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JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE
16 March 2005
THIRD QUARTER EXPENDITURE 2004/05 COMMITTEE REPORT: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out
Third Quarter Expenditure Report 2004/05 (June to November) (Draft 2)
Members discussed the second draft of the third quarter expenditure Committee report and highlighted those departments that needed to provide answers for their over-spending or under-spending. The overseeing parliamentary committee for each of these departments should play a critical role in investigating the department’s financial management. The Committee resolved to schedule the whole day for department hearings instead of the usual half-day. The Committee did not adopt the report.
The Committee went through Draft Two of the Third Quarter Expenditure Report of 2004/05 and the Chairperson invited comments on the second draft
Mr Asiya (ANC) recommended that members should look to the Public Finance Management Act for guidelines.
Mr Bhamjee asked why there was a discrepancy when some month's departments would have high spending and other months the spending was low.
Ms B Diutlwileng, Parliamentary Researcher, replied that the departments usually spent more in October because of transfers to provinces.
Chairperson commented that it was useful to make a comparison between projection and actual spending.
Mr Bhamjee suggested that Members should take one department and then make comparisons, which would be developed and which could also be used for future use.
Mr P Rabie (DA) suggested that Members should concentrate on problematic departments.
Mr Bhamjee said that as a Committee they needed a clear perspective on the oversight role that they were supposed to be playing.
The Chairperson suggested that Members should take three departments, one big spender, low spender and normal spender and formulate the type of questions to be asked.
Mr Asiya supported this suggestion.
Mr Bhamjee said that oversight work needed time. He suggested that the Committee should schedule the whole day for departmental hearings. If the whole day was not enough then departments could be called back.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should use the Budget Review.
Mr Asiya said that he supported Mr Bhamjee's suggestion of spreading over two days because the Departments would sometimes complain about waiting too long while the Committee was busy with another department.
Ms Diutlwileng said that the Department of Social Development had always been consistent in their spending patterns. There were exceptions, for an example, the Department of Minerals and Energy had to spend more because of the electrification programme
Mr Scheenman suggested that the Committee should inform the Communications Portfolio Committee chairperson about their Department’s finances.
Mr Bhamjee asked members whether they were going to rely on the Communications Portfolio Committee to do the investigation of the overspending patterns of the Communications Department.
The Chairperson said that he supported Mr Bhamjee's suggestion and this Committee would do a follow up if there were problems lest the Committee raise false alarm.
Mr Asiya said that Rule 66 should be considered because it allowed both committees to work together on issues of mutual consent.
The Chairperson asked why the Department of Sport and Recreation ad been overspending in December.
Ms Diutlwileng replied that Sport had under spent on current expenditure and overspent on Capital expenditure.
The Chairperson said that the report needed clarification from the Department of Sport.
Mr Asiya said that there would be a time lag between when the Committee would receive the report and the time they had to go through it. For example, 1 April was the new financial year and members would be asking questions about the old financial year.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would have to make time because they could not afford to short-circuit the process. He then went through the recommendations of the Committee Report which had emanated from the previous report. He emphasised that members should look at the recommendations because the same problems could come up again.
Members then went through the Masters Degree course lists that were offered by the University of South Africa, the University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University. They agreed to do follow up on the courses that would suit them.
The meeting was adjourned.
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