The Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament adopted the Committee Report on the Annual Report of Parliament, including four sets of minutes. Though there were no matters that arose from the minutes, the Committee got updated on the planned inquiry regarding the late Mr Ganare and disciplinary case involving the suspended Secretary to Parliament. With regard to the inquiry, the Committee stated it has received only the terms of references from the Acting Secretary to Parliament and the Speaker together with the executive authority have referred the matter to the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The Committee also heard the case involving the suspended Secretary to Parliament was highly likely to keep on dragging for an unknown period because the employee has decided to call his own witnesses. The number of his witnesses was still unknown to the Committee though the employer had 20 witnesses. So, the Committee has decided to let the disciplinary matter take its course and be taken to its finality.
Adoption of Minutes
Minutes dated 12 September and 31 October 2018 (two sets per day) were adopted without amendments.
Mr N Singh (IFP) suggested the Committee Secretary should look at the summary of outcomes of all the minutes and update the Committee.
Though there were no matters arising, the Committee received an updates on the inquiry of the late Mr Ganare and disciplinary matter of the suspended Secretary to Parliament
Ms Cindy Balie, Committee Secretary informed the Committee that correspondence from the Committee regarding the late Mr Ganare was relayed to the executive authority. The Committee has only received the terms of reference of the inquiry from the Acting Secretary to Parliament. The Speaker and executive authority said the matter has been forwarded to the Public Service Commission to institute the inquiry.
Mr F Essack (DA) asked if there were timelines on this matter.
Ms Bailey stated they were informed the inquiry would take a month or two.
Mr Singh asked why the audit report related to this matter has been withheld.
Ms Bailey said the Committee has not received the audit report, but only the terms of reference. The secretariat will try to make a follow-up and brief the Committee when it meets again.
The Chairperson informed the Committee the executive authority has responded to the disciplinary matter involving the suspended Secretary to Parliament.
The Co-Chairperson stated the case was still on-going and sub judice. The Committee still has to wait until the case was taken to finality.
Mr Essack indicated he has got reservations, especially when taking into account the details the Committee discussed and everything it has requested. He stated he did not understand why the matter was dragging on for so long and that the Committee needed to be told if there was a case or not because this was costing the country a lot of money. He asked the Chairpersons to share information with the Members and not wait until they probe.
The Co-Chairperson said there was progress because a last witness has been called out of the 20 ones that have appeared before the disciplinary chairperson.
Mr A Masondo (ANC) wanted to know when this would come to an end.
The Chairperson stated the suspended Secretary to Parliament was still going to call his own witnesses, but the number of witnesses was not known. This meant the Committee did not have an indication of when this would finally be brought to a close. The employer has done everything to ensure the matter progresses, but it was the employee who was delaying the case.
Mr Singh then informed the Committee that the 16 November memorandum on security announcements was moving ahead with infrastructure changes in parliament. This has involved SAPS and Department of Public Works, but wondered if there would be budget for this.
The Chairperson suggested that Members should consider the Committee Report on Parliament Annual Report. He noted that the initial report talked of recommendations to be made to the executive authority. Changes came back indicating that recommendations should be made to the two Houses of Parliament – in order to hold the executive authority to account.
Mr Singh suggested the executive authority should try to respond to the Committee within three months, irrespective of their busy schedule, and he moved for the adoption of the report.
Mr Masondo seconded the motion.
The report was adopted with few amendments. The Chairperson stated other matters have been noted for tabling and would be discussed in the next meeting. Unfortunately, they could not be discussed due to time constraints.
The meeting was adjourned.