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JOINT SUB-COMMITTEE ON PARLIAMENTARY OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
4 October 2000
Report on Oversight and Accountability
It was decided that the members of the Committee would go back to their parties with a proposal to re-appoint the consultants to attend to areas that had been omitted in the present Report on Oversight and Accountability. Pending an affirmative answer from the caucuses, this committee would submit a multi-party report to the Rules Committee, of which the present gathering was a sub-committee, in order to motivate for this proposal.
The Chairperson, Ms Chohan-Kota (ANC), stated that the members of the Committee should go back to their parties to table a request that the consultants from the University of Cape Town (UCT) be re-appointed to develop further their report on parliamentary oversight and accountability. If the parties agreed then a multi-party report would be drafted making recommendations to the Rules Committee for the re-appointment of the consultants. It was noted that the present gathering was a sub-committee of the Rules Committee.
The Chairperson went on to explain that having delved into Chapter One and Two of the Report on Oversight and Accountability, the input from Mr Cassim's research on the report had been useful. It was the feeling of the Committee that they have merely given critique on the Report rather than produce a substantive document, which would be expected of them as a sub-committee. The Chairperson said that the Rules Committee would meet around 20 October 2000. By which time the members of the present Committee should have consulted with their parties regarding the request to re-appoint the consultants. The central reason for re-appointing the consultants was not to do with the present content of the Report but rather to address what had been left out of the Report.
Mr Mathee ( ) recommended that it be made clear that these steps have been proposed to expedite the process. He put forward the idea that the parts of the report that could be implemented should be done so without delay so as not to drag the entire process out over an extended period. He concluded that the issues dealt with by the present Committee and report were core to parliamentary democracy.
The Chairperson noted that there was a new system whereby reports were referred to a Committee in Parliament. She suggested that the Committee would need to be briefed on the new procedure.
Ms Smuts (DP) stated that oversight was a duty of parliamentarians and hoped that the proposed re-appointment of the consultants was not a tactic to delay implementation. She stated for the record that the DP liked the present document and were in favour of the same consultants being re-appointed. She believed that their re-appointment would help to amplify certain issues. She urged all present to still exercise oversight and accountability in the interim period.
The Chairperson stated that oversight had existed before the present Committee was convened. She went on to say that the Report was a review of parliamentary mechanisms and would have to be made more substantial. It was re-iterated that the present Committee would have to motivate to the Rules Committee to re-appoint the consultants.
Mr Cassim (IFP) stated that he was in favour of the present report but felt that it may have been improved if he were allowed to have interrogated the consultants. He went on to refer to a book written by Susan Rose-Ackerman called Corruption in Government - Cause, Consequence and Reform (Cambridge). The book shows that even in well established democracies there is a struggle with the issues of oversight and accountability. He supported the re-appointment of the consultants.
The Chairperson conveyed her thanks to Public Service Commission and Auditor General's representatives for being present throughout the process.
The meeting was adjourned.
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