The Committee met to consider the draft report on the 2018 National Budget Dialogue, and to approve the minutes of its May meetings and its programme for the third term. Members discussed the inputs from stakeholders, and identified typographical and grammatical errors which they corrected with the Committee staff.
Highlights of the discussions included Members’ concern that the allocation of funds from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to the Department of Basic Education (DBE) was putting a strain on the DBE’s resources; agreement that budget discussions should be open to the public; access to land in urban areas and transport were identified as challenges; recognition of the acute problem of poverty, especially among the black communities; under-spending of the Urban Settlements Grant (USDG); and public concern over corruption and maladministration, with a call for an overhaul of law enforcement agencies and the recovery of stolen public funds.
2018 Appropriation Bill: Draft Report
The Committee noted grammatical and typographical errors, and some rephrasing that had to be corrected by Committee staff. The inputs from stakeholders in the 2018 national budget dialogue were discussed, with recommendations being considered from organisations such as the Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement of South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Social Justice, South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID), Business South Africa (BUSA) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
Subject matter input was also received from Ms Isobel Frye, Director: Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), and Prof Nicola Viegi, Professor of Monetary Economics: University of Pretoria.
Highlights of the discussions included:
- Members’ concern over Prof Viegi’s assertion that the funds allocated to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) from the Department of Basic Education (DBE), were putting a strain on resources left for the DBE.
- Agreement that budget discussions should be open to the public.
- Information on the budget should be simplified and accessible.
- The need for mutual respect between government officials and citizens.
- More public participation in the budget process should be encouraged.
- The challenge to land access in urban areas.
- Transport was raised as a challenge.
- Mechanisms to improve the provision of electricity, roads, refuse collection, water and sanitation should also include resources for disaster management.
- The acute problem of poverty, especially among the black communities.
- Under-spending of the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) and the decline in government housing over the years.
- The need to establish the family as the unit of development.
- Public concerns of corruption and maladministration, with a call for an overhaul of the law enforcement agencies and the recovery of stolen public funds.
Consideration was given to proposals that the phrase “rule out evictions” be deleted, and the need to make a difference between “land grab” and “land redistribution” by using “illegal land evictions” instead.
The Committee made corrections to the key findings (see document).
Committee minutes and third term programme
The Committee made corrections to the minutes of its meetings held on 11, 15, 16, 18 and 24 May 2018, and they were unanimously adopted.
The Chairperson introduced a timetable for the third term of 2018 for the Committee, and requested that Members study it and make the necessary adjustments to their schedules.
The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) conference had been approved, and attendance would be by Ms D Sekoanyane (ANC), Mr A McLoughlin (DA), Mr N Gcwabaza (ANC), the Chairperson, Ms Y Phosa (ANC), and a staff member.
The Chairperson directed the staff to implement the changes and have the report ready for her approval.
The meeting was adjourned.
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