Committee Report on Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers of Independent Constitutional Institutions; AGSA Job Profiles
Standing Committee on Auditor General
30 September 2022
Chairperson: Mr S Somyo (ANC)
The Committee considered its report on the remuneration of Public Office-Bearers of Independent Constitutional Institutions. The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-bearers recommended a 3% increment for all categories of Public Office-Bearers including members of the Independent Constitutional Institutions for the financial year 2021/2022. In a letter, dated 10 June 2022, the President informed the House that he accepted the Independent Commission’s recommendation and intended to determine a 3% salary increment for all public office bearers of the independent constitutional institutions with effect from 1 April 2021, subject to the National Assembly’s approval. The Committee supported the determination and the Report.
In addition, the Chairperson presented a report on the Auditor-General’s Office (AGSA) defined work and expectations.
The Chairperson explained that it was the responsibility of the Committee to have a clear outlook of what was expected of those who had been assigned duties in the Office of the Auditor-General, in an objective instance. The Committee’s oversight over the AGSA would be based on those expected key performance areas, as outlined in the document.
The Committee adopted the document as presented. The document covered all the aspects of the Constitutional mandate of the Office of the Auditor-General. It complied fully with the directive from the House.
The Chairperson welcomed the members to the meeting.
The Chairperson thanked the Members for attending the meeting as Members were supposed to travel back to their constituencies. It was a Friday and the end of the month. It was the nature of the Committee which had been given the day Friday for it to be able to sit, unfortunately. The Chairperson appreciated the Members making the time to be together.
At the Committee’s last meeting, it received a briefing by the Office of the Auditor-General on a matter that involved that Office. The matter had been handled appropriately. The only thing the Chairperson needed to pursue next week, which the Office needed to take note of, was to pay a visit. On the same matter, he had received a call from the DAG advising on the current steps taken to finalise all the aspects related to the Chief People Officer (CPO). The CPO underwent a Disciplinary Committee (DC) process last week. It was finalised and the outcome was communicated this week Those were internal arrangements. What was only outstanding now was the detailed plan which would assist in directing critical actions after that meeting. There were only two matters that the Committee had to deal with. The Chairperson noted that there was a new Member of the Committee. He asked Mr Mathafa, on behalf of the ANC, to introduce the new Member to the Committee.
Mr O Mathafa (ANC) greeted the Chairperson and Members. He introduced the new Member, Ms Maria Mookgo Matuba. The Members looked forward to working with her. She would make a valuable contribution to the success of the Committee.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Matuba and hoped that she would always be a representative in the Committee. The Committee was not a loaded Committee. From time-to-time calls would be made on matters pertinent to the Committee.
The Chairperson noted the agenda. The Committee was meeting to consider the correspondence which had been referred to the Committee on the finalisation of remuneration of public office-bearers of independent constitutional institutions.
Mr Mathafa noted that apologies had been omitted from the agenda. Was the Chairperson making an exception for the Committee to check who was in the meeting for the purposes of minute taking? The apologies need to be recorded. He noted that Mr Mlenzana had connectivity issues and was struggling to connect.
The Chairperson said that was fair. He noted that he was still outlining the items on the agenda and then that amendment would be made. The apologies would be noted after the introductory remarks by the Chairperson. The Chairperson asked that that amendment be made to the agenda.
The Chairperson noted Mr Mathafa’s proposition that before the adoption of the agenda, the Committee have an item after the welcome for apologies.
The apologies were read into the record.
The Chairperson said that the first matter to deal with on the agenda was the report of the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General. The Report related to the decision the Committee took at the time when it had receipt of a letter, which had been referred to the Committee by the Office of the Speaker on the basis of finalisation of remuneration of Public Office-Bearers.
Consideration of Committee Report on the Determination of the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers of the Independent Constitutional Institutions: 2021/22
The Chairperson read through the Report. The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-bearers recommended a 3% increment for all categories of Public Office-Bearers including members of the Independent Constitutional Institutions for the financial year 2021/2022. In a letter, dated 10 June 2022, the President informed the House that he accepted the Independent Commission’s recommendation and intended to determine a 3% salary increment for all public office bearers of the independent constitutional institutions with effect from 1 April 2021, subject to the National Assembly’s approval.
Ms Z Kota-Mpeko (ANC) noted that the matter had been thoroughly considered and the President did not see anything wrong with it. Parliament should not be a stumbling block in this process. All of the pros and cons had been looked at. She proposed that the Committee accept the Report.
Mr H Hoosen (DA) said that all of the Members were familiar with the background on the issue before the Committee. He noted that the 3% increase was fair and reasonable under the circumstances, especially the economic circumstances of the country. There was no objection to supporting the principle of a 3% increase for the Auditor-General’s Office.
Mr Mathafa said that he was covered by the two Members. He was in full support.
The Chairperson asked if all the Members agreed Were there any dissensions?
The Committee agreed to the adoption of the Report.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee would have to make the same presentation to Parliament. When that time came then the Members would have their own reflections on the same matter as various parties when it was tabled for Parliamentary adoption.
Consideration of Request for Feedback on Draft Job Profiles of Public Office Bearers in Independent Constitutional Institutions (Auditor-General)
The Chairperson said the second document related to the item that dealt with the Auditor-General’s defined work and expectations.
The Chairperson presented the draft to the Committee and asked for comment.
Mr Hoosen asked if the document was just for noting. What is the Committee expected to do with it? He had no objections to the content because as the Chairperson had mentioned, it was derived from the different pieces of legislation. What was the Committee expected to do in respect of this item? He needed clarity.
The Chairperson said that it was the responsibility of the Committee to have a clear outlook of what was expected of those who had been assigned duties in the Office of the Auditor-General, in an objective instance. Parliament had to decide on such. Members had to look if there were any things they wanted to add or amend. It was not necessarily just there for noting. The Committee could make additions as required or the Committee could make omissions as looking into the scale of referenced matters, as they were part of this document.
Mr Hoosen said that clarity was very helpful. Would there be an opportunity for members to make input regarding content? He noted one of the problems currently. The Auditor-General’s Office did an amazing job. There was no question about it. There was very little one could fault the Office. He noted that recently there were those additional powers that the Auditor-General’s Office was given in terms of recovery of irregular expenditure and wasteful expenditure that belonged to the public. That was there for a very specific reason. Because of that frustration, the Auditor-General’s Office had been reporting for years on the high levels of corruption or maladministration. People were just getting away with it which was why there was the amendment to the Act to give the Auditor-General additional powers. The Committee's role as an oversight body was to make sure that the Auditor-General’s Office used those powers to the maximum benefit of the Government and to protect the resources that were there, with more focus on recovery apart from just the reporting side of things. It was one thing reporting where the problems were, but it was another thing to fix those problems and ensure that people were held accountable. He was not sure where in the document that should be fitted in. The Committee should make a recommendation that the Office should be playing a more active role in ensuring that government recovered funds that were actually lost through maladministration and wasteful expenditure, using the recent Act of Parliament that granted the Auditor-General those powers.
The Chairperson asked if the document mentioned that the work should be in full compliance with the Public Audit Act as amended. He thought he had seen that summation in the document. The Chairperson noted that it was an important matter though the Committee did not need to isolate it from the full prescripts of that legislation. The Chairperson found it in the document. The document noted that material irregularities identified, during an audit performance under the Act, must be referred to a relevant body for investigations. The Chairperson directed Ms Hoosen to the relevant part of the document.
Mr Hoosen said that part of the document was about the reporting party and referring to other arms of State for recovery. That amendment passed recently in Parliament gave the Auditor-General the powers to issue those non-compliance certificates failing which that individual, in that particular entity, would be held personally liable for it. That gave the Auditor-General’s Office the power to actually do the recovery itself as opposed to just referring it to the Hawks. The reference to other arms of state and law enforcement authorities, that part was fine. It was covered here. The part that he was not seeing was where the Auditor-General’s Office had the powers to do the recovery itself to issue that non-compliance notice. That was what he was referring to.
The Chairperson noted that that was in the document. The document stated that the Auditor-General had the power to enforce by taking any appropriate remedial action and issuing a certificate of debt as prescribed, where an accounting officer or an accounting authority had failed to comply with remedial actions.
Mr Mathafa said he wanted to direct Mr Hoosen to the point the Chairperson had just read.
Mr Hoosen said that he was happy. His concern was sufficiently covered.
Mr Mathafa said that he proposed that the Committee accept the document as presented. Having read the document, it covered all the aspects of the Constitutional mandate of the Office of the Auditor-General. It complied fully with the directive from the House. The Committee should be able to adopt the document and refer it back to Mr Frolick, as per his directive.
Mr Hoosen supported Mr Mathafa’s proposal.
The Chairperson said the Committee’s oversight over the Office of the Auditor-General would be based on those expected key performance areas, as outlined in the document.
The Chairperson asked for the Committee to consider the outstanding minutes.
Consideration of Committee minutes – 19 May 2022
Mr Mathafa moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr Hoosen seconded the adoption of the minutes.
The minutes were adopted.
Consideration of Committee minutes – 27 May 2022
Mr Z Mlenzana (ANC) moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Ms Kota-Mpeko seconded the adoption of the minutes.
The minutes were adopted.
Consideration of Committee minutes – 16 September 2022
Ms N Hlonyana (EFF) moved for the adoption of the minutes.
Mr Mathafa seconded the adoption of the minutes.
The minutes were adopted.
The Chairperson said that the minutes reflected what was carried through on the day. He hoped that the absent Members would look at the matters concerned. There was one thing outstanding with the Office of the Auditor-General. The Committee had instructed the Committee Secretary, the Committee Researcher, and the Office of the Auditor-General to come up with a plan of action on the matters that needed to be finalised in the near future.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary if there were any other matters the Committee needed to deal with.
Mr Peter-Paul Mbele, Committee Secretary, said there would be a meeting on 7 October. It would be communicated to the Members officially. The House Chairperson and the Chief Whip had approved for the Committee to sit virtually, next Friday. The Committee would receive an important briefing on the integrated annual report of the AGSA. The meeting would be on Friday, 7 October, at a time that would be communicated.
He also noted that this would be his last meeting with the Committee. He thanked all of the Members, having worked with them for the past three years. He thanked the Members for all of their support. He had learnt a lot and wished the Committee well in its work. No one was officially assigned to take over from him but in the interest of the Committee finishing its work, he would continue to support the Committee in making sure that the handover was smooth.
The Chairperson asked if any Members wanted to comment.
Mr Mathafa congratulated Mr Mbele on being accepted to study in the UK. He wished him well in his studies. He hoped that Mr Mbele would not be lost to the country as there were areas that required strategic thinking and resolution by those who were learned in the particular space that he was in. He wished him well and hoped that they would cross paths in the future and that he would contribute back to South Africa.
Ms Hlonyana thanked Mr Mbele for everything he had done for the Committee. The Members appreciated him and wished him luck. She hoped he would return to South Africa and provide all the skills he had learned.
Mr Hoosen said that Mbele was a wonderful person to work with. He was grateful for all the work and support Mr Mbele had provided to the Committee.
The Chairperson wished him all the best. He hoped Mr Mbele would represent the country well in the UK.
The Chairperson hoped that the Members had taken note that next week Friday, the Auditor-General would be taking the Committee through its annual report. When Members returned from recess, they would be involved in tabling their BRRR for the House. The Members needed to prepare themselves for such. As soon as the reports are tabled, they should be sent to Members. He appealed to members to attend the meeting next week even though it was recess so that there was closure on that matter. The Chairperson thanked the Members for their attendance and for showing their commitment in attending these kinds of meetings.
The meeting was adjourned.
Somyo, Mr SS
Hlonyana, Ms NKF
Hoosen, Mr MH
Jafta, Mr SM
Kota-Mpeko, Ms ZA
Mathafa, Mr OM
Matuba, Ms M M
Mente, Ms NV
Mlenzana, Mr Z
Mpushe, Ms PT
Myolwa, Mr DJ
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