Committee Report on KZN Oversight Visit; Committee Operational Plan

Standing Committee on Appropriations

03 October 2017
Chairperson: Ms Y Phosa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Documents handed out:
Committee Report on its KwaZulu-Natal oversight visit
Committee Operational Plan
Committee Programme [All Committee Reports available under Tabled Committee Reports once published] 

It is not known where the money for the free education for the poor is going to come from. This came up during the meeting’s discussions. The Committee suggested National Treasury should be invited to brief the Committee on how it plans to juggle the budget to cover social grants, health, SAA, and free education for the poor.

The Chairperson stated that the SAA bail-out money has not come to the attention of the Committee but it is something heard about in the media. It is unsure whether SAA is going to be given R2 billion and later get R3 billion. It indicated the much talked-about R10 billion to be given to SAA is said to be a drop in the ocean. That is why it resolved SAA should be invited to the Committee before the planned date of 9 November 2017 because it would be too late for it to engage with the entity regarding its rescue money.

The Strategic Planning Unit of Parliament briefed the Committee explaining that the operational plan is about what the Committee wants to achieve. The effect of the plan is to shape the work of the Committee in future, including future committees. It is hoped the plan would yield greater benefits to the organisation in future as well. The plan would focus on technical procedures and what the Members have to do on a daily basis. The main point is to give effect to the budget process.

The Committee adopted its Operational Plan and the Committee Report on its KwaZulu-Natal oversight visit.
 

Meeting report

Committee Operational Plan (2017-2018 to 2018-2019)
The Committee Researcher noted that on 22 August 2017 the Committee had discussed its operational plan. The key issue was for the Committee to ensure accountability of the Executive and to increase the capacity of Parliament. A proposal was made to circulate the draft plan to Members. The plan entails the value chain of committee activities. The desired outcome is that the budget should cater for the will of the people. In terms of capacity building, the Committee is receiving a lot of detailed information affecting SOEs and it gets little time to make decisions. The plan also points out that stakeholders are to be informed very early in the year about the time for tabling their Annual Reports to the Committee in October.

Mr Herbus Burger, Strategic Planning Manager: RSA Parliament, shared his comments with the Committee about the operational plan. He pointed out the plan is about what the Committee wants to achieve. The effect of the plan is to shape the work of the Committee in future. It is hoped the plan would yield greater benefits to the organisation in future. The plan would focus on technical procedures and what the Members have to do on a daily basis. He stated that in a workshop held with the Auditor-General, the AG raised the point about information from the Committee. The reports and minutes are the only weapons of the Committee. The authority of the Committee sits in the approved reports and minutes. These should be accurate and perfect because the public has also access to these documents. The report on the budget efficacy should be produced, and input and critique from ordinary people would generate more interest. In terms of capacity building, a procedural manual for the next Members of the Committee needs to be developed.

The Chairperson then took the Members through the document, page by page.

Ms M Manana (ANC), on the section dealing with Committee functions and responsibilities, asked if it is the responsibility of the Committee rather than that of the Finance Committee to look at the Money Bills and scrutinise the executive actions.

The Chairperson stated the Committee makes recommendations, focuses on revenue expenditure, and approves proposals for additional funding for SOEs.

Mr Gcwabaza stated that the fiscal framework is processed by the Finance Committee though it is related to the work the Appropriations Committee does. The Committee cannot afford to be silent after the passing of the fiscal framework because it affects the work of the Committee.

Mr Burger stated the Committee needs to understand the whole process in a detailed form because it does not operate in a vacuum. A summary of the process could also be inserted in the document.

The Chairperson suggested the National Treasury should be invited to the Committee to brief it on how it plans to juggle the budget because there is money to be paid to social grants, health, SAA, free education for the poor, and so on.

The Chairperson stated the SAA bail-out money has not come to the attention of the Committee but it is something it has heard in the media. She stated the Committee heard that SAA is going to be given R2 billion and later get R3 billion. She indicated it is not clear how the many billions are going to be given to SAA because there have been talks that the planned total R10 billion to be given to SAA is a drop in the ocean. She suggested that SAA should be invited to the Committee before the penned date of 9 November 2017 because it would be too late for it to engage with the entity regarding its rescue money. The Chairperson further noted it is important to engage with Treasury because many questions abound of where the money for the free education for the poor is going to come from; and she proposed the Parliamentary Budget Office should share with the Committee its analysis of the SA economy. Lastly, she said appropriation adjustments should be discussed first with the Committee before they are tabled before Cabinet.

The Committee adopted the Committee Operational Plan with minor amendments.

Committee Report on the oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal from 12 to 15 September 2017
The Chairperson took the Members through the document, page by page.

The report was adopted with minor amendments.

Committee Programme
The Chairperson took the Members through the Draft Committee Programme page by page.

The programme was adopted with minor amendments.

Committee Stakeholder Management Plan
The plan could not be adopted because it is an annexure of the document discussed by the Committee in a previous meeting. It was considered but would be adopted when the main document is before the Committee.

The Committee also considered and adopted its minutes of the 1, 5, 6, 8 September 2017 meetings.

The meeting was adjourned.

Documents

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