The Committee met to discuss its Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report.
The Report comprised of the Committee’s mandate, listed the the entities that belonged to the Department of Transport, highlighted the applicable legislation, enumerated the Committee’s engagements with the different entities, discussed the Department’s programme and the National Development Plan (NDP) and included the Committees observations and recommendations.
The Committee agreed to the following:
The report should reflect how the NDP will help facilitate the Committee’s mandate and the Department of Transport.
The Auditor General’s observations regarding the failures of the entities and the department should be included.
The Department and its entities should avoid wasteful and irregular expenditure.
The Minister should look into matters relating to the transport challenges in the Free State.
The Chairperson asked the Committee members how the report should be presented. Should the Committee discuss it page by page or should the Committee Secretary and Researcher go through it will the Committee?
Ms S Xego (ANC) suggested that the Committee go through the report page by page.
Draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report
Ms Valerie Carelse, Committee Secretary, did the first section of the report. She said that a lot of the information in the report was previously presented to the Committee members. However, the recommendations did not include all of the information that was discussed in the meetings.
Page one of the report comprised of the Committee’s mandate, listed the the entities that belonged to the Department of Transport, and highlighted the Money Bill and legislative proposals. The report also looked at the Committee’s oversight visits during the year and what was observed. Page two of the report looked at the engagements with the different entities, such as the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). In addition, this page detailed the Department’s programme, how the Department constituted its mandate according to the National Development Plan (NDP) and how the Department intended to grow employment through the implementation of the NDP. She added that that in the last financial year the Department and Committee had amended some policies and the public were called to make submissions to the Committee regarding the amendments. The page also consisted of information about these sessions with the public organisations, the processes which were followed to amend policies and the aims of the policies. The report was very clear on partnerships, especially the partnership which it had formed with the National Treasury.
Dr Sifiso Ngesi, Committee Researcher, said that on page two the report also focused on the Human Resources Management; however it was important to note that in the previous report, information about Employment Equity (EE) was not included but he has included the EE in the new draft report.
Ms Carelse said the drafters (Committee Staff) also included the recommendations made by the previous Portfolio Committee. Many of their recommendations were not approved, and as such she and Dr Ngesi had decided to include them in the report. The previous year’s report spoke to issues of vacancy rate which were also not included in the report.
The Chairperson said it was important that the report highlighted matters relating to the NDP which helped to guide the Committee with its mandate. The Minister had also mentioned some issues that the Committee had to ensure that the Department should deliver within the next few months.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) stated that the Auditor General’s observations regarding the failures of the entities and the department should be included on page 33; also, the observations by the Committee should also be included in the report.
Mr M Maswanganyi (ANC) said that the entities must submit their Annual Performance Plans (APPs) on time. There had been an improvement from the 2013/2014 to 2014/2015 financial year and that had to be reflected in the report, including the unqualified audits received by the entities. The report should also include any wasteful and irregular expenditure. With regards to the recommendations, he said that in order for the Department and entities to deliver services they must comply with the relevant legislation. He concluded by asking why the report did not have a conclusion.
Mr M Sibande (ANC) commended the staff for compiling a good report which did not include quotations from the Committee members. He added that the report must be strategically written in the sense that it should be clear to the reader what recommendations are for a specific entity, such as the recommendations for the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The Chairperson said that SAMSA must be made a ‘stand-alone’ entity as it is expected, by the Minister, to deliver on a number of issues. This would make it easy for the Committee to keep track of its operations.
Ms Xego said that the Committee’s observations should be included on page 14. She said that on page 25 of the report it was stated that the issues with the entities must be addressed to the Minister. Should the issues relating to the entities not be directed to the Department’s executive?
The Chairperson said there had been no mention of the Bus Rapid transport in the report. It was important to remember that the policies of the bus systems differed in the different cities, for example, the My City buses and Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus system would not be audited the same.
Ms D Carter (COPE) said on page 12 the management of vacancies did not come out clearly in the report. The entities told the Committee that 130 vacant positions were filled but the report did not indicate the information that was given to the Committee by the entities. Further, she mentioned that the transport sector in the Free State was not given enough attention. The report should indicate the information that the Committee had observed while on oversight in the Free State.
Mr C Hunsinger (DA) said he was not fond of a report that uses percentages to indicate the entities’ achievements. He added that there were grammatical errors on page 16.
Mr M De Freitas (DA) said there was a grammatical error in the sixth line on page four. In addition, he asked about the gender representation table on page 33 and what symbols were used for male and female.
Mr Sibande said that the media thought that the Committee’s recommendations were only derived from the Auditor General’s recommendations, but there were other sources such as MP constituencies, stakeholders and the Committee’s oversight visits. He added that this information should also be included in the report.
Mr Ramatlakane said that the recommendation in number 7.2 must be re-written with the corrective steps which were set out in the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA). On page 26, he said that the recommendations raised by the Auditor-General should be broken down as a way of separating the 2013/2014 report and the 2014/2015 report.
The Chairperson said that the Free State was still facing challenges with their transport system. She added that the Minister should also look into matters relating to transportation that traveled between countries and the disadvantages that had on the employees.
Ms Carter said that the Department had been receiving money from the National Treasury but no work had been done regarding the employees that work in the transportation industry. She also queried about figues that had been reported on. (Audio is inaudible…check 1:28:20)
Dr Ngesi replied that the information in the report was based on the reporting in the annual report. The Committee could not say for certain that what was reported was a true reflection of what had transpired unless the Committee had conducted oversight and were in a position to contradict this.
Mr Hunsinger stated that the report should speak about the lack of financial discipline in the entities and how this should be improved.
Mr Ramatlakane said that the role of the PFMA was to help determine whether any violation had been done regarding public funds. There were a number of issues that should be taken into consideration, including capacity and whether the people employed were right for the job.
Mr Hunsinger said it should be clear that the Auditor General’s recommendations were only on matters relating to the irregular and wasteful expenditure.
Ms Carter said the report should have been emailed at least four days before the meeting. The Committee had not had a chance to look at the report properly and make comments. This was a problem with many of the other documents that the Committee received.
Adoption of Minutes
Committee Minutes dated 8 September 2015
Mr Ramatlakane moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr T Mulaudzi (EFF) seconds the adoption of the minutes.
Committee Minutes dated 11 September 2015
Mr Ramatlakane said that the meeting that took place on the 11 September 2015 still had to continue because a lot of the issues that were discussed at the meeting were not concluded. Therefore, the minutes could not be adopted as they were.
Ms Carelse asked that the proceedings of the meeting be sent to her.
The Chairperson replied that the Committee was not allowed to make the report available for the public.
Mr Maswanganyi asked why the minutes did not reflect the matters that were discussed during the meeting.
Mr Ramatlakane said the minutes of the meeting and the report has to be compared to ensure that the information was coherent.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee was willing to adopt the minutes with the amendments.
Mr Ramatlakane moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr Sibanda seconds the adoption of the minutes.
Draft Minutes of the 22 September 2015
Mr Hunsinger said that he was not present at the meeting.
Mr Sibanda moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr De Freitas seconds for the adoption of the minutes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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