The Select Committee on Finance considered the report on the Banks Amendment Bill. The Bill was previously agreed to by the Standing Committee on Finance and was officially referred to the Select Committee on Finance by the National Assembly in the previous week.
The Committee adopted the report on the Banks Amendment Bill as well as the minutes of committee meeting held on 6 May 2015.
The Chairperson discussed briefings of the provincial legislatures that were to be conducted in conjunction with National Treasury, and informed Members that these briefings would take place throughout the month of May. A lot of information needed to be appraised; he requested that Members receive information relating to the various provincial departments in advance. The Committee‘s function was not to zoom in on the specific functions of the provincial treasury but to get an overall picture of how each department was functioning. The Committee’s function was one of oversight over the various provincial departments. One member raised the issue that there were two provinces not represented on the Committee, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu-Natal had an alternate but he had not yet been asked whether he would be available or not for the briefings. The Chairperson said there was still time for the alternates to be ATC’d and thereafter they could be appointed as alternates.
Committee report on the Banks Amendment Bill
The Chairperson said the Committee had received the briefing on the Banks Amendment Bill on Wednesday last week. The National Assembly officially referred the Bill to the Committee on Thursday, and the Standing Committee on Finance thereafter provided a briefing on the Bill. The Standing Committee on Finance having examined the Bill agreed to the Bill. The Chairperson put the report to the Committee and held that the Select Committee on Finance had considered the Banks Amendment Bill 17 B 14, which was classified as a s75 Bill.
The report was adopted.
The Chairperson stated that next week the Committee would embark on visits to the Provincial Legislatures and thereafter brief the Portfolio Committee on Finance on amendments to the Financial Fiscal Commission Amendment Bill. On 19 May, briefings would take place in the Free State and Northern Cape. On 20 May there would be two visits, one to Mpumalanga and the other to Limpopo. On 21 May, the Eastern Cape and North West, with KwaZulu-Natal on 22 May. On 26 May the Committee would visit Gauteng and the Western Cape. The Chairperson then asked the Committee Secretary to advise the committee on the systems to be adhered to during the briefings as advised by Treasury.
Mr Zolani Rento, Committee Secretary, said that there were code 1 and code 2 communications provided by Advocate Empie van Schoor, Chief Director: Legislation, National Treasury. The advocate had explained that only he and one other person were to do the briefings. Advocate van Schoor had tried to ensure there were no clashes with the Member’s schedules and the scheduled briefings. Members would get assistance from two officials from National Treasury.
The Chairperson remarked that the Advocate must bear in mind the road works, as she will be driving from Bloemfontein to Kimberley.
Ms T Motara (ANC, Gauteng) said two provinces did not have representation on the Committee. Previously delegates did not do the briefings, just the Department; therefore there was a need to liaise with the alternates for KwaZulu-Natal to attend the briefing. The Western Cape had not yet given its alternate. She had not yet spoken to the KwaZulu-Natal alternate to ascertain whether he was available for the briefing but the briefing with Treasury had to go ahead.
The Chairperson advised that an email had been sent to the Chief Whip, Dr Matema, regarding the issue and was waiting for feedback.
Ms E Van Lingen (DA, Eastern Cape) commented that Ms C Labuschagne (DA, Western Cape) was the alternate for the Committee on Finance. She would check with Ms Labuschagne to confirm whether she would be available for the briefings. She had printed the list of alternates but did not have it with her in the meeting and would check the list and revert to the committee. The information was passed on to Ms Labuschagne and was to be presented by her in conjunction with National Treasury at the caucus.
The Chairperson responded that he had no record that this information had been passed and, if so, it must be ATC’d. However there was still time to double check and confirm.
Ms Motara stated the KwaZulu-Natal alternate had been ATC’d and as long as the alternate appears on the ATC it is acceptable. She had no objection to Ms Labuschagne being recorded as the alternate but this must be recorded in the ATC.
Adoption of minutes
Minutes of Committee meeting held on 6 May 2015 were adopted without amendment.
Ms Motara announced that there will be briefings next week and the Committee would be negotiating the mandate on 3 June. Other than that nothing else had changed on the programme.
The Chairperson said there was a need to engage with the nine provincial treasuries on their fiscal positions and the National Development Strategy fitting into the National Development Plan. The briefings would be done in three sessions. He requested that the committee secretary engage with the provincial treasuries so that Members should receive the documents in advance, as there was a lot of information especially in terms of figures. When the provinces present, the aim is to get an overall picture of what is happening in the different departments but not zooming in the specifics of each department. Thereafter the provisions kick in for the conditional grants and the oversight function of the Committee comes into play and the one complements the other. This should be done on a quarterly basis and should run until November. The meeting on 12 June was brought forward to 5 June.
The meeting was adjourned.
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