Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report; Committee Reports on oversight visits to Limpopo and Eastern Cape

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

28 October 2016
Chairperson: Ms M Semenya (ANC)

Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee met to discuss and adopt the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report; the oversight visit to Limpopo and Eastern Cape reports; as well as minutes from previous meetings of the Committee. The three reports were not given out to the public as they were draft reports which still needed to be adopted by the Committee.

On the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report the Committee highlighted areas from the Auditor General’s findings that need to be addressed within the Department and its entities, some of the findings were as follows:

  • Prevention of unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure
  • The Committee also noted top three root causes of poor performance which were slow management response in the monitoring and evaluation of quarterly reporting; lack of skills and competency in supply chain management and lack of adherence to supply chain management policies when appointing implementing agents.
  • The Committee was concerned with the alignment of the Department structure with its mandate and expected responsibilities.

The Committee reports on oversight visits to Limpopo and the Eastern Cape were adopted.

 Minutes of Committee meetings held on 6 September, 13 September, 16 September, 20 September,11 October, 13 October, 18 October 2016 and 20 October 2016, were adopted unamended.

Meeting report

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report
The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee had received a letter from the Chair of chairs which requested an explanation on why the Committee had not adopted the report before the Minister of Finance did budget assignments.

Ms Nokuzola Mgxashe, Committee Content Advisor, gave an overview of the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report which was not open to the public since it was not yet adopted. Members suggested that she avoid going through the draft report page by page. She asked if there are any issues that Members had found in any of the pages.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had made a significant improvement in terms of spending its budget.

The Committee highlighted areas from the Auditor General’s findings that need to be addressed within the Department and its entities, some of the findings were as follows:

  • Prevention of unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure
  • The Committee also noted top three root causes of poor performance which were slow management response in the M&E of quarterly reporting; lack of skills and competency in supply chain management and lack of adherence to supply chain management policies when appointing implementing agents.
  • The Committee was concerned with the alignment of the Department structure with its mandate and expected responsibilities.

The Committee recommends to the national assembly that the Minister of Finance should consider the following recommendations:

  • Additional funding is proposed for the Department and funded mandate such as the plan for the cultural sectors in 2017 and the proposed operation Phakisa for agriculture, land reform and rural development to which the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is expected to play a central role in collaboration with other Departments such as the Department of Rural Development.
  • The agricultural sector is negatively affected by climate change through droughts, veld fires and floods and has not yet recovered from the recent drought. Therefore, the deduction in payments for capital assets and the impact the reduction will have on maintaining the sustainability and growth of the sector is a concern. In addition, the increase in state of food imports due to the draught impact on the sector will act to the constrained infrastructure capacity for agricultural bulk operations. The Committee recommends additional funding for the Department in respect of drought relief of the sector and infrastructure development to ensure efficient delivery of services.
  • The Committee recommends the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to consider outstanding previous recommendations from the Committee in the 2016 BRRR and 2016/2017 budget report as outlined in sectioned three of the draft report. Reports on these matters should be submitted to Parliament before the end of January 2017.
  • Ensure that the progress report on the full integration of the fisheries branch with key functions from the departments is submitted to Parliament. It was previously reported that the integration will be finalised once an accounting officer is appointed. The progress report will be submitted to the Committee by the end of February 2017.
  • The Minister should ensure that the Department’s policies on small holders’ producer development and support should also address the plight of farm workers to strengthen sector productivity and its contribution to employment. Members were not entirely happy with this specific regulation as some Members felt that this is a concern for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The Committee agreed to the recommendations and observations made and then moved on to adopt the report.

Oversight visit to Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces
The Chairperson asked Members to discuss the findings and recommendations of the report on the oversight visit to the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces.

The Committee agreed not to discuss the reports page by page since members had gone through the report before the meeting and rather discuss any concerns that may have appeared.

Members did not have concerns with the report and proceeded to accept both the Eastern Cape and Limpopo oversight visit reports.

The reports were adopted.

Adoption of minutes
The Committee considered minutes from previous Committee meetings, the minutes that were adopted which were of the 6 September, 13 September, 16 September, 20 September,11 October, 13 October, 18 October 2016 and 20 October 2016.

The meeting was adjourned.