Western Cape Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill: planning

Budget (WCPP)

24 June 2022
Chairperson: Ms D Baartman (DA)
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Meeting Summary


B28-2018 - Money Bills Amendment Procedure And Related Matters Amendment Bill

The Budget Committee of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) convened virtually for a briefing on the project plan for drafting of Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill for the legislature.

Members were concerned that budget cuts would have an adverse effect on executing the task of drafting the Bill. However, the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) had offered to assist the Committee at no cost. This was possible because the FFC was constitutionally mandated to advise all provinces on budgetary procedures and related matters. Committee members would discuss this offer with their party study groups to provide approval.

It was envisaged that the Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill would be submitted for introduction to the Budget Committee by 24 February 2023. The time frames in the project plan, might lessen as the time allocated for procuring expertise from external sources might no longer be needed. However, the amendment of the deadline depended on agreement to utilise the services of the FFC is reached. The matter would be decided in the next meeting after the constituency period ended towards the end of July.

The Committee also discussed its resolution to source capacity-building for its members on financial legislation drafting and the various option available.

Meeting report

Drafting a Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill: project plan
WCPP Senior Legal Advisor, Adv Andre le Roux, said a number of workshops had been held on the Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill. In the next phase, be focusing on the practical aspects of supporting the Committee to construct a draft Bill ready for introduction.

The legislature relies on the following enabling instruments to consider and pass Money Bills and to provide for the amendment of Money Bills:
• WCPP Standing Rules 150 to 182 provide for the legislative process in general and Rules 183 to 192 for Money Bills in particular. The Standing Rules may be amended to provide for other matters identified in consultation with Plenary Support and the Committee Section.
• Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) allow for in-committee processes for consideration and reporting on Bills. They elaborate on the requirements for activating a provincial Act for the amendment of Money Bills.
• The Procurement Policy provides guidelines for obtaining expertise that may be required to ensure compliance with the norms and standards in the schedule of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009 of the national Parliament. The expense of a permanent advisory body such as a Parliamentary Budget Office may not be justified in the case of a provincial legislature; and
• The Provincial Act stipulates the procedure for the amendment of Money Bills but should refrain from including matters that could be provided for in other enabling instruments.

The project plan is to commence work on the draft Bill along with other enabling instruments on 1 July 2022. It is envisaged that the final draft Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill would be submitted to the Budget Committee for introduction by 24 February 2023.

The Chairperson acknowledged the sterling piece of research work.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) expressed appreciation for the presentation. He would return with more detailed feedback after discussing the information with his team. He requested that the presentation be transferred to the Microsoft Project Plan platform.

Ms N Nkondlo (ANC) sought clarity on the technical differences between SOPs and Standing Rules. She asked if new rules would be required for the Bill and the relationship between the procurement policy and the Money Bills Procedure Bill and the capacity implications. She was concerned that the work of the Committee would be adversely affected by its budget decrease. She proposed a discussion on matters that might not be realised due to limited resources.

The Chairperson replied to Ms Nkondlo that she had good news about the budget for the proposed Bill. She met with Financial and Fiscal Commission officials who informed her that a full scale budget office was not needed as the FCC was constitutionally mandated to advise all provinces on budgetary procedures and related matters. The FFC Chairperson and Head of Research indicated that the institution was already advising on the amendment of Money Bills and budgetary processes to provinces. Thus it had the capacity and resources to assist WCPP and it would make a draft template available. On the costs involved, the FFC Chairperson said it would be unfair to expect the WCPP to pay for the research and capacity if the FFC does not make all other provinces pay for the service. Until the NCOP considers implementing rules such as where FFC provides allocation letters to the provinces, similar to the Auditor-General management letters, the FFC would not be expecting payment from WCPP.

On the legal implications, the FFC Chairperson undertook to forward the enquiry to their Head of Legal and to present proposals to the Committee in the near future. Working with the FFC would take care of the uncertainty of working with different service providers and it would not infringe on institutional independence because the FFC gets funding directly from National Treasury. She asked Members to share the feedback with their study groups and teams and to consider the option of working with the FFC.

The Chairperson replied about SOPs and rules that in the January 2022 budget meeting, the Committee had resolved to put the majority of the clauses into legislation. She thanked Adv Le Roux for being so steadfast in his support of the Committee.

Adv Le Roux explained that the WCPP Standing Rules were binding with the expectation that procedures would be followed. SOPs were guiding documents dealing with the implementation of operational matters. He did not want to pre-empt the introduction of new rules, as raised by Ms Nkondlo, until the review process is started. Rule 184 was presently providing for the amendment of Money Bills. However, he was not dismissing the fact that some rules might need to be reconsidered.

On the procurement policy, the idea was for the legislature to decide on procurement to obtain external expertise from private partners. However, the matter might become academic in light of the FFC willingness to assist the Committee should the legislature decide to work with the FFC.

The Chairperson reminded Adv Le Roux of the request for the information to be recorded onto the Microsoft Project Plan so that Members could track the timeframes of the process until feedback on the recommendations is provided by the study groups.

Adv Le Roux replied that this was not within his area of responsibility but other people in the administration would be able to assist.

The Chairperson requested the Procedural Officer to assist with transferring the information onto the Microsoft Project Plan. She noted that the FFC proposal was not cast in stone. The idea was for Members to share the information with their respective teams for consideration and to determine if money could be saved on budgetary analysis.

Resolutions and actions
Referring to the letter from the Committee Secretary, Mr G Bosman (DA) proposed that the Directorate for Institutional Enablement be requested to make a presentation on collaboration with higher education institutions in the next Chairpersons Forum. For the purpose of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill, the Committee would want to benefit from collaboration with institutions of higher learning. The Committee had a relationship with Stellenbosch University (SU) colleagues who joined and contributed to the budget workshop. He wanted a more detailed understanding of what the collaboration entailed and how the Committee could leverage the expertise.

The Chairperson drew attention to the research document compiled by the researchers. One of the professors the Research Office engaged with was Prof Christina Murray who was unable to attend the budget workshop earlier this year. She is currently a senior advisor on constitutional matters to the United Nations and was also involved in the majority of the NCOP research work commissioned over the past two decades. Both the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) were offering legislative drafting courses. The focus of the specific resolution was to ask the higher education institutions to construct a legislative drafting course, particularly on Money Bills matters. She proposed that the request for a presentation on collaboration with higher education institutions be referred to the Chair of the Chairpersons Forum.

Mr Lubabalo Stemele, WCPP Director: Support Services, noted that the research team was in the process of comparing courses offered at various institutions and was considering adopting the course offered at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) as it was the only accredited programme with a duration of six months. UJ and UCT were using the same academics, that is Prof Malherbe and Adv Erasmus. He assured the Committee that the matter was receiving attention.

The Chairperson asked the Director if he had contacted the law faculty deans at SU and UWC as both universities had similar courses.

The Director replied that some courses did not have a NQF level accreditation. The universities in the Western Cape were offering certificates of attendance or certificates of accomplishment while UJ was offering an NQF level certificate. The cost and cost effectiveness of all institutions must be considered.

The Chairperson said that she would again contact SU and UWC because she had received confirmation from the deans about the courses being offered at their institutions. In the January 2022 workshop, the Committee decided to spend the money specifically on Western Cape institutions.

Mr Bosman cautioned against accredited courses as some Members were still waiting on the Wits University postgraduate certificate programme to start, almost halfway through the year. The Committee should consider universities where the expertise exists.

Ms Nkondlo said the CPA was providing some courses on financing and budgeting that were internationally accredited. In addition to the Wits programme, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) was offering courses for Commonwealth members. She asked if the CPA courses were being considered as part of the capacity-building package.

The Chairperson agreed it was a good idea and asked Ms Nkondlo to forward the specific information to other Members and for consideration by the Chair of the Chairpersons Forum. She emphasised that the committee resolution dealt particularly with legislative drafting as it related to financial legislation which was a technical and legal skill.

The Committee Secretary commented on the request for a presentation on collaboration with higher education institutions and the link with legislative drafting. He proposed that the main areas covered by each institution be included in the presentation to provide Members with an idea of what the courses entailed and the content coverage by each of the institutions.

The Chairperson agreed that it would be a good idea to put the information in table format.

Mr Bosman said Ms Nkondlo was referring to the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, which was offering a professional certificate in legislative drafting and a professional certificate in legislative processes. The body is linked with the Institute for Leadership and Management which provided more scope for Members to be part of accredited organisations. He would forward the information to other Members.

The Chairperson agreed that it would be valuable to consider all options. She drew attention to the visit to Wales on budgetary and finance matters by Mr Bosman and Ms Nkondlo. As part of the social cluster, Mr Mackenzie, Mr Brinkhuis and herself visited Brazil. She took advantage of the opportunity and asked the Secretariat in the Brazilian Parliament about its budgetary procedures. They undertook to forward documents on the Money Bill amendment process. She suggested that the two groups, in an informal study group meeting, share ideas that could be incorporated into the WCPP Money Bills Amendment Procedure Bill process.

The Chairperson asked what timeframe was needed for the party study groups to provide feedback on the recommendations made in this meeting.

Mr Mackenzie replied that the letter from the Committee Secretary indicated that in the meantime there was enough capacity to deal with these matters. He reiterated that the information should be transferred to the Microsoft Project Plan which he offered to do. The work should commence and he would give feedback within two weeks once back in the office after the constituency period.

The Chairperson sought agreement from Members on providing feedback after their return from constituency duties. She urged Members meanwhile to discuss the alternative recommendations with their party study groups to provide feedback at the next meeting after the constituency period.

The Committee Secretary asked if the 1 July 2022 deliverable had been resolved and if the work on the draft of the first three documents, intended to take nine weeks, could start.

The Chairperson said the draft project plan was considering the procurement of an expert panel by 8 July 2022 to assist the Committee. The updated request was for the first piece of work to be presented at the end of the constituency period on 25 July 2022. Meanwhile, Members needed to discuss the proposed recommendations with their party study groups.

Mr Mackenzie confirmed that the work should start on Monday 1 July 2022 as it was established that WCPP had the capacity and had volunteered to do the work. It may take three weeks instead of nine weeks to complete.

The Chairperson implored Members to review the draft project plan. She would welcome suggestions on how the work could be done faster and better. She would liaise with the Procedural Officer to arrange a time to discuss the first piece of work. The different political parties would be asked for their views on the recommendations. She thanked Members for their participation.

The meeting was adjourned.


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