The meeting was postponed as the Committee was displeased that the presentation was sent late. Members emphasised that presentations must be sent timeously to enable Members to adequately engage the material to ensure discussions were productive. This was even more concerning given the Auditor-General's findings on the annual report. Members agreed to have an all day engagement with the Department. The concerns raised by Members should be noted by the Ministry especially those concerning the deadlines and reports being submitted late. Set targets need to be met.
The Chairperson opened the meeting and welcomed everyone present.
A moment of silence was reserved for the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.
The Chairperson said that the Committee has been deliberating on the Ingonyama Trust Board and the issues of accountability, responsibility and good cooperative governance have been covered. A comprehensive development impact assessment needs to be conducted so that effective change, reprioritisation of the budget and the adoption of a rural developmental model for food security, poverty and unemployment can be achieved. A new model for rural development needs to be developed so that the integrity of reporting, planning, resource allocation, accountability and good governance are embraced in the model which are necessary for the fight against corruption, underperformance and misstatements.
The Chairperson said that annual performance reports provide information on a department’s mission, history and summarises the achievements for the past year. The achievement section satisfies shareholders and stakeholders regarding their investments and provides a bill of health from the findings by the Auditor-General. The Committee has not received the Annual Report of the former Department of Rural Development and Land Reform because of challenges experienced by the Department. The presentation was forwarded late to the Committee. Presentations that are submitted early allow the Committee enough time to deliberate on the information provided in the presentation so that engagements are productive. The Chairperson asked Members for resolutions on the way forward for the meeting.
Ms M Tlhape (ANC) agreed that the report from the Department should have been sent by Friday. It is unsettling because a programme was set for the presentation by the Department to respond to the issues that were raised. It is unacceptable. The meeting cannot continue because it is a regression for the Committee.
Ms D Mahlatsi (ANC) agreed with Ms Tlhape that justice will not be done to the presentation if it was received late because the level of engagement will not be good. It is unfair on the Committee to continue the meeting. The meeting should be postponed.
Ms A Steyn (DA) supported the decision and expressed concern for the Department because the Annual Report was submitted late. Additionally, the briefing by the Auditor-General expressed concerns on the Department. The meeting should be postponed because the issues of the Department cannot be discussed in three hours. She suggested a contact meeting.
Mr N Capa (ANC) agreed with the inputs by Members.
Ms B Tshwete (ANC) said that the Committee has a responsibility to align with the Department.
Inkosi R Cebekhulu (IFP) supported the recommendations made by Members.
Ms T Mbabama (DA) agreed with Members and said that the full day engagement, as recommended by Ms Steyn, is necessary.
Ms N Mahlo (ANC) supported the decision to postpone the meeting and said that the Department should be better prepared - delaying the report is not beneficial to anyone. The Committee and the Department need to work together so that the right thing is achieved.
Mr N Masipa (DA) agreed with Members on the postponement of the meeting. The audit opinion concern should be considered and that a full day oversight should be conducted. The Department has issues on consequence management, disciplinary action, 45 concluded investigations and forensic reports. The information that has been provided by the Auditor-General must be considered.
The Chairperson said that the postponement of the meeting will be communicated with the House Chair. The Department officials were released. The Chairperson said that the concerns raised by Members should be noted by the Ministry especially those concerning the deadlines and reports being submitted late. Set targets need to be met.
Ms Mahlatsi said that some information in the Committee deliberations was not included especially on the financial statements. On the action plan, the Department could forward action plans to the Committee and that assurance was given that all audit outcomes from the previous financial year were being addressed by the Department.
Mr Capa said that the Department was supposed to respond to the concerns raised by the Auditor-General but no timeframes were outlined for the responses.
The Chairperson said the Auditor-General was requested to send the conflicts that were being addressed by the Department and investigations that have been brought to the Auditor-General’s attention. The information was supposed to be forwarded to the Committee Secretary.
Ms Mahlo said the Department should be able to provide information on which systems or standards are being used concerning page 3, 3.3.6 on the adequate internal controls. Policies need to be implemented and the issue of internal controls should not be an issue especially on the implementation of these policies.
The minutes dated 9 March 2021 were adopted.
The Chairperson thanked everyone present for attending the meeting.
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