The Committee met briefly to consider its negotiating mandate report on the Division of Revenue Bill.
The DA's position -which was supported by the majority – was against supporting the Bill. The party highlighted that the cuts in the allocation – amounting to R1,5 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (METF) - were already putting pressure on service delivery in the Western Cape.
The Chairperson welcomed members and apologised for the apparent confusion concerning the meeting. He said a workshop was taking simultaneously elsewhere in the building, and other members of the Committee were attending that event. He then read out apologies from the following members who could not make it: Mr L Max (DA); Mr B Joseph (EFF); Ms C Beerwinkel (ANC); Ms M Maseko (DA); and Mr F Christians (ACDP).
Division of Revenue Bill [B 2018]: Negotiating Mandates Report
After having stated the business of the day, the Chairperson then invited members to make comments on the first item of the agenda.
Mr R Mackenzie (DA) said the Committee needed to give a clear mandate to the National Council of Provinces that members were not in support of the Bill. His reasons were that the cuts in the allocation – according to him amounting to R1,5 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (METF) - were already putting pressure on service delivery in the Western Cape.
The Chairperson said he needed to remind the Committee - before the matter could be put to a vote - that the mandate allowed three options to indicate preference. These options were (1) supporting the Bill with amendments, (2) not supporting it with reasons or (3) abstaining.
Mr P Uys (ANC) explained that the R59 billion allocation constituted 95% of the total provincial budget and without it there was no rationale for the provincial government to continue existing. For Mr Uys it made no sense to reject that amount of money simply because one did not agree with it. Of course you could object to certain aspects of the allocation but you could not just reject it out of hand. He therefore moved that the Committee support the allocation.
Mr Mackenzie spoke up to clarify that the amount was not enough. The money was of course welcome – it was taxpayers’ money - but just because money was coming your way did not mean you had to accept without reservation. He announced that his party was planning to table a debate in the house on how the allocation, as equitable share of national revenue to provinces, should be structured. He suggested that if necessary the National Treasury document that had been presented in the last meeting of the committee, which showed the cuts he had referred to earlier, could be attached as supporting evidence for why his party was not in support of the allocation.
Mr Uys intervened to correct Mr Mackenzie’s belief that the allocation had reductions or cuts. On the contrary, he argued, the Bill showed real growth in allocations. Currently it was R59 billion, next year it would grow to R63 billion and thereafter to R67 billion.
Mr Mackenzie replied that the Treasury document distributed to the members last meeting showed clearly that cuts had been made and the document could be used as evidence.
At this stage the Chairperson read out the formal text of the Committee’s position on the matter and invited the members to vote by a show of hands. The DA carried the motion not to support the allocation with reasons provided.
The Cairperson confirmed the result and said it would be carried forward as the negotiating mandate of the NCOP delegation.
The minutes of the last meeting were adopted and before the meeting was adjourned, the Chairperson reminded the members that the final mandate will be dealt with on the 2nd of May 2018.
The meeting was adjourned.
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