The Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament adopted two sets of minutes and discussed matters that arose from the sets of minutes. Issues on the table were around policy documents and feedback that has not been received from the executive authority regarding concerns from previous meetings the Committee raised. Regarding policy documents, the Committee agreed its researchers should work together with the policy unit of parliament concerning the policy reviews but should make a determination on behalf of the Committee before the policy unit briefs the Committee. Pertaining to feedback not received from the executive authority, the Committee resolved to send questions to the executive authority on issues it would like it to respond to, and that the executive authority should send responses to the Committee before it sits on 23 August 2017 so that Members could have sufficient time to study the responses. It further agreed it would insist the Secretary to Parliament, Speaker of the NA, and NCOP Chairperson attend the 23 August 2017 meeting.
11 March 2017 Minutes
The Chairperson took the Members through the document, page by page.
Mr N Singh (IFP) moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Ms E Coleman seconded the move.
The minutes were adopted with no amendments.
Mr M Waters (DA), on matters arising, remarked there is no correspondence that has been received from the executive authority regarding concerns the Committee raised previously and requesting engagement with the Speaker.
Ms N Mente (EFF) wanted to know if there are any mechanisms in place to get the Speaker and NCOP Chairperson to come account to the Committee.
Mr Waters asked if the Committee does not have the power to subpoena the Speaker to appear before the Committee because she has failed to attend previous meetings.
Ms C September (ANC) stated it must not be the Speaker only who must appear before the Committee, but the executive authority members. She wanted to know if it is not better to send a letter to the executive authority to come account to the Committee before they subpoena them.
Mr Waters said when you subpoena; they would have to come because the Committee has communicated to them before.
The Chairperson suggested the matter be raised in the next Committee meeting which is to be held around 23 August 2017 when Parliament comes back from recess, and indicated the Committee should insist that the Speaker, Secretary to Parliament, and NCOP Chairperson attend the meeting to answer questions they would have received before the Committee sits.
Mr Waters suggested the questions should be submitted to the Committee before end of June 2017.The Chairperson indicated that the main issue to be discussed is around the performance contract of the past financial year that was signed after the deadline. Members could then add other questions they would like the executive authority to respond to before the Committee sits on 23 August 2017 so that members could have enough time to study their responses.
11 May 2017 Minutes
The Chairperson took the Members through the document, page by page. He further noted that as a Committee they should welcome the steps taken by the internal committee regarding the special leave given to the Secretary to Parliament. He also stated the Committee should have a policy review session to interrogate the policy documents the Committee has received to see f there is no duplication. He suggested Committee researchers should start looking at the policy documents and give members summaries of what the policies are about.
Mr N Gcwabaza (ANC) moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr A Shaik-Emam (NFP) seconded the move.
The minutes were adopted with no amendments.
Ms September, on matters arising, wanted to know if Members want the researchers to talk to them about the policies because the Committee wants stability in terms of policy implementation. She said researchers should help in the policy review.
The Committee Researcher stated there is a policy unit in Parliament that is responsible for the reviews to see if they are still relevant and if there are gaps in them. The policy unit should brief the Committee about gaps in the policies and their relevance.
Mr Singh suggested the policy unit should do a preparatory work and come present to the Committee at the next meeting.
Ms September stated the researchers of the Committee should not isolate themselves from the process, but they should rather engage with the policy unit.
The Chairperson added the researchers should make a determination on behalf of the Committee before the policy unit briefs the Committee.
Mr Singh asked if the stakeholder survey report has been given to the office of Secretary to Parliament because they would like to see it as Members of the Committee.
The Chairperson said the Committee would write a letter to request the report.
Mr Waters remarked the Committee has not received the proper organogram of the entire institution with reference to the Speaker's Office.
The Chairperson added that the organogram should also state funded and unfunded posts and spell out the number of people working in Parliament.
The Co-Chairperson pointed out that in the previous meeting, the generic structure of the organogram of the Speaker's Office was presented in blocks. The Committee needs to be clear if it wants a structure.
Mr Waters stated the figures that were presented in the previous meeting were not accurate regarding the number of people at the Speaker's Office. That is why the Members are asking for a proper breakdown for each division. That breakdown has not been received. Some divisions in Parliament are top-heavy with people while others are lacking. During the budget vote, the Speaker queried the issue of three media officers each earning more than a million a month and said there is only one media person in her office. He asked what story the Committee should believe.
The Chairperson said in the next meeting the HR division should be involved when the Committee is discussing the organogram. There would be specific days set aside for discussing HR matters and organogram of the Speaker's Office.
The meeting was adjourned.
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