The Standing Committee on Appropriations was briefed by the Committee Content Advisor on the overview of the work of the Committee for the first, second and third term of 2020. The presentation highlighted that the Committee held 39 meetings in total with various departments. On the Division of Revenue Bill, the Committee made four recommendations out of which only one was not responded to. On the Appropriations Bill, it only made one recommendation because it was aware that the Minister of Finance was going to present the supplementary budget to Parliament. The recommendation was for the Minister to consider allocating resources towards the Land Bank and this was implemented. On the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill, eight recommendations were made out of which only one response was received. On the Adjustments Appropriation Bill, ten recommendations were made and none of them received a response. The Education Infrastructure Grant was reduced to address the Covid-19 pandemic and the Department of Basic Education had to either stop or delay a number of projects. The Department of Water and Sanitation failed to provide project information on the Nongwadla village scheme, details of water tanks per province, administrative enforcement register and a detailed list of the number of mines per province that are under investigation. The grant reduction in the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will have a negative impact on the improvement of public transport infrastructure. Due to an unstable political environment, poor planning of projects and poor supply chain practices, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was challenged in its intervention in Msunduzi.
Members raised concern about the failure of departments, particular the Department of Finance, to respond to the Committee's recommendations and asked whether there was a timeframe in which the responses would be received. Members also asked whether the presentation includes joint meetings that were held and why it did not include any detail on Eskom. Members raised concern about the lack of feedback received on the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant, sanitation and infrastructure in schools, the vandalising of train stations, theft of electric cables, the issue of scrap metal and the issues affecting the water projects in the Eastern Cape. Other concerns raised include the following: only 400 water tanks were delivered to Nkwanca instead of the 5 000 tanks that were promised, water bodies are being polluted by mines and the lack of accountability and consequence management against those responsible.
The Committee adopted its fourth term draft programme and Committee minutes dated 25 and 26 August and 1, 2 and 11 September 2020.
The Chairperson greeted everyone in attendance and noted apologies from two Members. The meeting will deal with an overview of the Committee's work undertaken during 2020. The Committee Content Advisor was asked to begin briefing Members on the work undertaken during term one, two and three.
Briefing by the Committee Content Advisor on the overview of the work of the Committee for the first, second and third term of 2020
Mr Sifiso Magagula, Committee Content Advisor, said that the presentation highlights the work of the Committee for the first, second and third terms of 2020. This includes the number of meetings, recommendations and an assessment of the overall activities of the Committee in relation to its mandate. In total, the Committee held 39 meetings with various departments. On the Division of Revenue Bill (DRB), the Committee made 12 observations and four recommendations out of which only one of the recommendations wasn't responded to. On the Appropriations Bill (AB), it made 18 observations and one recommendation. There was only one recommendation because the Committee was aware that the Minister of Finance was going to present the supplementary budget to Parliament. The recommendation was for the Minister to consider allocating resources towards the mandate of the Land Bank and this was implemented during the supplementary budget. On the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill (DRAB), 13 observations and eight recommendations were made out of which only one response was received. On the Adjustments Appropriation Bill (AAB), 22 observations and ten recommendations were made out of which none received a response. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) had to stop and delay a number of projects due to budget reductions. The Education Infrastructure Grant was reduced by R1.9 billion at the beginning of the financial year and R1.6 billion was reduced to address the Covid-19 pandemic. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) failed to provide project information on the Nongwadla village scheme, details of water tanks per province, administrative enforcement register and a detailed list of the number of mines per province that are under investigation or issued with non-compliance letters. The grant reduction in the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) will have a negative impact on the improvement of public transport infrastructure. The ability to regulate and operate a financially sustainable public transport network will be undermined. Due to an unstable political environment, poor planning of projects and poor supply chain, COGTA faced challenges when it intervened in Msunduzi.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Magagula for the detailed presentation and asked members to raise questions.
Mr E Buthelezi (IFP) said that the non-cooperation from various departments is a concern. Departments are not reporting back to the Committee on the recommendations made by members. In particular, the Department of Finance and the Minister of Finance have not reported back on the numerous requests put forward by the Committee. Is there a timeframe that the Committee anticipates a response or are members just hoping that departments respond whenever they wish to?
Ms D Peters (ANC) thanked the Committee Secretary for tabling the report in Parliament in good time. Are joint meetings also reflected in the report? A number of the meetings that were held were joint meetings. The report does not indicate which meetings were direct or joint. This distinction is important because some of the reports the Committee is expecting may have already been presented in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Was the presentation on the zero-based budget made in July or August? She said that she was under the impression that it was made in August and it was one of the meetings she could not attend. It is concerning that the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Finance have not responded to any of the reports, even on occasions where they had co-responsibilities with COGTA and DBE. This needs to be followed up on.
Ms Peters said that the Minister of Basic Education is commended for responding to the Committee reports. There are some recommendations which don’t require a response from the Minister of Transport but for those that require feedback, the Committee needs to ensure it receives responses. The Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant is a key area that requires feedback because the roads are currently in very bad shape. The failure by the Minister of Finance to report back to the Committee is an indictment on the Ministry and the National Treasury (NT). They need to be called upon to respond. The Committee should visit some of the projects especially those relating to water, infrastructure and basic education. A number of schools have been vandalised during the lockdown. Some of the break-ins are not too costly but the fact that schools are not safe from the public is an indictment to society.
Ms Peters said that despite the lack of response from the Ministry of Transport, officials still need to appear before the Committee because rail trails are being cut away and stations are being vandalised. There are videos going around of people cutting down and vandalising trains. The Department of Transport (DOT) needs to respond to the following questions:
- Where is the security in the transport sector to ensure that the infrastructure is safeguarded?
- If the economy is going back on stream, how are the workers going back to work?
- How will the DOT and the NT deal with these challenges?
Ms Peters said that there also needs to be responses from departments on the issue of scrap metal. Even though there is legislation on scrap metal, the situation is getting worse. The Committee cannot continue appropriating money for infrastructure that will continuously be chopped down and taken away by unscrupulous people wanting to make money out of scrap metal. The Committee needs to mobilise resources and visit schools. It is good that the Committee intervened on the issue relating to the Land Bank and there has been a response to it. The same drive is needed for sanitation and infrastructure in schools.
Mr Z Mlenzana (ANC) said that the presentation contains information that will sharpen the Committee for its meeting with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). The Committee identified a list of departments that it was going to meet with. This list is not cast in stone because it could be changed by the presentation, the subsequent discussion and the meeting with DPME. It's concerning that departments have not responded to the recommendations made by the Committee. If funding permits, the Committee should visit the water projects in the Eastern Cape. The Minister of Water and Sanitation was invited during the Covid-19 period to discuss the water issues affecting one of the municipalities in the Eastern Cape province. When the time is right, members will be briefed on the discussion he had with the Minister.
Mr Mlenzana said that the issues around the State Security Agency (SSA) is concerning. Some of the pronouncements from the media are worrying and that should have been raised during the meeting with the NT. On the reduction in the Education Infrastructure Grant, the conditions of schools in the Eastern Cape is currently not pleasing. He asked the District Manager of Alfred Nzo West to provide a list of those schools so that the list can be given to the Committee Secretary. This issue must also be raised during the meeting with DPME. Does the Committee have teeth to bite? It is almost completing its cycle. Can it be in a position to pride itself when comparing the red columns to the green columns? If one looks at the report holistically, what does it say about the Committee in terms of having teeth to bite?
Mr X Qayiso (ANC) said that the red column reflecting outstanding feedback from departments is painting a bad picture and raises serious concerns to the Committee. The fact that the Ministry of Finance and the NT aren’t responding to the Committee’s recommendations is a serious issue. The Committee needs to sound a warning or make a written statement on this. The statement would indicate that the Committee has observed concerning developments over a few months, had interactions with the departments and hasn’t received any feedback on the issues raised. The non-responsiveness of the departments seriously undermines the Committee’s efforts. The warning has to be put upfront to ensure that the Committee receives responses.
Mr Qayiso said that the issue of water and sanitation indicates the magnitude of the failure to receive any responses from the departments. A promise was made to deliver 5 000 tanks to Nkwanca and only 400 water tanks were delivered. This is causing serious problems in the region. The Committee needs to visit the projects because water and sanitation is one of the areas that has not received much oversight. Not getting any update from the DWS makes the Committee’s work even more difficult. The Committee should summon the DWS to appear before it and inform members of what has not been done. If sufficient oversight is to be done, some of the meetings will have to be from 6pm until late. During such meetings, the Committee will have to sit and conduct robust oversight over the departments. Can the Committee consider hosting late meetings with the departments? The situation cannot be left like it is and not properly attended to.
Mr Qayiso said that in 18 months to come, the people of South Africa will want to know from the Committee that the roads have been re-gravelled. The infrastructure budget has been cut during the adjustment appropriation and the Committee is expecting a lot of budget cuts. As a result, the Committee will have to be jealous around the pronounced injunctions by the President and take stock, item by item when it relates to the issues of infrastructure investment. The pronouncement by the President on infrastructure investment was an instruction and the NT cannot beat around the bush when it comes to that. The NT has to provide a clear outline on the issues of jobs, infrastructure, building and maintenance.
Mr O Mathafa (ANC) commended the report for being comprehensive. He agreed with Members that the lack of responses from the departments is a concern. The Committee has to start fashioning a process on how to receive the feedback. The undertone of the non-responsiveness could speak to what was raised by Eskom during a meeting with the Committee that there is general lack of oversight in responsible authorities. As a result, the Committee has to ensure that it gets the reports back so that its work is not hampered. There is a need for the Committee to extend an invitation to the Infrastructure Unit that was established by the President. The Unit must inform the Committee on its approach towards infrastructure development as a way of reactivating the economy. The Mooikloof development in Tshwane is an example of this. The removal of red tape by the Unit could suggest that it played a facilitating role in ensuring that the project is expedited quicker than it ordinarily would have. It therefore becomes important that the Unit presents a strategic overview to the Committee so that members understand how to move forward.
Mr Mathafa said that the Unit has been able to outline the role and involvement of local communities in the work leading up to the naming of the Mooikloof project. It is known as the Mooikloof project because it is located in Mooikloof but ultimately it will be named by those who will be in that particular area. The involvement of local communities, localisation of labour and economic opportunities resolved the issues of project stoppages and instances where contracts end without benefitting and transferring skills to the locals. On vandalism in train stations, it is no longer a matter that can be left to the police alone. The SSA must also assist to establish what is really happening. Even around affluent areas like Centurion in Tshwane, high hanging electric cables are being cut and stolen. In some instances, the vandalisers burn the electricity poles. This is a clear sign that they use specialised equipment to pull down the electricity cables. The bridges and barriers on the road that are made from metal steel are constantly being stolen. The city of Tshwane got to a point where it started replacing the metal poles with cement poles to try and deal with the situation but this was an additional expenditure on the country.
Mr Mathafa said that the vandalism happening to train stations is an attack on economic infrastructure. The train stations in Gauteng are now looking like ghost towns. It becomes important that the Committee looks at the regulation of scrap metal dealings as well as the impact on the quality of lives. Members must look at the role of local government when it comes water and sanitation. In Tshwane, there was a sitting where the DWS made commitments to address the water challenges. Those commitments are happening on the ground. There might be a disjuncture between the municipalities and provincial departments in ensuring that the water and sanitation projects run. The projects that are concerning have to be identified so that they become a focus for the Committee to do oversight. The Committee research team is commended for the good research reflected in the presentation.
Mr D Joseph (DA) said that the Committee decided to bring about change during the term of office. Members need to remain focused to bring about change for the benefit of the people of South Africa. The Committee makes public and media statements about meetings. It's doubtful whether the Department of Communications (DOC) also makes media statements. Although there are many departments, the Committee has to work towards gaining more media attention on its work especially if the DOC is overwhelmed. The Committee holds meetings that raise public concerns and there must be sufficient media coverage. The presentation must include an additional slide indicating the number of sub-committee meetings that took place. Are you able to trace what the departments are doing on the work that is being interrogated? Is there not departmental information already that members can look at? Does the Minister and senior officials have to come and brief members? There shouldn’t be duplication when the department makes a briefing because the Committee wants to go deeper into the money and projects. Why are we not getting this information? Are the departments also not getting it?
Mr Joseph said that there are no slides on Eskom. Even though Eskom reported back to the Committee, Members made recommendations on specific conditions of appropriating money to the entity that have to be complied with. It is important to keep an eye on Eskom. The Committee has not been formally informed about the request for money and pay-outs. Its concern should be value for money when it appropriates money. It has appropriated money to the Land Bank and it was a good investment for small scale farmers and food security. However, the concern was that the Land Bank is a state-owned entity that is linked to the Department of Land Reform. It therefore has to follow up on the money that was appropriated to ensure that there is value for money. The President spoke on television about economic growth and plans for infrastructure. The media, government, business units and the public are meeting and it becomes important to also agree on those issues because there is a need for stability in work and labour. The COGTA report on the state of municipalities is concerning. As a result of Covid-19, some departments have to be allowed to prioritise in line with zero budgeting and postpone that which is not critical. The Committee thus needs to prioritise those departments when it appropriates money.
Mr Joseph said that the Committee must follow up on the water and sanitation project in Alfred Nzo District Municipality because the water tanks are important for the schools. The DWS said on television that support was going to come at the end of September. The community also takes water from the schools. What is the DBE going to do about water? Covid-19 has an effect on the country and government's recovery plan. There is a need to look at the medium long term Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan that has been set out to deal with unemployment, poverty, inequality, mismanagement in government, services expenditure and the state of the municipalities. There is a need for more money towards service delivery but the Committee has to ensure that state-owned entities and various departments use the money efficiently and that there are official procurement processes in place to ensure that there is value for money.
Mr A Emam (NFP) said that the Committee has a clear commitment to make a difference and to provide a service for the people. However, there are limitations, not coming from the Committee, that have impacted on how Members perform their functions. There is a need for the work of the Committee to be in the media and public domain as a strategic plan for implementation, accountability and consequence management. There are difficulties that members face when following up on all of the departments. There is therefore a need to identify a few departments each year from top to bottom and get to the root cause of the problem. There are some departments that are performing but the majority of them aren't. There is a need to identify them, expose them and if necessary, call for consequence management. The entire budget process, particularly the time frames when amendments and adjustments are made, is concerning. The departments make presentations before the Committee and everything will be perfect until they have to implement the commitments made. The Committee needs to interrogate these things and make sure that departments start from the ground and there is capacity to implement the commitments. Members need to assess whether departments have previously performed in those areas or not and the major weaknesses.
Mr Joseph said that one of the major problems is how the Committee follows up on departments that would have been identified, such as the water and sanitation issue in the Eastern Cape. He said that himself and other colleagues visited schools in the Eastern Cape. Two schools were 20% down and there is no money to do the job. The department never went there and no one knows what is happening. On the integrated financial management system under the NT, there is no accountability and no consequence. There is no mechanism to hold the NT accountable and that is why there was money paid with no invoices and without any work having been done. It's important for the Committee to identify the work to be done on water and sanitation.
Mr Joseph said that there was some information that had come forward and if it is interrogated, it will prove how corruption is alive. It was the same thing with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). The Committee visited the place but members were diverted because there was no factory. The Committee needs to keep track of these projects to ensure that there is work that is actually being done. The President made an announcement on infrastructure development and asked where the money was going to come from. These announcements are made in good faith. There is a public perception that there is R500 billion available for Covid-19 relief and some people are saying they did not get it.
Mr Joseph said that the announcement sent a wrong message to the public that there is R500 billion and everyone wants something from it to the extent that some are even going on strike. This was a result of lack of coordination. The left hand doe not know what the right hand is doing. The job of the Committee is to follow the money. Members must help government and the President to root out the corruption once and for all. The procurement system in the amendment Bills are not good enough. These are the things the Committee should be hearing about first before the Bills go out for public comment. The Committee must interrogate so that Members know what is going on in order to figure out how to close the gaps. The Committee can do more but because of the limited time, it should limit itself to the few departments where there are serious problems.
Mr A Sarupen (DA) said that the Committee is still waiting for information on the service delivery impact of the 2020 medium policy statement, particularly on how they plan to fund infrastructure, spending post-Covid-19 and the reductions in the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant. It is concerning that it appears as if certain commitments were made by the NT without any particular plan in place. The Committee needs to push the NT for report backs on the recommendations as a matter of urgency. Having to wait for the reports delays the work of the Committee. The Committee needs to meet with the various departments and also follow up on the report backs.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee staff for producing a report that is a clear reflection of what the Committee had done and what it was not able to do within the constraints it had. It was faced with the pandemic which nobody had dealt with before. There was an audit by the Auditor-General (AG) on the money that has been appropriated by the Committee to deal with Covid-19. On the R500 billion Covid-19 relief intervention, R200 billion was a credit guarantee scheme meant to help businesses deal with the impact of the pandemic. The scheme was not managed by government but by the banks. There was R70 billion which was in the form of tax interventions by the government particularly through the South African Revenue Service (SARS). In some instances, payments to SARS were deferred to allow cash flow management of the businesses and the impact of Covid-19 on those businesses. The money which was directed to Covid-19 relief was about R147 billion as at the end of July. The AG audited about R68 billion from the R147 billion. It was only a percentage of the R68 billion which was wrongly and irregularly used, not the whole amount. It is important to have the right facts so that the Committee is not seen as failing to conduct oversight on the R500 billion. Members must be stringent and strong in following up on the wrong doings and the interventions that have been made. Members must know exactly what is happening to those who have been found on the wrong side of the law or found to have had colluded against the government and by extension the people of South Africa. To ensure that the Committee efficiently has oversight, those actions should be done without fear or favour to make sure that the money intended for the people of South Africa is being used for them.
The Chairperson said that there is rampant lawlessness and a lack of education on morals that is leading to the destruction of infrastructure. When anyone is destroying infrastructure, instead of taking videos, people should realise that the inconvenience of those actions will be to them and not the government. If people are taking out railway lines, dismantling some of the most beautiful stations which were built in preparation for the World Cup, then there is an issue of moral regeneration and ensuring that the people of South Africa protect what is theirs. Law enforcement agencies in their totality should also be reporting on exactly what they are doing to deal with the destruction of infrastructure. On the reduction of the infrastructure grant, in future it will be important to define who is managing the grant and whether it was the national, provincial or municipal department. The interactions with the various departments, apart from receiving report backs to the Committee, should also be educating the people of South Africa on what the government is trying to do to alleviate their plight. Defining these concepts is very important. When the private sector is involved, there is a tendency of the government to always slide over them. The implications become too much for the government, the budget and the people of South Africa. The pollution of the Vaal dam is an example. The Committee ended up appropriating money despite the fact that there are people who are responsible for polluting the dam. They have not been held accountable and there has not been any indication on what government is doing.
The Chairperson said that there is a need for Members to follow up on these things especially considering that some of the mines are polluting rivers and putting the lives of people at risk. The departments have to identify the polluters and provide feedback to the Committee on what has happened and what has been done with consequence management. Consequence management should not only apply to some people. It should be all round because the actions are criminal. Children are dying from the polluted water and no one is being held accountable. It's important for the Committee to follow up and insist on the outstanding report backs. When Members are considering the budget cuts, they have to be mindful of resource constraints. The country has not been able to get enough revenue. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratios are deteriorating, economic growth is not where it should be and unemployment statistics are going the wrong direction. The Committee should be able to balance these equations when discussing areas that should be attended to. The problems that the Committee face come from the lack of economic growth. When the departments meet with the Committee, they should report on exactly what they are doing individually to ensure that there is inclusive and transformative economic growth. When the Committee interacted with the Department of Health (DOH), Members raised the issue of the continued importation of some of the products that should be produced domestically. The R2 trillion which was appropriated should be used to try and resuscitate the ghost towns. The presentation did not focus on Eskom and its responsibilities. Can the Committee staff present on this?
Mr Mlenzana asked if the issues around SSA could also be addressed.
Mr Magagula (Content Advisor) replied that on the non-cooperation from departments, it is up to the Committee to decide what to do. There should not be a situation where the Committee agrees to help the NT with passing an emergency Bill but when the Committee makes recommendations, NT fails to respond. What kind of relationship do we have with them? Is it a parasitic one or it is a fair one? If the Committee takes NT seriously when it requests members to process its documents then NT must take the Committee seriously when it makes recommendations. The meeting on zero-based budgeting was on the 25 August. There are rules and mechanisms provided by Parliament to make departments accountable to the Committee but it is up to the Committee to decide on the method to use for accountability. It is up to the Committee to decide what it should do if certain departments decide not to furnish responses. On the DRB, the timeframe for responses is 60 days. The responses should've been submitted by May 2020 but to date, nothing has been received. On the AAB and DRAB, the responses were supposed to have been submitted before the tabling of the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).
Mr Magagula replied that activities of the sub-committees are not included in the presentation. The other support staff can get these reports and then it can be added to the main reports. The only report that the Committee has done on Eskom was last year. The meeting held with Eskom is reflected in the total number of meetings in the presentation. The Committee had a meeting with the Department of Public Enterprises and the NT on South African Airways (SAA) but there were no recommendations put forward. As a result, it could not be part of the report. A summary of definitions of the infrastructure grants can be provided to members.
The Chairperson asked Mr Magagula to provide a quick explanation on the grants that have been referred to in the presentation.
Mr Magagula replied that the Provincial Road Maintenance Grant was administered by DOT but was transferred to provinces to augment the available resources for the maintenance of classified provincial road networks. The Public Transport Network Grant was administered by DOT as part of the Integrated Public Transport Network System but was transferred to municipalities. Not all municipalities were beneficiaries of the grant because it was for metropolitans and big city municipalities. Although Msunduzi, Mbombela and Buffalo City aren't metropolitans, they were still beneficiaries because they are classified as big cities. The grant was for both motorised and non-motorised public transport network which means that it helps municipalities build networks for public transport like walking lanes. The Urban Settlement Development Grant was being administered by the Department of Human Settlements and was transferred to cities for urban settlement purposes. The School Infrastructure Backlog Grant is being administered by DBE and is purposed at aiding public schools set up proper infrastructure. There are set standards that public schools have to comply with from an infrastructure perspective. The list of standards could be requested from DBE on behalf of the Committee. During the next meeting, key information will be taken from the grant schedule published with the DRB.
Mr Magagula replied that the failure to inform the Committee how many water tanks and tankers had been bought per province and at what cost was a deliberate attempt by DWS. The Committee has to do something to ensure that it gets the required information from DWS. Members do not know whether the Department is aware of the polluters and whether it is protecting the companies. It is up to the Committee to decide on the next step. Information on Eskom and SAA is not included in the presentation because it only focuses on the first three terms.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Magagula for the responses and invited Members to raise follow ups. There is an issue with the Public Procurement Bill which has serious implications for the Committee in a number of ways. Members need to have a presentation with the Chief Procurement Officer. The Public Procurement Office must also be invited to make an analysis on the Bill, the objectives, what it does and to allow members to make an input on the Bill. It is important to request the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) to make an analysis on the Bill, particularly its role in the transformation agenda. The Preferential Procurement Act might have achieved other things but definitely not the transformation agenda.
Mr Darrin Arends, Committee Secretary, said that PBO is going to brief the Committee on the Public Procurement Draft Bill tomorrow.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee Secretary for the update. On resource allocation in infrastructure grants, there is no clear coordination and there isn’t going to be any maximum impact. It's clear that some cities are getting a lion’s share at the expense of others, especially smaller towns. At a later stage, the Committee should reflect on the grants and allow presentations from the support staff, PBO and anyone else because there is a need for alignment. Without a proper alignment, the Committee will keep appropriating money but with minimum impact. The presentation has been a valuable exercise and a lot of issues were raised. The Committee needs to make a follow up on the outstanding issues. The sub-committee reports are also Committee reports and should be reflected somewhere in the presentation as such. The Committee Secretary was asked to take members through the Committee's fourth term draft programme.
Consideration and adoption of the Committee's fourth term draft programme
Mr Arends said that tomorrow, the Committee will meet with PBO to discuss the Public Procurement Draft Bill. On 13 October, there will be a consideration of the report by the sub-committee on the appointment of the PBO Director. On 14 October, there will be a workshop on DPME and its mandate, particularly on how it can assist the Committee to perform its functions.
The Chairperson said that the meeting tabled for 13 October depends on the outcome of the sub-committee. Interviews were held but there were no deliberations on who was to be the preferred candidate because the sub-committee decided to postpone the deliberations until the vetting and security clearance had been done. Is the information on vetting and security clearance going to be submitted to the Committee before the set date for the meeting?
Mr Arends replied that if the meeting is not going to be held on Tuesday, the revised date will be inserted into the programme and redistributed to Members. On 20 October, there will be a briefing by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on the impact of Covid-19 on its operations. On 21 October, the Minister of Finance will be tabling the 2020 MTBPS. On 22 October, there will be a joint briefing by the Minister of Finance on the four Committees on the 2020 MTBPS. On 27 October, PBO and the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) will brief the Committee on the MTBPS with particular focus on the revised fiscal framework. On 30 October, the Department of Trade and Industry together with its entities will brief the Committee on its role in stimulating economic growth in South Africa. On 4 November, PBO and FFC will brief the Committee on the DRAB and the AAB. On 5 November, the NT will brief the Committee on the DRAB. On 6 November, there will be a briefing by SALGA as well as public hearings on the DRAB. These two sessions will be held jointly with the Select Committee on Appropriations. On 10 November, there will be a consideration and adoption of reports on the 2020 DRAB. 11 November and 13 November have been set aside for identifying departments on the AAB. This process will also be carried out on 17 and 18 November. On 19 November, NT will brief the Committee on the AAB together with the Select Committee. On 20 November, public hearings on the AAB will be held. On 24 November, the Committee will be adopting its report on the 2020 MTBPS. The AAB will be added to the agenda because these dates could be affected by programming. There was a meeting held with the table staff and issues on programming were raised because the staff have to adhere to the three-day rule. These concerns could affect the dates in the draft programme. The programme as presented has been adopted by the House Chairperson. If there are any changes, this will be communicated to the Chairperson and Committee Members.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee Secretary for the presentation and asked members to raise comments. It's important to identify departments for the 2020 AAB that has been referred to in the presentation.
Mr Arends said that he is going to liaise with Mr Magagula and the rest of the team so that the departments can be located. Once the actual Bills are tabled, the departments that will be most affected can be identified. Once identified, the departments will present to the Committee.
Mr Joseph asked if the DPME is going to be invited to brief the Committee on issues of Covid-19. The Department has said it's available to engage with members the last time it was contacted.
The Chairperson said that the Committee is going to have a session with the Department on 14 October. The Department must be reminded to provide an overview on Covid-19 interventions, expenditures and the impact thereof. The Committee is not particular about what the money was being used for but ultimately on what the impact has been. Are there any movers for the adoption of the draft programme?
The Committee adopted the draft programme.
Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes
Committee minutes dated 25 August 202
The Committee adopted the minutes.
Committee minutes dated 26 August 202
Mr Joseph asked if the figures reflected on the FFC comment on the zero-based budget are correct.
Mr Arends replied that the figures are correct.
The Committee adopted the minutes.
The Committee then adopted the minutes of the Committee meetings held on 1, 2 and 11 September 2020.
The Chairperson asked if Members have any comments to make.
Mr Emam said that he did not receive the Eastern Cape report that was spoken of earlier. Is there going to be a dedicated media team invited to Committee meetings? The attendance of the media is important because it could help the entire process of following up on the money and finding solutions to the challenges on the ground. It will also put added pressure for compliance on those not complying.
The Chairperson asked for the Eastern Cape report to be shared with all Members. The media are always advised of all Committee meetings. They choose to attend the meetings they consider to be of interest to them. The Committee issues statements after some meetings in which important points and expectations are emphasised. These statements are made available to the media. In future, these statements must also be shared with members. Covid-19 affected the work of the Committee, particularly its oversight function. For the greater period, Members were locked in and could not conduct site inspections. On the other hand, it was an extraordinary year as the Committee had to deal with two budgets. The programme was packed and at some stage the Committee was doubting that it would be able to do all of the things within the stipulated time in the money Bills. However, the Committee managed to that and should therefore be happy with the output. Under normal circumstances, the Committee would want to do oversight in areas that are considered to be problematic.
The meeting was adjourned.
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