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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
22 June 2005
INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS DIRECTORATE BUDGET: DISCUSSION
Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Independent Complaints Directorate briefing
The Committee discussed its concerns about the Independent Compliants Directorate’s (ICD) budget. The ICD was asked to explain its travel costs of R2.9 million. The Committee asked about forms of travel, the differences between travel expenses between provinces, and why the national office’s travel expenses were three times that of the average expenditure by the provinces. These questions were not answered.
The Committee also discussed accommodation, incidental costs and daily allowances. The ICD could not provide sufficient answers to the Committee’s concerns. This led to a ruling by the Chairperson that the Committee would write a report for debate in Parliament.
The Chairperson said she had called on the ICD provincial heads and expected to hear about the outstanding issues and not to see another presentation. The ICD was failing the Department of Safety and Security, government and Parliament. The Committee was not interfering with the functions of ICD but was performing their oversight role.
The ICD’s delegation was led by Advocate Karen McKenzie (Executive Director). She apologised that the information the Committee wanted had not been made available at the previous meeting.
Mr Elias Valoyi (ICD Programme Manager: Administration) explained the ICD’s travel costs. He gave a breakdown of the top management’s travel costs and the travel costs of the investigators and provincial heads. The total expenditure for travel was R2.9 million. The investigators and provincial heads had spent 77% of this amount. The province with the highest expenditure was the Eastern Cape. The Northern Cape had the lowest expenditure.
Mr A Maziya (ANC) asked which staff travelled at such high costs.
Adv A Gaum (NNP) asked the difference between transport and road transport. Adv Gaum said there was a huge variation in air transport costs between provinces. He was concerned about the kind of air transport used.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) said that the average travel costs of the nine provinces amounted to R250 000. The national office’s travel expenses were three times that. She asked if this was necessary.
Mr Maziya said it looked as if they were spending too much money on transport. He asked why the money could not be used some place else, as most work was done by the provinces.
Mr Maziya asked the definition of ‘GG vehicle expenses’.
Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked what other kinds of transport were provided.
The Chairperson said the Committee wanted to assist the Minister in the restructuring of the ICD.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked for an explanation on where people were accommodated. The Chairperson asked how many people were accommodated.
Adv Gaum (NNP), Ms van Wyk, Ms Sosibo and Reverend K Meshoe (ACDP) asked the meaning of such high ‘incidental costs’. The Western Cape’s incidental costs did not compare with that of the other provinces.
Reverend Meshoe said the Western Cape had allocated R4 000, while the Eastern Cape had allocated R65 000 to daily allowances. In the Northern Cape, the biggest province, longer distances had to be travelled but their daily allowances were very low.
Ms Elize Verster (ICD Chief Financial Officer) said accommodation referred to a hotel or other form of accommodation, such as guesthouses or staying with family or friends. When people were staying with family or friends, that staffmember was entitled to approximately R190 if they stayed away from headquarters for longer than 24 hours. The daily away allowance was R61. This small amount was being paid for being away from home and it was for ‘incidental expenditures’.
Reverend Meshoe asked if people who qualified for daily allowances were using hotels. Ms Verster said that if a person slept in a hotel, the invoice would be directly paid by the ICD, but they would allow the person R61 of incidental expenditure. A person could not get both the R190 and R61.
Adv Gaum asked if the R61 paid made up incidental costs. Ms Verster replied in the negative, saying a resolution approved by employees and unions allowed every staffmember a daily allowance when not staying at their own home. Ms Verster said that tollgate fees were very high in the Western Cape, and that could have been why the Western Cape’s incidental costs were so high. Parking fees were also high in the Western Cape. Adv Gaum did not believe that tollgates could make such a difference to the Western Cape’s incidental costs. He asked why there was such a discrepancy between the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
Mr L Diale (ANC) said that when a person was sent to investigate a case, the office would know the distance he/she would have to travel and the person had to be given an allowance. He asked why a person could sleep out and get an allowance.
Mr Maziya asked if the ICD’s employees used petrol cards.
Ms Sosibo wanted clarity on the incidental costs of R61 and would have liked to know if people claimed this money from the SA Revenue Service (SARS).
The Chairperson said it seemed as if staffmembers were not satisfied by the answers on incidental costs. Mr Maziya said the ICD’s explanations appeared to be hiding something.
Mr R King (DA) said it seemed that there were different ways of bookkeeping in the different provinces. The figures were impossible and it looked as if the provinces understood things differently. The Chairperson asked if national office really did not know what was going on. Mr Ndlovu proposed that, as they could not get an explanation, the ICD should come up with a detailed explanation.
Reverend Meshoe wanted to know all the items under incidental costs and asked if there was a policy for all the provinces.
Ms Van Wyk alternatively proposed that the situation was so serious that the Committee should write a report to Parliament for debate. Mr Maziya and Mr R Jankielsohn (DA) seconded the proposal.
The Chairperson said the Committee could not go ahead with the ICD’s report. The Committee was trying to assist the Minister, and there were serious concerns. The Committee would write a report to Parliament.
The meeting was adjourned.
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