The Budget Committee (WCPP) met to consider and adopt the final mandate on the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill, 2019, as well as to consider and adopt the draft Committee minutes of the meetings held on 21 and 22 November 2019. They also had to consider and adopt the draft Committee report on the Provincial and Municipal Economic Review and Outlook (Pero and Mero).
The Democratic Alliance (DA) referred to the response by both National Treasury and the Select Committee on Appropriation of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to the final mandate on the Division of Revenue Amendment bill, as inadequate and disappointing. Its Members pointed out that all provinces had raised the issue of equitable shares, and the droughts affecting the rural parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the Free State. The drought had been totally ignored by National Treasury, which was of great concern to the provinces. It had also dismissed the issue of additional funding for safety and security.
The African National Congress (ANC) countered that while concerns had been raised regarding the equitable share, the Bill reflected National Treasury’s attempts to deal with the issues in terms of that particular bill, and did not prejudice or discriminate against the provinces.
The Committee agreed not to support the Bill, with the ANC recording a dissenting view,
Final Mandate: Division of Revenue Amendment Bill
The Chairperson opened the floor to any comments on the draft minutes of the Select Committee on Appropriations, National Council of Provinces (NCOP), and the responses by National Treasury (NT).
Mr R Mackenzie (DA) said that several provinces had raised the issue of equitable share, and the response from the NT was inadequate and disappointing, to say the least. The response by the Chairperson of the Select Committee was also very disappointing, as she had merely indicated that more must be done to brief provinces on the equitable share. All provinces, however, had raised the issue of the equitable share and explained that was not enough was being done to deal with some of the challenges experienced in the provinces. The simple response by the NT was that people needed to be more educated – and he did not feel that such a response was appropriate. It seemed that National Treasury had simply dismissed the issue of drought affecting the rural parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the Free State, something which he found very concerning.
The Chairperson felt that National Treasury had not given an adequate response. She agreed that while the budget was increasing, it did not make an impact on service delivery. All Treasury was doing was to increase the budget, but included in that budget were the same expenses for the Province to deal with now which had previously been dealt with by National Treasury. The Ilima/Letsema Grant did not provide for the type of projects and service delivery that were currently needed for drought-related projects – instead, they were for things which were not imminent. More money had been requested to deal with safety and security, but it seemed that NT had dismissed that entirely.
Mr C Dugmore (ANC) clarified that the 29 000 senior managers who were earning more than R1.2 million per annum were doctors in the public service, and were not governmental or public officials. Public perception had been made that the 29 000 senior managers were public officials.
The Chairperson said that the figure of 29 000 was related to the direct public wage. The way it was included in the budget, for example, was that NT would give a pencil company the money, which would then pay the salaries for what had previously been paid for by National Treasury, creating a perception of a budget increase.
Mr Mackenzie replied to Mr Dugmore that the Minister had stated in his budget speech that the 29 000 related to non-occupational specific positions -- unless his officials corrected him afterwards, which he was sure was not the case.
Mr Dugmore said he knew that, and merely wanted to clarify it, as there had been some confusion in the public domain..
The Chairperson asked what the Members; view on the particular bill was, and how they should proceed.
Mr Mackenzie said he felt the bill should not be supported, based on reasons provided. Many other provinces had raised the same issues – the equitable share, and the droughts in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State. The response from Treasury, stating that it was merely a three-year wage agreement, was an inadequate response. They were not implementing some of the key recommendations that had been indicated over the past year. They were just continuing in their same way, with no regard to input given.
Ms W Philander (DA) seconded the recommendation.
Mr Dugmore said he did not agree with Mr Mackenzie’s resolution, because it was clear that concerns had been raised around the equitable shares. However, clarity had been provided. There was nothing in the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill which indicated discrimination against provinces. It was a fair reflection of National Treasury’s attempts to deal with the issues in terms of that particular Bill. He wanted it to be put on record that the ANC supported the Bill and opposed the recommendation of Mr Mackenzie. He wanted support for the Bill to be noted on behalf of the ANC.
The Chairperson stated that it would be recorded under the minority view in the report. As Ms Philander had supported the recommendation of Mr Mackenzie, she would read out the report.
Ms N Nkondlo (ANC) interrupted and said that she wanted to know what the basis for the approval or disapproval of the bill was, as she had not been present when Mr Mackenzie had stated his reasoning.
The Chairperson explained that unfortunately a Member could not be forced to give reasoning as to their support or objection of a Bill. However, that was why the floor had been open for discussion, and once the discussion was closed, then a view of the Bill would need to be recorded. Mr Mackenzie had made a recommendation that the Committee did not support the Bill, which had been supported by Ms Philander. Mr Dugmore’s objection to that view was noted as a minority view. The Committee was now at the point where the mandate needed to be read out to Committee.
The Chairperson read the Final Mandate Stage:
“Report of the Budget Committee on the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill [B 15-2019] (S76) (NCOP), dated 26 November 2019:
- The Budget Committee having considered the subject of the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill [B 15-2019] (S76) (NCOP), referred to the Committee in terms of Standing Rule 217, recommends that the House confers on the Western Cape’s delegation in the National Council of Provinces the authority to not support the Bill.
- In terms of Standing Rule 90, the African National Congress expressed its minority view to support the Bill.”
Draft Committee Report on the PERO and MERO
The Chairperson stated that in terms of the standing rule 89 (1) and (5), the Budget Committee reported to the House the matter referred to it. She informed Members that the Provincial Economic Review and Outlook (PERO) and Municipal Economic Review and Outlook (MERO) was the document which had been emailed to them in the previous week. She would read the draft out and then open the floor for comments.
“The Draft Report of the Budget Committee having considered the Pero 2019 and Mero 2019, dated 21 November 2019, as follows:
- The Budget Committee reported that it convened on 30 September 2019, and had concluded its deliberations on the Western Cape Government’s Pero and Mero referred to it.”
The Chairperson asked if there were any comments on the matter.
Mr Mackenzie concurred on the matter.
Ms Nkondlo sought assurance that the purpose of the adoption was to register that the Committee had noted and deliberated on the matter.
The Chairperson replied that Ms Nkondlo correct -- it was just to say that the Committee had convened and deliberated on the particular matter.
Ms Philander seconded adoption of the report.
The report was adopted.
Draft Committee Minutes
The Chairperson referred the Members to the minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2019, and asked if any editing was needed.
Ms Nkondlo said that on page two, the issue she had raised of how to improve public participation for the budget Committee, needed to be addressed.
The Chairperson said she had mentioned at the meeting that at the beginning of 2020, the Committee would sit to discuss methods to improve public participation on money bills. She asked for a mover on the minutes.
Mr Mackenzie moved the adoption of the minutes.
Ms Philander seconded.
The Chairperson referred the Members to the minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2019, and asked if any editing was needed. Since no edits were mentioned, the Chairperson proceeded to ask for a mover for the minutes.
Ms Philander moved the adoption of the minutes
Mr Mackenzie seconded.
The minutes were adopted.
The Chairperson thanked the Members for their attendance, with a special “thank you” to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) monitor for attending.
The meeting was adjourned.
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