The Department of Social Development (DSD) was supposed to brief the Committee on its Budget and Annual Performance Plan for 2018/19. However, the Committee decided that the briefing could not take place because neither the Minister nor the Deputy Minister was present at the meeting. The Committee noted that decision was in line with its resolution that meetings which deal with planning and budgeting must be attended by the executive. The meeting was postponed to the following week.
The Chairperson opened the meeting. She welcomed officials from the Department of Social Development (DSD) and members of the Committee. She said that she had received apologies from the Minister, the Deputy Minister and the Director-General. The Minister was dealing with administration issues in the North West and the Director-General is accompanying her to provide technical support. The Deputy Minister was with the Minister of Basic Education in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had agreed that meetings which deal with planning and budgeting must be attended by either the Minister or the Deputy Minister. She asked Members to comment on this.
Ms P Samka (ANC; Eastern Cape) greeted members of the Committee and officials from the DSD. She agreed that in order to discuss the budget the Minister or Deputy Minister must be present. She expressed concern that neither of them were present.
The Chairperson asked for further comments.
Mr M Khawula (IFP; KZN) said that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the budget.
Ms L Zwane (ANC; KZN) said that the Committee agreed to be firm in requiring the presence of either the Minister or the Deputy Minister so that members may engage with them on important issues. She added that the Department was told by the Committee of this requirement and asked why an arrangement had not been made. She said that the Committee must decide whether the meeting should proceed.
The Department replied that it was ready to present.
Mr Clifford Appel, Chief Financial Officer, DSD, said that he would try to get the Deputy Minister to come to the meeting. He left the room to make a phone call.
The Chairperson said that she had previously engaged with the former Minister on this issue but now there is a new Minister. She added that there are a number of issues in the Department, such as South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), which needed to be clarified at a political level. She said the Committee wrote a letter to the Department at the beginning of the term asking for the presence of political leadership. She proposed to members that either the meeting proceed or it be postponed to next week.
Ms Zwane said that she was not sure about having the meeting today and added that postponement must be checked against the date of the debate.
The Chairperson asked members to take a 5 minute break while the Deputy Minister was being called.
Mr Khawula said that the Committee should resolve the issue rather than take a break. He explained that there were 3 debates happening today and that these would end very late. He proposed that the meeting take place next Tuesday morning at 9am.
The Chairperson asked members if they agreed to start early next week.
Mr D Stock (ANC; Northern Cape) said that he agrees with this and asked the Chairperson to confirm the postponement.
The Chairperson said that the meeting will be postponed to the following week. She asked the Department to explain to the Minister that this was a decision taken by the Committee. She added that she was concerned about a waste in expenditure but that important issues need to be raised with politicians and not only officials of the Department.
She thanked Members and adjourned the meeting.
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