Treasury Control Bill [B119 - 98]: report back

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Finance Standing Committee

08 February 1999
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Meeting report

FINANCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

FINANCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
9 February 1999
TREASURY CONTROL BILL [B119 - 98]: REPORT BACK

Documents handed out:

Treasury Control Bill [B119-98]

SUMMARY
The Treasury Control Bill was reported on by Dr G Woods, but not adopted. The Task Group have not yet finalised the eleven chapters, which have been redrafted many times. The main thrust of the Bill is the financial management of the public service. The draft should be ready for discussion on Tuesday, 16th February. The adoption of the Public Investment Amendment Bill [B8-99] was deferred until the following week.

MINUTES
The Chairperson, Mr Ebrahim, apologised for not being available for last week's meeting. It was pointed out by a NNP member that those who had attended had agreed to a number of amendments to the draft and asked that these be captured in a document for further discussion. The adoption of Public Investment Commissioners Amendment Bill [B8-99] was deferred until next Tuesday because it was not in typed form.

Treasury Control Bill
Dr Woods, head of the Task Group, said that details of the progress report are still being worked on and it is hoped that the final draft will be ready by Friday, when committee members would have a chance to study it. It is a very complex and ambitious Bill, which plans to take financial management in the public service forward. There have been enormous changes since the original draft about 5 months ago. The norms and standards demanded by the Constitution of South Africa had to be incorporated; the Exchequer Act is outdated and there has been much criticism of the public sector. The Bill aims to give tools for systems which are the reference point, and accountability is vital. It covers National and Provincial sections of government (but not local government) and also constitutional institutions, Parliament and major parastatals. Directors-General are the key people, for responsibility and accountability, for the people under and over them and reporting how the system works. If they fail, the process is covered by labour legislation.

Dr Woods made it clear that the task team wanted to create a balance: not only control of finance, but of moving to a modern trend of working towards goals, which if not achieved, employees should be fired. He felt, however, that before this could be implemented in South Africa, capacity building is necessary and it could be phased in by approximately 2005. At provincial level this capacity building is likely to be slower. There are eleven chapters, but fine tuning has only been done on the first three. There has been consultation with the Minister on many aspects.

The Chairperson and several members complimented the task team on their commitment and energy, recognising how complex the issues were. The process of adoption needs to follow a very tight schedule.

Other business
Mr Davies (ANC) announced that a discussion on bank transaction charges and small loan interest would take place on 1-3 March in the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. All were invited to attend.

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