggested to the Committee Members to deal with observations in respect of the US, Canada and with observations for the South African context only.

Mr Tshepo Masoeu, Content Advisor: Standing Committee on Appropriations, read through Committee observations in respect of the US, Canada and observations for the South African context.

The Committee observations in respect to Canada included the following: The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) seemed to be the most powerful institution for Performance Management and Evaluation (PME) since it prescribed Performance Measurement framework (PMF) and the Programme alignment architecture (PAA). Canada’s parliamentary budget was not sufficiently capacitated like their American counterparts, and as a result more focus was given to the Auditor-General’s (AG’s) work. The TBS performed the combined functions of which were separated in other democracies such as Public service and Administration (DPSA), National Treasury and Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in South Africa. There was a lack of the alignment of programme planning and resources in Canadian departments, which made it difficult to measure performance against the resources used. There was no Standing Committee on the Auditor-General in Canada, which ensured that AG executed its duties in line with the mandate. It seemed that the federal government might have national priorities that were not necessarily in alignment with provincial priorities. Those responsible for federal provincial relations had to find a means to align the priorities but there was often tension. The uses of participatory models were not widely traditional, but there were times when representatives from communities were part of the steering committees.

Mr Masoeu read the lessons for the South African context stating that: There was a need for alignment of non-financial data of performance with funding in South Africa; there was a need for the development of a comprehensive programme for PME in South Africa; there was misalignment to what departments report in terms of performance with what citizens were experiencing at a grass roots level, and there was a need for the DPME to reduce its turn-around time on the submission of performance reports to Parliament, as these were critical in the latter’s oversight role, and surveys of citizens in the evaluation process were important information that needed to be included in performance information as this would clearly indicate whether there was value for money in programmes of government to terminate or to continue with a specific programme. 

Discussion
The Chairperson referred to Committee observations in respect to the US, point 4.1, and suggested that the word “built” be changed to “build”. He suggested that the capital letter “A” of the word “Agencies”, in 4.2 be replaced by small letter “a”, the word “evaluating on 4.3 be changed to “evaluate” and the word “the” be inserted between the word “evaluate and performance”. He then made corrections on the numbering.

Mr G Snell (ANC) referred to Committee observations in respect of the USA, 4.4, and suggested that the whole sentence be removed, as it was not really necessary. He then suggested small letter “a” replace that capital letter “A” of the word “Agencies”.

Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) referred to committee observations in respect of the USA, 4.6, and asked for clarity.

Mr G Snell (ANC) referred to committee observations in respect of the USA, 4.6 and he suggested that the sentence be shorten and read as follows: “The world Bank plays an important role in supporting a Monitoring and Evaluation implementation system across democracies. An offer was made by the world Bank to build the capacity of the South Africa on PME and how best government systems could be coordinated”.  

Mr Masoeu referred to Committee observations in respect of the USA, 4.6, and said that it was well explained on page 9 of the report, specifically point 2.2.6 of the budget process which read as follows: “the President proposes a budget but Congress actually makes decision on how much is spent, and can override the President’s proposal. The President can veto this but congress can override such a veto. If the President and the Congress fail to reach a consensus, then a continuing resolution can be adopted to hold spending at the same rate as the previous year, which can happen for six months. In practice this means that discretionary payments would shut down”.

Mr Masoeu referred The Committee the US observations in respect of point 4.7 and suggested that “South Africa” should be added to “Auditor General” to be read as “Auditor General South Africa”.

Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) referred to point 7 of the observations made for Canada, and suggested that the sentence “ South Africa is experiencing the same problem for example in the ASIDI programme and Rural Households Infrastructure programme” be removed because the Committee was dealing with Canada not South Africa.

Mr G Snell (ANC) referred the Committee to point 9 of the observations for Canada, and proposed that the sentence “The Committee also ensures that the independency of such organisation is not being tempered with” be removed as it did not speak to the Canadian context.

The Chairperson referred to Committee observations in respect to the Canada, bullet point 10 and suggested that the word “conflict” be replaced by the word “tension”. He then suggested that bullet point 11 and 12 be removed, as they were unnecessary.

The Chairperson referred to Committee observations for the South African context (point 5), and suggested that the word “observation” be replaced by the word “lessons”.

Mr G Snell (ANC) referred to Committee observations for the South African context, point 5.2, and suggested that the words “integrated and regulated” be inserted between comprehensive and programme.  He then suggested that the sentence “citizen based monitoring should be strengthened to enhance alignment of what departments report in terms of performance and what citizens are experiencing at grass root level” be added to point 5.2.

The Chairperson suggested that the recommendations in the study tour report be deleted because the Committee did not have to make recommendations.

Due to time constraints, the report was not considered and adopted. However, Members decided to meet the following day to consider and adopt the report.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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