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30 September 2019 - NW27

Profile picture: Maimane, Mr MA

Maimane, Mr MA to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)(a) What are the terms of reference of the SA Revenue Service’s tax inquiry into Bosasa and persons associated with Bosasa and (b) by what date is the inquiry expected to be completed; (2) whether the inquiry will investigate the R500 000 donation made by Bosasa to the CR17 African National Congress presidential campaign of the President of the Republic, Mr M C Ramaphosa; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) whether, in line with the provision of section 69(2)(d) of the Tax Administration Act, Act 28 of 2011, the specified R500 000 donation was declared for (a) income and/or (b) donations tax; if not, in each case, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The questions relate to taxpayer information provided by a taxpayer and taxpayer information obtained by SARS in respect of a taxpayer. SARS is prohibited from disclosing such taxpayer information in terms of section 68 (1)(b) of the Tax Administration Act, Act 28 of 2011

SARS GOVERNANCE IN RESPECT OF OUR CASE SELECTION

The legislative provisions governing tax inquiries is contained in Chapter 5 of the Tax Administration Act, No. 28 of 2011 (“TAA”). A tax inquiry is a formal process with witnesses subpoenaed and evidence being led under oath or solemn declaration, but it remains an information gathering mechanism.

We think it would be helpful to share members of parliament what process we follow when a matter comes to our attention.

SARS has an independent case selection methodology to protect the governance of how matters are followed up to ensure that there is a verifiable trail that informs how cases are selected.

When a matter comes to SARS’ attention, it is reviewed and evaluated to ensure the validity or merit of the case. Once we have applied our minds and possible grounds are established the case is then further investigated and should additional information be required, there are a number of instruments at SARS disposal that can be utilised to collect relevant information such as:

  • a request for relevant material;
  • production of relevant material in person during an interview at a SARS office;
  • inspection,
  • audit or criminal investigation;
  • tax inquiry before a presiding officer;
  • and search and seizure.

Based on the facts of the case the most appropriate investigative approach will be selected within the legal framework of legislation administered by the Commissioner for SARS.

The legislative provisions governing tax inquiries is contained in Chapter 5 of the Tax Administration Act, No. 28 of 2011 (“TAA”). A tax inquiry is a formal process with witnesses subpoenaed and evidence being led under oath or solemn declaration, but it remains an information gathering mechanism.

Before an inquiry into the tax affairs of a person may be held, SARS must apply through an ex parte application to a judge of the High Court for an order designating a person to act as a presiding officer, the order, will also be specific to the ambit of the inquiry. According to section 56 of the TAA, the tax inquiry is private and confidential. The secrecy provisions of the TAA apply to all the persons present at questioning, including the persons being questioned.

Information disclosed during an inquiry constitutes taxpayer information and is subject to the confidentiality provisions of the TAA, which regulate the disclosure of taxpayer information. The information obtained during the inquiry will be used by SARS to conduct investigations into the taxpayer’s affairs, to establish, whether the taxpayers complied with their obligation in terms of the relevant tax acts administered by the Commissioner for SARS.

Due to the confidentiality provisions contained in the TAA, SARS, is accordingly not in a position to provide any specific information pertaining to the ambit of the inquiry outside of the specified provisions.

30 September 2019 - NW799

Profile picture: Ntlangwini, Ms EN

Ntlangwini, Ms EN to ask the Minister of Finance

What is the (a) total amount of each unclaimed (i) pension, (ii) funeral and (iii) investment benefit that is held by each (aa) private institution that is responsible for managing the assets and (b)(i) name of each specified institution and (ii) total amount owed in each case?

Reply:

a) The total number of unclaimed (i) Pension and (ii) Funeral benefit

Details

Rand Amount

Cases

Funeral Benefit

R1 197 422.62

138

Total unclaimed Benefit (July 2019)

R664 186 398.71

17 558

(iii) The GPAA do not deal with investment of funds.

17 September 2019 - NW653

Profile picture: van der Merwe, Ms LL

van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)What is the annual contribution by foreign-owned businesses operating within the borders of the Republic to the gross domestic product, in particular businesses owned by (a) Chinese, (b) Pakistani, (c) Somali, (d) Bangladeshi, (e) Nigerian nationals and (f) all others; (2) (a) what number of the specified businesses are registered for value-added tax and pay tax and (b) has he found that this constitutes 100 per cent of all businesses owned by foreign nationals trading within the Republic; (3) whether he has been informed of reports that the Republic allegedly loses R7 billion annually in revenue due to foreign-owned tuck shops that have replaced local spaza shops; if so, (a) can he verify such reports and (b) what are the relevant details in this regard?

Reply:

South Africa has enjoyed substantial Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and seeks to grow FDI in order to improve economic growth. FDI ranges from small investments to billion Rand investments by multinational enterprises.

“Business ownership” structures and compositions are varying in nature. Businesses can be incorporated and established in the Republic for example as either a sole proprietorship, partnership; proprietary limited company and, public company.

The shareholder ownership composition as well can vary between 100% locally owned, 100% foreign-owned, a combination of both local and foreign ownership (i.e. Foreign-owned can include 100%, 50.1%, 25% or something in between). Furthermore, stock exchange listed companies can be owned by persons from over 240 countries worldwide.

Foreign-owned businesses can include companies, sole proprietorships, partnerships and so forth that have indicated to be non-South African in their records with SARS.

The top three countries that contribute to foreign-owned businesses in the Republic are the United Kingdom, United States and Germany.

1. Per the SARS records, the annual contribution by foreign-owned businesses that include but are not limited to companies, sole proprietorships and, partnerships that are trading in the Republic is approximately R2.4 trillion gross income declared per tax returns submitted for the tax year 2017.

(a)(b)(c)(d)(e)(f)

The SARS does not maintain a distinction of foreign-owned businesses based on country of nationality in our records. Our records only reflect the classification of foreign-owned businesses where the taxpayer completed the required indicator or specified the country of nationality.

2. (a) Of the 14 269 foreign-owned businesses on our records, 1 266 are registered and contribute to value-added tax (VAT).

(b) The VAT return filing rate is 52.09% with a correlating VAT payment compliance rate of 88.15% as per the SARS annual report for 2018/19. SARS is on an ongoing journey to improve compliance and close the tax gap through compliance interventions in both the formal and informal sectors.

3. The report in question Shifting Market Frontiers: Africa Rising indicates that South Africa has an estimated annual revenues of R7 billion from “spaza shops” that are operated in the Republic that can be owned by both South Africans and Foreign nationals.

There has been no record or evidence found that “the Republic allegedly loses R7 billion…”, it has been noted per aforementioned report that the “estimated annual revenues of R7bn, spaza shops are a significant retail channel in South Africa, especially in townships and informal settlements. This stems from the fact that their business structure is established to cater to the buying patterns, rising purchasing power and product preferences of consumers living there”. As such, spaza shops play a vital role in serving local communities as part of the informal economy.

This segment does contribute to indirect taxes (Value-add Tax) through their purchasing from suppliers and direct taxes (Income Tax) on their income earned. SARS endeavors to expand efforts through our outreach programme by way of clarification, awareness and education to improve compliance efforts with traders alike.

17 September 2019 - NW473

Profile picture: Hill-Lewis, Mr GG

Hill-Lewis, Mr GG to ask the Minister of Finance

What number of (a) National Treasury officials have been investigated for the abuse of market-sensitive information (i) in each of the past three calendar years and (ii) since 1 January 2019 and (b) the specified investigations have led to (i) dismissals and (ii) the institution of criminal charges?

Reply:

a) (i) 2016 - Nil

2017 - Nil

2018 - Nil

(ii) Since 1 January 2019 - Nil

(b) (i) Dismissals - Nil

(ii) Criminal charges - Nil

17 September 2019 - NW575

Ceza, Mr K to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)What number of (a) security, (b) cleaning and (c) general worker personnel who work in buildings, facilities and all other infrastructure are employed through tenders obtained by their companies or third party service providers at the (i) Development Bank of Southern Africa and (ii) SA Revenue Service; (2) what total amount does the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the SA Revenue Service spend from their current budget on security, cleaning and general worker personnel who work in their buildings, facilities and all other infrastructure?

Reply:

DBSA

Number of workers: (None of these workers sourced through tenders since insourcing dates)

Personnel

Number

Comments

Cleaning

19

DBSA insourced the cleaning workers June 2015

Security

15

DBSA insourced the security workers July 2016

General workers

22

Consist of all Facilities’ workers excluding Manager, Supervisors, Cleaning and Security staff – general workers always permanent employees of DBSA

Total amount spend FY 2018/19: (Total Cost to Bank)

Personnel

Rand

Cleaning

3,425,033

Security

6,402,059

General workers

5,158,569

SARS

1. SARS has contracted, through service providers,

a) eight hundred and thirty one (831) security officers on a contractual basis and one hundred and seventy (170) on an ad-hoc basis for annual SARS peak periods that include the tax filing season and the festive season increase experienced at Ports of Entries;

b) seven hundred and sixty nine (769) cleaning personnel deployed by the appointed service providers for the SARS offices nationally;

c) no general workers are contracted by SARS.

2. Estimated spend on security service providers who are contracted to safeguard all SARS buildings, facilities and infrastructure is approximately R150 million per annum. SARS spends on average R69.6 million per annum on cleaning services nationally. SARS has not contracted any general workers through service providers; therefore no spending has been done in this regard.

17 September 2019 - NW671

Profile picture: Hill-Lewis, Mr GG

Hill-Lewis, Mr GG to ask the Minister of Finance

What is the (a) average time taken to process payouts from the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and (b) cause of the delay in pension payout from the GEPF to Ms Robin-Lee Fortune?

Reply:

a) The average time it takes to process claims are 33-days.

b) Ms Robin-Lee Fortune should enquire herself directly from the GEPF why there was a delay in the payment of the benefit.

17 September 2019 - NW651

Profile picture: Wessels, Mr W

Wessels, Mr W to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)What (a) is the total number of technical advisors who are currently deployed by the National Treasury under Programme 8 and (b) is the name of each (i) municipality and (ii) provincial department to which each technical advisor is currently deployed; (2) whether he has found that there is any improvement as a result of Programme 8 with respect to the financial management of the specified municipalities and provincial departments; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) whether the progress related to the specific tasks of each advisor is monitored; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) what is the (a) specific task of each technical advisor and (b) cost to the National Treasury with respect to each technical advisor; (5) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

(1) What (a) is the total number of technical advisors who are currently deployed by the National Treasury under Programme 8 and (b) is the name of each (i) municipality and (ii) provincial department to which each technical advisor is currently deployed?

(a) There were 82 MFIP technical advisors deployed under the Municipal Finance Improvement Programme (MFIP) as at 30 August 2019.

(b) Attached kindly find annexure ‘A’ which details the deployment of the 83 technical advisors per municipality, National Treasury (NT) and provincial treasuries (PTs).

(2) whether he has found that there is any improvement as a result of Programme 8 with respect to the financial management of the specified municipalities and provincial departments; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details;

The MFIP III context

The current phase three of the MFIP, which commenced on 1 April 2017 and ends 31 March 2020, is a strategically-driven programme of technical assistance aligned to the six Local Government Financial Management (LGFM) game changers, viz. funded budgets, revenue management, mSCOA implementation, asset management, supply chain management and audit outcomes. The overall strategic goals of the MFIP are to facilitate improved local government financial management capacity, enhanced budget and financial management practices and improved audit outcomes through the provision of direct technical capacity support.

Accordingly, the MFIP III is designed to build the institutional and technical financial management capacity of the National Treasury (NT), provincial treasuries (PTs) and Municipalities. This is mainly achieved through the placement of technical advisors (TAs) within the MFMA support units of national and provincial treasuries, and the Budget and Treasury Offices (BTOs) of municipalities.

Almost 50% of the TAs were sourced by November 2017 with the remaining TAs sourced between January 2018 and August 2019. It should thus be noted that the actual date of deployment is directly associated with the extent of improvements shown.

Has there been any improvement as a result of MFIP with respect to the financial management of the specified municipalities and provincial departments? If yes, provide some details:

Yes, there has been improvement, in some of the following financial management areas:

2.1 Supply Chain Management

a) Capacitation of Councillors specifically in dealing with Unauthorised Irregular Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure (UIF&W) which has resulted in some municipalities that did not have functional MPACs establishing such committees.

b) Establishment of Disciplinary Boards in most of the municipalities now monitoring implementation of the implementation of this reform.

c) Evaluation for alignment of SCM Policy to the legislation and reforms resulting in municipalities increasingly complying with applicable regulations. There has been a marked decline in the utilisation of SCM regulation 32 which was a major source of irregular expenditure for municipalities.

2.2 Audit outcomes

a) Most municipalities with Municipal Advisors improved or retained their previous audit opinions in the 2017/18 financial year, as outlined below:

  • 3 out 15 or 20% of municipalities improved on their audit outcomes;
  • 4 out 15 or 26% of municipalities retained their unqualified audit opinion;  
  • 3 out of 15 or 20% of municipalities retained their qualified audit opinion;  
  • 4 out 15 or 26% of municipalities retained their disclaimed audit opinion; and  
  • 1 out of 15 or 8% of municipalities regressed from qualified to disclaimer audit opinion

2.3 Asset management

  1. Reviewed and updated the asset management policies and standard operating procedures for 59 municipalities.
  2. Drafted and circulated various methodologies and guidelines to assist municipalities on how they can correctly apply the GRAP standards on Property, Plant and Equipment, Investment Property, Intangible assets, Heritage assets and Inventory
  3. Training and capacity building for municipal officials for 65 municipalities on asset management practices such as
    • GRAP compliance when valuing and accounting for the municipality’s assets
    • Implementation of municipal asset management policy and procedures
    • Internal control systems of assets and liabilities, including an asset and liability register, as prescribed 

2.4 The following are some of the key institutional and technical factors that contribute to areas that do not show the requisite improvements?

  1. Some provincial treasuries and municipalities are severely incapacitated by the absence of staff (warm bodies) in the MFMA units and BTOs respectively impacting adversely on the programme’s impact.
  2. Some MPACs and Councils not taking decisive action (consequence management) to deal with officials responsible for causing UIF&W expenditure resulting in recurrence of such incidents.
  3. Municipalities adopting unfunded budgets, which generally leads to cash flow challenges during the financial year.
  4. Poor revenue management, cash flow management and expenditure management practices resulting in liquidity and business continuity risks.
  5. Severe cashflow challenges is experienced by a number of municipalities resulting in high level of fruitless and wasteful expenditure (interest payable on overdue accounts) emanating from the late or non-payment of ESKOM, water board and other creditor accounts.
  6. Over reliance on external service providers to perform functions like the preparation of annual financial statements and the compilation of fixed asset registers.
  7. Poor asset management, ageing infrastructure and low levels of maintenance resulting in high distribution losses and service delivery breakdowns or interruptions.
  8. Municipalities not budgeting, transacting or reporting in/from their core financial system (FS) impacting the quality and reliability of financial information.
  9. Poor or non-implementation by municipalities of audit action plans to effectively address the root causes of audit findings.

(3) Whether the progress related to the specific tasks of each advisor is monitored; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details;

Yes, the progress related to the specific tasks of each advisor is monitored by the MFIP Programme Management Unit (PMU) as part of the overall performance management protocols of the programme. The following are the key steps involved:

    1. Each advisor prepares a support plan or workplan, in line with the original scope of work, within one to three months after appointment and placement for approval by the relevant entity and the PMU;
    2. Each advisor captures his/her effort/time daily on the Capture Effort Application against the approved support- or workplan. This is then reviewed and approved by the relevant NT Director/ Chief Director/ Senior Advisor/ Director at the PMU.
    3. Monthly reports for each advisor are submitted to the PMU signed off by the Municipal Manager / NT Chief Director and/ or PT MFMA Coordinator.
    4. Formal performance reviews of all technical advisors are conducted bi-annually by the PMU in consultation with the relevant NT, PT or municipal counterparts.

(4) What is the (a) specific task of each technical advisor and (b) cost to the National Treasury with respect to each technical advisor;

a) Each technical advisor signs a support plan or workplan that details the specific key focus areas, functional areas, tasks/activities and timelines that they will be performing, in accordance with the original scope of work published in the procurement terms of reference. The support- or workplan is also signed by the counterpart at the relevant entity and approved by the MFIP PMU.

(b) The cost of each technical advisor is capped as follows:

  • Senior Advisors are currently paid on average R861.12 per hour and are contracted for a maximum of 1 840 hours per annum, amounting to an average annual cost of R1 584 460.80 exclusive of VAT per senior advisor.
  • Advisors and Specialists are currently paid on average R807.30 per hour and are contracted for a maximum of 1 840 hour per annum, amounting to an average annual cost of R1 485 432.00 exclusive of VAT per advisor or specialist.

(5) Whether he will make a statement on the matter?

The Minister is prepared to make a statement relating to the above responses.

08 August 2019 - NW388

Profile picture: Sarupen, Mr AN

Sarupen, Mr AN to ask the Minister of Finance

(1) Whether the National Treasury will provide any financial assistance to the Sedibeng District Municipality to compensate for a R25 million operational deficit in its 2019-20 budget; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether he has found that the specified district municipality’s financial recovery plan will be successful; if not, what is the position in this regard?

Reply:

1. The National Treasury does not provide financial assistance to municipalities. An operational deficit indicates that the municipality’s operating expenses exceeds the revenue. Failure to contain costs while not realising anticipated revenue collection levels results in operating deficits. The first approach is for the municipality to implement cost containment measures and reduce the operating expenses.

Given that Sedibeng is a delegated municipality, the Gauteng Provincial Treasury will continue to support the municipality to ensure that it adopts a funded budget going forward.

2. Currently the municipality does not have a financial recovery plan. However, reference should be made to chapter 13 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, (Act No. 56 of 2003) on the process to be followed for resolution of financial challenges.

08 August 2019 - NW389

Profile picture: Sarupen, Mr AN

Sarupen, Mr AN to ask the Minister of Finance

(1) Whether he has found that the West Rand District Municipality’s financial recovery plan will turn the municipality’s ailing finances around; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) what is the current status of the specified district municipality’s financial recovery plan?

Reply:

1. The financial recovery plan for the West Rand District Municipality was prepared by the Municipal Finance Recovery Service (MFRS) following a request from the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The MFRS has for purposes of the preparation of the financial recovery plan consulted with both the administrative and political leadership component of the municipality (Executive Mayor and Mayoral Committee; Accounting Officer and senior management); MEC’s for Finance and Local Government; Organised local government; Organised labour; and principal suppliers including creditors and the community.

The financial recovery plan is holistic focusing on financial management; organisational structure and institutional matters; human resource management; governance; and infrastructure and service delivery. Moreover, it addresses the municipality’s service delivery model, operations, structure, processes, policies, bylaws, budget, cash flow management, debt collection, expenditure and revenue-raising measures. These collectively will contribute to the turnaround if implemented accordingly. The turnaround of the West Rand District Municipality requires not only internal commitment from the Municipality but support from the Provincial Executive.

2. The financial recovery plan was submitted by the MFRS to the Gauteng MEC for Finance for further processing in terms of Section 143(2) of the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003.

08 August 2019 - NW79

Profile picture: Khawula, Ms MS

Khawula, Ms MS to ask the Minister of Finance

Has the National Treasury investigated the impact of the manipulation of the Rand by various commercial banks, in particular ABSA, as found by the Competition Commission; if not, why not; if so, what were the findings? NW1036E

Reply:

No, the National Treasury has not investigated such impact, as neither the National Treasury nor the South African Reserve Bank have any evidence that any bank has taken part in currency manipulation, as indicated in our previous replies to oral question 57 and 245 submitted on 29 March 2019, and will repeat the essence of those replies below.

We are not aware that the Competition Commission has made any finding on the manipulation of the rand, but is investigating a case of price fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the Rand, which it has referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution. The currency market is a deep and liquid market, and it is difficult to determine any material or long-lasting impact of any one transaction on the level or value of the currency.

It is important for members to differentiate between the impact of any transaction on consumers and the impact on the value of the rand – the investigation before the Competition Commission appears to be related more to the conduct of bank traders towards clients, rather than providing evidence of their affecting the actual value of the rand.

We should all await the outcome of the Competition Commission’s investigation before acting on them. I am also happy to invite the Honourable Member to provide any other evidence he may have on any currency manipulation to the Commission and/or National Treasury.

07 August 2019 - NW403

Profile picture: George, Dr DT

George, Dr DT to ask the Minister of Finance

Does the SA Revenue Service (SARS) have the capacity to conduct investigations into activity in the illicit economy; if so, (a) what is SARS’ capacity in this regard and (b) how is this funded?

Reply:

In terms of its mandate and legal provision, SARS established an interim capability to conduct investigations into the illicit economy. The capability executes integrated enforcement investigations and comprises of data analysis, risk identification, criminal and compliance investigation and audits and debt recovery.

(a) Its current staff complement is 60.

(b) The capability is funded through SARS financial allocation.

The mandate and scope of this capability is currently under review in order to better define and sharpen its focus.

As part of the review by the new Commissioner the following is being assessed:

  • SARS’ capability and capacity to monitor and assess the activities within the elicit economy as well as assess the true revenue impact/ risk that the illicit economy presents to the state.
  • SARS’ capability and capacity to conduct the investigative and audit work
  • The most effective organizational arrangement
  • Collaboration with the agencies of State.

07 August 2019 - NW82

Profile picture: Mente-Nqweniso, Ms NV

Mente-Nqweniso, Ms NV to ask the Minister of Finance

(a) What number of (i) buildings, (ii) properties and (iii) facilities does the National Treasury currently (aa) own and (bb) rent, (b) what is the value and purpose of each (i) owned and (ii) rented property and (c)(i) for how long has each property been rented, (ii) from whom is each property rented and (iii) what is the monthly rental fee for each property?

Reply:

(a) (i) (ii) (iii) (aa)

Own

Nil

(a) (i) (bb)

Rent

Three (3) buildings:

- 1108 John Vorster Drive (1 x floor only)

- 240 Madiba Street; and

- 40 Church Square.

(a) (ii) (iii) (bb)

Nil

(b) (i)

Value and purpose owned property

Not applicable

(b) (ii)

Value and purpose of rented property

1108 John Vorster Drive

(1 x floor only)

R65 033 050.00

Office accommodation and State Transversal Information and Communication Technology site

 

240 Madiba Street

R603 337 824.00

Office accommodation

 

40 Church Square

R19 030 631.00

Office accommodation

(c) (i)

Duration of rental:

1108 John Vorster Drive

(1 x floor only)

20 years

 

240 Madiba Street

16 years

 

40 Church Square

16 years

(c)(ii)

From whom is each property rented:

1108 John Vorster Drive

(1 x floor only)

Rented on behalf of National Treasury by the Department of Public Works, owned by SITA.

 

240 Madiba Street

Rented on behalf of National Treasury by the Department of Public Works, owned by Bothongo Group Management.

 

40 Church Square

State owned - Department of Public Works.

(c)(iii)

Monthly rental fee for each property:

1108 John Vorster Drive

(1 x floor only)

R1 127 659.02

 

240 Madiba Street

R4 221 538.45

 

40 Church Square

R673 134.08

 

06 August 2019 - NW174

Profile picture: Mileham, Mr K

Mileham, Mr K to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether the National Treasury approved and/or supported any investments made by the Government in energy resources such as coal, oil, gas or other mineral resources and/or beneficiation process for energy resources or the direct supply of energy outside the borders of the Republic (a) in the (i) 2017-18 and (ii) 2018-19 financial years and (b) since 1 April 2019; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

National Treasury did not support any investments in energy resources outside the borders of the Republic.

24 July 2019 - NW163

Profile picture: Lees, Mr RA

Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of Finance

(1) What are the relevant details of any funding paid by the National Treasury from the Government to the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019; (2) what are the relevant details of any envisaged payments by the Government to SABC from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020; (3) whether the National Treasury issued any letters of commitment in favour of SABC to assist SABC to raise loans from lenders from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) what are the details of any envisaged letters of commitment to be issued in favour of SABC for the purpose of obtaining loans from lenders from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020?

Reply:

1. R199 million has been allocated to the SABC for the 2019/2020 financial year. This is to specifically cater for public broadcasting obligations, community radio stations, Channel Africa and programme production. More detail can be found within the Estimates of National Expenditure.

2. In the 2019 Budget Speech, the Minister of Finance indicated the following:

On other state-owned enterprises, we are reviewing our framework for state-owned enterprise support. Government has revised the contingency reserve upwards to R13 billion for 2019/20 to respond to possible requests for financial support”

SABC is one of the entities that has applied for funding from the contingency reserve. The amount that the entity has applied for and the outcome of the funding request will only be determined after the normal budgetary and legislative processes have been finalised which is expected around August/September 2019.

3. In line with the 2019 Budget Speech, National Treasury has indicated to the SABC that government remains committed to supporting the entity and its funding requirements through the contingency reserve process which is currently underway.

4. None.

24 July 2019 - NW162

Profile picture: Lees, Mr RA

Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of Finance

(1) What are the relevant details of any funding paid by the National Treasury from the Government to Eskom from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019; (2) what are the relevant details of any envisaged payments by the Government to Eskom from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020; (3) whether the National Treasury issued any letters of commitment in favour of Eskom to assist Eskom to raise loans from lenders from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) what are the details of any envisaged letters of commitment to be issued in favour of Eskom for the purpose of obtaining loans from lenders from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020?

Reply:

1. By 30 April 2019, National Treasury transferred a total of R13.5 billion to Eskom of the R17.652 billion that was approved by the Minister of Finance through invoking Section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

2. Government acknowledges that the R23 billion for 2019/2020 will not be sufficient and is thus tabling a Special Appropriation Bill to Parliament for urgent consideration and approval.

3. Given the strategic role that Eskom plays in pursuit of governments objectives, the Minister of Finance announced that government has committed to set aside R23 billion per year over the next 3 years to financially support Eskom. Moreover, beyond MTEF the current fiscal planning includes R23 billion per year to support Eskom over the next 10 years, with the total accumulated support amounting to R230 billion or R150 billion in net present value terms.

4. None.

24 July 2019 - NW161

Profile picture: Lees, Mr RA

Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of Finance

(1) What are the relevant details of any funding paid by the National Treasury from the Government to the SA Airways (SAA) from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019; (2) what are the relevant details of any envisaged payments by the Government to SAA from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020; (3) whether the National Treasury issued any letters of commitment in favour of SAA to assist SAA to raise loans from lenders from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) what are the details of any envisaged letters of commitment to be issued in favour of SAA for the purpose of obtaining loans from lenders from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020?

Reply:

1. SAA was recapitalized with R5 billion during February 2019 to assist the airline to repay maturing government guaranteed debt. This was in accordance with the SAA Special Appropriation Bill which was tabled at the time of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in October 2018. The R5 billion formed part of the R21.7 billion funding request by SAA.

2. In the 2019 Budget Speech, the Minister of Finance indicated the following:

On other state-owned enterprises, we are reviewing our framework for state-owned enterprise support. Government has revised the contingency reserve upwards to R13 billion for 2019/20 to respond to possible requests for financial support”.

SAA is one of the entities that has applied for funding from the Contingency Reserve. The amount the airline applied for and the outcome of the funding request will only be determined after the normal budgetary and legislative processes have been finalised which is expected around August/September 2019.

3. In line with the 2019 Budget Speech, National Treasury has indicated that government remains committed to supporting the airline and its funding requirements through the

contingency reserve process which is currently underway.

4. None

18 April 2019 - NW342

Profile picture: Mkhaliphi, Ms HO

Mkhaliphi, Ms HO to ask the Minister of Finance

(a) Who paid for the Nugent Commission of Inquiry Into Tax Administration and Governance by SA Revenue Service (the Commission) and (b) are the details of the amount that was paid in Rand, including remuneration of individuals and employees and cost of consumables; (2) (a)(i) what total amount and at what rate per day was Justice Robert Nugent paid for the work of the Commission and (ii) for what number of days in total and (b) on what date was his last day of remunerated work; (3) has the commission completed its work; if not, on what legal provision is the commission relying for continuing to be active at SARS after completion of its work and the submission of its final report if so, when was the last official day?

Reply:

1. (a) The Nugent Commission was funded by the fiscus, which is the same as other Commissions.

   (b) A total amount of R7 985 726 was spent on the Commission.

2. (a) Judge Nugent was paid in accordance with the President’s determination on remuneration of the Chairperson of the Commission. He received a total amount R816 459 for the period 1 June to 31 December 2018.

  (b) The last day of the Commission was 31 December 2018.

3. The work of the Commission has been finalised and the report was submitted to the Office of the President.

29 March 2019 - NW245

Profile picture: Mkhaliphi, Ms HO

Mkhaliphi, Ms HO to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)Whether he has found that currency manipulation plays a role in illicit financial flows; if so, (2) whether he has found that banks who take part in currency manipulation should have their licences revoked; if not, why not?

Reply:

1. No I have not, since the National Treasury does not have any evidence on whether there is any form of currency manipulation and hence not able to assess the impact of any alleged manipulation on illicit financial flows. The National Treasury has also checked that the South African Reserve Bank likewise does not have such evidence, and would like to invite the Honourable Member to provide any such evidence if she has any.

2. As stated above, neither the National Treasury nor the South African Reserve Bank have any evidence that any bank has taken part in currency manipulation. We are aware that the Competition Commission is investigating a case of price fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the Rand, which it has referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution. The currency market is a deep and liquid market, and it is difficult to determine any material or long-lasting impact of any one transaction on the level or value of the currency.

It is also important to differentiate between the impact of any transaction on consumers and the impact on the value of the rand – current cases before the Competition Commission appear to be related more to the conduct of bank traders towards clients, rather than providing evidence of affecting the actual value of the rand, but let us await the outcome of that investigation before making any conclusions.

29 March 2019 - NW666

Profile picture: Carter, Ms D

Carter, Ms D to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether the Government entered into any agreement to assist the government of the Kingdom of eSwatini financially; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details of the financial assistance?

Reply:

1. The Government of South Africa has not entered into an agreement to provide the government of the Kingdom of eSwatini with financial support.

2. Moreover, should such a formal request be received, it would need to be considered within the context of the challenging macroeconomic climate as outlined in the 2019/20 Budget Review, which highlights the following challenges:

2.1 Subdued economic growth, forecast at 1.9 percent real GDP growth for 2019/20,

2.2 An increasing budget deficit (forecast to increase from 4,2 percent in 2018/19 to 4.5 percent in 2019/20); and

2.3 the resultant fiscal consolidation measures currently being undertaken by government (reduction of baselines by R50.3 billion) to ensure that public finances are returned to a sustainable path.

29 March 2019 - NW437

Profile picture: Shackleton, Mr MS

Shackleton, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Finance

What are the details of the policy certainty that the Government has strengthened as alluded to in the 2019 Budget Review?

Reply:

Progress has been made on key interventions to restore policy certainty as outlined in the 2019 Budget Review. These include:

1. Visa amendments and immigration reform: Gazetted amendments to the Immigration Act (2002) will waive the requirement of an unabridged birth certificate for children traveling from certain countries. Revised requirements for business visas clarify the documentation and accreditations required. An e-visa system will be launched with New Zealand as the pilot case. It will then be rolled out to other countries. The scarce skills list will be updated by March 2019.

2. Mining policy: Government issued a new Mining Charter. The Minister of Mineral Resources has signaled that controversial amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (2002) are no longer in keeping with the policy intent. Separate legislation for the regulation of oil and gas is being developed and consultations with various stakeholders are under way.

3. Administered price review: The Department of Energy has invited the public to comment on the basic fuel price review until 31 March 2019. Stakeholder consultations are under way to identify ways to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of ports and rail, making the country’s exports more competitive.

4. Procurement: The Public Procurement Bill is being finalised. It will consolidate various procurement laws into one national legislative framework. Provisions in the bill will encourage participation from black-, youth- and women-owned businesses in state procurement.

5. Telecommunications spectrum: The impasse on licensing has been resolved and licensing for high-demand spectrum will commence this year, with the process expected to be completed in 2020/21.

Prior to this, the 2018 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement reported progress on longstanding policy issues including:

1. Renewable energy: Eskom’s conclusion of 27 outstanding power-purchase agreements with independent power producers.

2. Energy planning: The reestablishment of a sustainable approach to energy planning by updating the Integrated Resource Plan for consideration by Parliament.

3. Land reform: Creating a panel to advise government on measures to effect fair and equitable land reform that will increase agricultural output and build self-sufficiency in food production.

Government is also acting decisively to mitigate the risks that Eskom poses to the economy and the public finances. The restructuring of the electricity sector and state support for Eskom’s balance sheet are central to a transparent and credible reform of the utility’s business model. This forms part of government’s broader agenda to restore good governance and financial stability at public institutions and state-owned companies.

Collectively, these efforts illustrate the progress made in providing policy certainty.

29 March 2019 - NW582

Profile picture: Maynier, Mr D

Maynier, Mr D to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)Whether the National Treasury is investigating the hacking of his twitter account; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (2) whether the investigation covers the period since his appointment as Minister of Finance on 9 October 2018; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

  1. No signs of hacking were found. The possibility that Minister’s twitter account may have been hacked was raised in an interview, during which the journalist asked if Minister’s twitter account had been hacked. The response was that we did not know at the time how Minister had ended up liking the tweet in question, and that we were looking into the matter.
  2. See response to question 1

29 March 2019 - NW409

Profile picture: Alberts, Mr ADW

Alberts, Mr ADW to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether he would consider issuing appropriate regulations in terms of section 168(1) of the Municipal Finance Management Act, Act 56 of 2003, to ensure that payments by consumers for electricity from Eskom are placed in a separate ring-fenced account, in order to ensure that local authorities do not use it for other unauthorised expenditure?

Reply:

In terms of section 160(1) of the Constitution, a municipal council, makes decisions concerning the exercise of all the powers and the performance of all the functions of the municipality. The Municipal Finance Management Act 56 0f 2003 (MFMA) was issued to provide municipal councils with the financial management legal framework to enable decision making, which includes amongst others, the management of the municipality’s bank account. The MFMA is applicable to both municipalities and municipal entities. The MFMA enables municipalities to open more than one bank account provided that initial allocations to the municipalities flows through the municipality’s primary bank account. The legislation is however silent on the issue of “ring fencing”, however, nothing stops the municipal council from adopting a written policy which enables the ring fencing of funds for purpose of defraying liabilities due towards Eskom.

An Inter-Ministerial Task Team, made up of officials from the National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance, has been established to look at strategies to address the failure by municipalities to pay, amongst others, Eskom and Water Boards.

Over and above the Inter-Ministerial Task Team, both the national and provincial treasuries are assisting financially struggling municipalities to prepare financial recovery plans for implementation. This will assist towards ensuring that the municipalities are financial sustainable. It is also important that issue of regulations are also looked at in the context of the Constitution referred to above, namely, that the executive authority at local government is vested within the municipal councils. The National Treasury can therefore regulate to provide a framework for decision making, but the ultimate and final decision vest with the municipal council.

29 March 2019 - NW565

Profile picture: Shackleton, Mr MS

Shackleton, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Finance

Why (a) was the Large Business Unit of the SA Revenue Service disbanded and (b) is the Unit being re-established?

Reply:

a) The Large Business Centre was decentralized as part of the new operating model that was adopted by SARS in 2016. SARS was of the view that decentralization will allow large businesses to have easy access to SARS offices throughout the country and by this enhance the service offering to the sector.

b) SARS took an executive decision to re-establish the Large Business segment after conducting diagnostic studies that showed the synergies and gains achieved when the Large Business Centre was centralised. The LBC will formally commence operations on 1 April 2019.

 

29 March 2019 - NW564

Profile picture: Shackleton, Mr MS

Shackleton, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Finance

What (a) amount has been designated for the purposes of (i) creating jobs and (ii) addressing unemployment in the Government’s national budget for the 2019-20 financial year and (b) are the details of each programme and/or department or entity that will benefit from these designations?

Reply:

What (a) amount has been designated for the purposes of (i) creating jobs and (ii) addressing unemployment in the Government’s national budget for the 2019-20 financial year

Public employment programmes are key components of the government’s drive to alleviate poverty, inequality and unemployment in South Africa. These programmes have a large multiplier effect on vulnerable communities by combining the social, environmental and economic objectives of employment generation, income support, and asset creation. Government has allocated a total of R15.4 billion in the national budget for the 2019/20 financial year towards addressing unemployment. This is mainly comprised of two public employment programmes, namely, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) (R14.6 billion) and the Jobs Fund now called the Employment Creation Facility Fund (R800 million).

The table below displays the breakdown of funds designated for the purposes of creating jobs in the 2019/20 financial year.

National departments (R'000)

13 807 428

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

4 038 608

Environmental Affairs

4 084 367

Labour

2 289 950

National Treasury

800 073

Public Works

1 812 036

Rural Development and Land Reform

411 153

Tourism

371 241

Provincial Departments (R'000)

1 586 094

Infrastructure Development

314 634

Public Works and Transport

1 271 460

GRAND TOTAL

15 393 522

Additionally, government launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative in March 2018. This is a business-led initiative supported by government. It offers a quality one-year work experience to participating youth, coupled with training (both technical and behavioural) as well as boosting the access to networks relevant for finding the next job. It is complementary with government incentives such as the Employment Tax Incentive as well as custom Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment recognition work to further bolster the programme’s impact. The YES directly contributes to employment creation but does not have a direct allocation from the government.

 

(b) What are the details of each programme and/or department or entity that will benefit from these designations?

Within the EPWP, there are two main modalities through which public employment is funded. The first is through direct budgetary allocations, where public employment is an explicit part of the purpose. The second modality is where focus on employment is not the primary or stated aim of a given programme, but where there is scope for labour-intensive work as part of the programme design. Part of the rationale for the incentive grants is to encourage public bodies to look at their programmes through this prism.

The incentive grants of the EPWP were initiated to expand job creation in specific focus areas, where labour-incentive delivery methods can be maximised. The grants are made up of the following components:

In provinces:

  • Infrastructure sector
  • Environment and culture sector

In municipalities:

  • Social sector
  • Environment and culture
  • Infrastructure

At national level:

  • Environment and culture

While each of the grants vary slightly in terms of design, they share the following purposes:

  • To strengthen job creation outcomes in specific focus areas
  • To maximise the use of labour intensive methods
  • To incentivise increased job creation efforts within public bodies by linking budget allocations from the grant to performance.
  • To use the grant to incentivise increased use if core budgets and other conditional grants for the purposes of job creation.

The EPWP is carried out by the following government departments: Labour, Public Works, National Treasury, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tourism, Environmental Affairs, Cooperative Governance and Rural Development and Land Reform. The Department of Public Works leads and coordinates the expanded public works programme, as articulated in government’s medium term strategic framework and the national development plan whilst the Jobs Fund is run directly by the National Treasury.

Complementing government’s broader job creation programmes, the Jobs Fund is a specific grant financing instrument that uses public funds to catalyse innovation and investment in activities that contribute to job creation initiatives and longer term employment growth. In March 2018 the Jobs Fund issued its eighth call for proposals which it hopes to complete by the first quarter of the 2019/20 financial year.

 

29 March 2019 - NW301

Profile picture: Mulder, Dr CP

Mulder, Dr CP to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)Whether, in light of the envisaged and widely publicised principle of land and property expropriation without compensation, he has found that there are any economic indications that the specified principle has to date had any negative economic effect on the country’s economy; if not, what are the full relevant particulars as to why no data show any negative impact; if so, (2) with reference to the sectors of the economy that have experienced a negative effect, (a) what steps the Government will take to manage such effect and (b) whether the Government is ready to handle class action claims on a wide front if the value of the assets has decreased because of the specified principle; (3) whether there are any indications that the principle is to any extent going to have a negative effect on future tax income; if not, why no data have envisaged any negative effect; if so, (a) why, (b) what steps the Government is going to take to repair the negative effect and (c) what are the further full relevant particulars?

Reply:

Question 1

1. There are no economic indicators that measure the direct impact of the “land expropriation without compensation” debate on South Africa’s economic performance or its specific impact on the agricultural sector. However, there are indicators that collectively provide insight into the overall performance of the agricultural sector. These include: (i) gross capital formation in agriculture; (ii) profitability (net farm income); (iii) real value added in agriculture, forestry and fishing; (iv) farm mortgages; and the (v) agribusiness confidence index. None of these indicators are able to isolate the direct impact of the “land expropriation without compensation” debate.

1. Real gross fixed capital formation – a proxy for investment – peaked in 2013 and has been on a downward trend since.

2. Net farm income – a measure of farm profitability – has been growing since 2010. The data for 2017 and 2018 are not yet available.

3. Real value added in agriculture, forestry and fishing declined by 4.8 per cent in the first half of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017. Maize production eased following record output in 2017 and the drought continued to weigh down production in the Western Cape. The short-term outlook for the sector has improved due to higher rainfall in the Western Cape. The combined export value of crops such as citrus, grapes and macadamia nuts increased by an annual average of 7.5 per cent over the period 2015 to 2017.

4. New mortgage loans and re-advances granted on farms peaked in 2006 and has remained relatively flat since 2011. At the end of 2017 new mortgages on farms were at similar levels to those observed in 2013.

5. The Agbiz / IDC Agribusiness Confidence index fell to 42 index points in the fourth quarter of 2018 – its lowest level in 9 years. This was largely due to significant declines in the net operating income, general agricultural conditions and turnover sub-indices – suggesting that business conditions are driving changes in sentiment. The capital investment confidence sub-index increased, supported by increases in capital sales (specifically tractor sales which were 9 per cent higher in the first 10 months of 2018 in relation to the same period last year).

It is difficult to isolate the impact of the “land expropriation without compensation” debate on the agricultural sector or the broader economy on the basis of these indicators. Furthermore, the information revealed by these indicators about the agriculture sector is mixed and there are a number of other factors that influence sentiment in agriculture, including the cost of doing business, weather expectations and market conditions.

The government has allocated resources to conduct a general agricultural census (currently underway), to collect information that will provide further data on the dynamics in the sector to better inform policy making and support a viable, inclusive and productive agricultural sector.

2. As indicated, it is not possible to empirically isolate the impact of the debate on “land expropriation without compensation” and therefore not possible, at this stage, to presume any negative impacts on the economy.

3. In light of the above, at this stage it is not possible to assess the potential impact on tax revenues.

29 March 2019 - NW611

Profile picture: Atkinson, Mr P

Atkinson, Mr P to ask the Minister of Finance

(1) Whether (a) the National Treasury and/or (b) any entity reporting to him contracted the services of a certain company (name and details furnished) in each of the past 10 financial years; if so, what (i) number of contracts were signed, (ii) was the date on which each contract was signed, (iii) was the duration of each contract, (iv) services did the company render and (v) was the monetary value of each contract in each case; (2) whether any irregular expenditure relating to the contracts was recorded and/or condoned in each case; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

NATIONAL TREASURY

  1. (a) No

(i)

Number of contracts signed

(ii)

Date on which each contract was signed

(iii)

Duration of each contract

(iv)

What services did the company render?

(v)

Monetary value of each contract in each case

Nil

One purchase order issued

Order issued on 1 June 2015

3 days

Security Services at the Cape Town International Airport for the World Economic Forum

R30 369.60

 

2. No

ASB

The Accounting Standards Board did not contract the services of BOSASA now known as GLOBAL OPERATIONS in any of the past 10 financial years to date.

CBDA

The Co-operative Banks Development Agency has never contracted the services of Bosasa now known as Global Operations.

DBSA

  1. None
  2. None

FAIS OMBUD

Inspection of the FAIS Ombud database has revealed that NO contracts were entered into with the above mentioned supplier for the financial periods ending 1 March 2007 to date.

FIC

(1) The Financial Intelligence Centre did not contract BOSASA or Global Operations for any services in any of the past 10 financial years.

(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(v) Not applicable.

(2) Not applicable.

FSCA

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (and the former Financial Services Board) has not contracted with the mentioned companies during the past 10 years.

GEPF

The GEPF has not contracted the services of BOSASA now known as Global Operations in the past 10 financial years.

GPAA

The GPAA has not done any business with BOSASA (GLOBAL OPERATIONS) for the said period.

IRBA

The IRBA hereby declares that no contracts were awarded to the abovementioned company in the past 10 Financial years.

LAND BANK

Land Bank has never contracted the services of Bosasa or Global Operations.

PFA

(1)(b) The Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator has not contracted the services of Bosasa (now known as Global Operations) in the past 10 years.

(2) Not applicable.

PIC

The PIC during the last ten financial years did not contract the services of the company mentioned.

SARS

Question 1

SARS has never contracted with, BOSASA now known as GLOBAL OPERATIONS, for any security related services.

Question 2

N/A

SASRIA

For purposes of the question(s) raised above, Sasria SOC Ltd (“Sasria”) has not contracted the services of Bosasa now known as Global Operations (“Bosasa”), in each of the past ten financial years.

Whilst we have taken care, and exercised the necessary diligence in preparing the requested information, it is necessary that we highlight that, there is no information that seeks to indicate or suggest whether Bosasa was at any point directly or indirectly contracted to Sasria.

It is also common cause, that Sasria provides specialist short-term insurance products to its clients, which include but are not limited to insurance coverage from damage caused by non-political riots, public disorder, including labour disturbances, civil unrest, strikes, lockouts and terrorism, as well as loss in respect of mortgage loans. It would therefore follow, that Sasria would be in a position to have done business with Bosasa in this respect.

In the spirit of this, Sasria has therefore settled various insurance claims to Bosasa, and these are in the ordinary course of our business, and the said payments are neither services sought, nor contracts entered into, as the questions above specifically enquire on services entered into with Bosasa.

We hereby therefore, for purposes of transparency, disclose all the claims Bosasa has had with Sasria, and stress the fact that these are not services nor contracts entered into, but claims payments in the ordinary course of our business, as mandated.

Date (Payment)

Client

Service provided

Rand Value

(Excl. VAT)

Duration

Irregular Expenditure

20 March 2012

Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd

Insurance Claim

R 131 578.95

N/A

N/A

14 November 2012

Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd

Insurance Claim

R 68 774.30

N/A

N/A

18 December 2013

Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd

Insurance Claim

R 318 533.67

N/A

N/A

12 August 2015

Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd

Insurance Claim

R 2 010 495.23

N/A

N/A

TAX OMBUD

  1. The Office of the Tax Ombud did not contract any services of BOSASA now known as GLOBAL OPERATIONS in the past 10 financial years.
  2. No irregular expenditure was recorded or condoned that relates to BOSASA now known as GLOBAL OPERATIONS.

29 March 2019 - NW244

Profile picture: Mashabela, Ms N

Mashabela, Ms N to ask the Minister of Finance

What has been the impact of manipulation of the Rand on revenue collection?

Reply:

We have no evidence of the manipulation of the Rand, and invite the Honourable Member to provide any evidence he may have of such manipulation. The currency market is a deep and liquid market, and it is difficult to determine any material or long-lasting impact of any one transaction on the level or value of the currency. I am therefore not able to respond to the question on the impact on revenue collection.

It is important to differentiate between the impact of any transaction on consumers and the impact on the value of the rand – current cases before the Competition Commission appear to be related more to the conduct of bank traders towards clients, rather than providing evidence of affecting the actual value of the rand, but let us await the outcome of that investigation before making any conclusions.

 

29 March 2019 - NW627

Profile picture: Shivambu, Mr F

Shivambu, Mr F to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether, with reference to his reply to question 3915 on 9 January 2019, the implementation of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council resolution included employees in Programme One; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) what total number of employees in Programme One (i) qualified and (ii) did not qualify and (b) for what reason?

Reply:

Yes, the implementation of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council Resolution included employees in Programme 1.

(a) (i) 18 employees in Programme 1 qualified; and

(ii) 48 employees did not qualify.

(b) The DPSA Circular 4 of 2014, a Directive on the amendment to the implementation of the PSCBC Resolution 3 of 2009 and the grading of jobs/posts on salary levels 9/10 and 11/12, directed that the automatic upgrades should be implemented for employees who were appointed between 1 July 2010 and 31 July 2012, the 48 employees who did not qualify were appointed after the said date.

The National Treasury consulted with the Minister for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA) on the grading of the positions of 48 employees who were appointed on or after 1 August 2012, as per the DPSA Circular 4 of 2014. The affected positions were subsequently verified by the DPSA and retained on salary levels 9 and 11 respectively.

29 March 2019 - NW566

Profile picture: Shackleton, Mr MS

Shackleton, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Finance

On what grounds is the National Treasury’s projection based that the country’s gross domestic product will grow by 1.5 percent in the 2019-20 financial year?

Reply:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to increase from an estimated 0.7 per cent in 2018/19 to 1.5 per cent in 2019/20. Growth is expected to be supported by stronger household spending and private sector investment.

Household spending is projected to strengthen due to gradual improvements in disposable income and credit extended to households. Employment growth is expected to remain weak in the early half of the fiscal year, although real wage growth in the private sector is expected to recover.

Investment growth is expected to remain subdued compared with historical levels, but improving over the medium term. In 2019/20, investment growth is expected to be supported by a rising need to replace worn capital, an expected improvement in certain export commodity prices, and a gradual recovery in business confidence.

The main risks to the economic outlook for 2019/20 concerns Eskom and the potential impact that ineffective implementation of its reconfiguration could have on capital flows; the level of the exchange rate; and investor confidence. Other near-term domestic risks include the potential for disruptive load-shedding, prolonged industrial action and whether a hesitance to investment continues well beyond political events scheduled this year. Government has made progress on restoring policy certainty with many measures being implemented or prepared for implementation. Improved traction on the reform agenda could increase growth, if reforms are well-received by investors and businesses.

Global risks include an escalation of global trade frictions that lead to financial market volatility and undermine international trade and investment. If trade disputes are resolved, the resulting improvement in business and investor sentiment can support global growth. Slower growth in key export markets can further pressure demand for South Africa’s exports while global financial markets remain vulnerable to uncertainties surrounding Brexit and potential banking sector risks in Europe.

29 March 2019 - NW341

Profile picture: Mente-Nqweniso, Ms NV

Mente-Nqweniso, Ms NV to ask the Minister of Finance

In light of the fact that the Nugent Commission of Inquiry Into Tax Administration and Governance by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) completed its work and issued a final report on 14 December 2018, (a) on what legal basis is the Commission continuing to be active at Sars after completion it completed its work and (b) on what date was the official last day of the Commission?

Reply:

a) The Commission has operated at all times in terms of a Presidential Proclamation (no 17 of 2018, published in Government Gazette 41652 of 24 May 2018) which set out the terms of reference for the Commission supplemented by regulations set out in Proclamation no 18 of 2018 (published in Government Gazette 41713 on 15 June 2019), as amended. There is no end-date for the Commission, but the terms of reference required a final report by 14 December 2018. Having met this deadline and issued its final report, the Commission is no longer active at this stage in terms of further hearings or reports, but Judge Nugent is concluding logistical arrangements like the cataloging and archiving of the Commission’s work or attending (where required, with other members of the Panel or evidence team) to requests like that of appearing before the Standing Committee on Finance on 13 February 2019. This logistical process commenced after delivery of the final report, and takes place at the premises that SARS made available to the Commission for its work.

b) There is no last day of the Commission, even though it is not actively functioning in terms of hearings or fact-finding. The President is expected to respond shortly to the recommendations of the Commission, and to provide clarity on a formal end-date for the Commission.

29 March 2019 - NW619

Profile picture: Lekota, Mr M

Lekota, Mr M to ask the Minister of Finance

What is the estimated tax revenue lost over the past 10 financial years due to the illicit cigarette industry?

Reply:

SARS has conducted a research study (tax gap) to estimate the loss of revenue on illicit trade of cigarette using the top-down approach for the period 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 respectively. The estimated loss of tax revenue (tax gap) was estimated at R4.1 billion and R6 billion respectively. However, SARS has not commissioned a research study to quantify the size of the illicit cigarette for the period in question, 2008/2009 – 2017/2018 financial years and as such, SARS is unable to provide an official position to that effect.

SARS is currently undertaking a scientific and evidenced-based research study to identify the businesses operating in the illicit economy with a view to quantify the size of the illicit economy. The research methodologies include both qualitative and quantitative analysis through collaboration with business, field research including a survey for data collection for all tax types. The research study further serve to solicit input from the multidisciplinary stakeholder involved in the illicit economy enforcement to ensure a collective approach is attained. The study is expected to be completed during 2021.

SARS has put measure in place to combat the illicit trade and selling of illicit cigarettes through its Customs enforcement wing and in collaboration with other law enforcement wings from the public (JCPS cluster) and the private including TISA and FITA. SARS is aware of the various studies amongst others IPSOS and Euronomics which has estimated the size of the illicit cigarettes to average R8 billion per annum however, due to the absence of our own research, SARS is unable to quantify or confirm any narrative currently in the public domain.

SARS Enforcement performance, 10 years, 2008/2009 – 2017/2018 financial year

SARS enforcement was involved in 13, 428 seizures in the past 10 years, resulting in 1.7 billion sticks of cigarettes with a Rand value of R1 041 billion calculated at an average street value of R0.60 per cigarette sticks and R1.7 billion when using the industry acceptable average value of R1.00.

25 March 2019 - NW396

Profile picture: Mkhaliphi, Ms HO

Mkhaliphi, Ms HO to ask the Minister of Finance

(a)(i) what total amount and at what rate per day was Mr (details furnished) paid for the work of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance by the South African Revenue Service (the Commission) and (ii) for what number of days in total and (b) on what date was his last day of remunerated work; (2) (a)(i) what total amount and at what rate per day was Advocate (details furnished) paid for the work of the Commission and (ii) for what number of days in total and (b) on what date was his last day of remunerated work; (3) (a)(i) what total amount and at what rate per day was Mr (details furnished) paid for the work of the Commission and (ii) for what number of days in total and (b) on what date was his last day of remunerated work?

Reply:

1. (a) Mr (details provided) provided his services for free to the Nugent Commission of Inquiry and was therefore not paid for the work that he performed for the duration of the Commission.

(b) worked up to 30 November 2018 without remuneration.

2. (a) Advocate was paid a total amount of R1 869 300.00 at a rate of R18 000.00 per day for the work of the Commission and for 104 days.

(b) Advocate last day of remunerated work paid was 30 October 2018, and must still submit an invoice for work performed in November 2018.

3. (a) has not been remunerated to date, however he has submitted invoices in January 2019 for the amount of R842 292.00

(ii) has performed remunerated worked until 11 December 2018.

20 March 2019 - NW225

Profile picture: Maimane, Mr MA

Maimane, Mr MA to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether, since he served in Cabinet, he (a)(i) was ever influenced by any person and/or (ii) influenced any of the National Treasury’s employees to take any official administrative action on behalf of any (aa) member, (bb) employee and/or (cc) close associate of the Gupta family and/or (b) attended any meeting where any of the specified persons were present; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?

Reply:

No.

14 March 2019 - NW79

Profile picture: Maynier, Mr D

Maynier, Mr D to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether he has appointed a special advisor since his appointment on 9 October 2018; if not, why not; if so, what (a) is the name of each special advisor and (b) are the details of the major outputs of each special advisor to date; (2) whether the special advisor(s) is or are being remunerated; if not, in each case, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?

Reply:

  1. No
  2. Not applicable.

13 March 2019 - NW69

Profile picture: Lees, Mr RA

Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of Finance

(1) With reference to the reply to question 2762 on 9 January 2019, what are the relevant details of the reasons why the Public Investment Corporation Social and Ethics Committee considered the matter of a R7,81 million home loan by VBS Mutual Bank (VBS) to the former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob G Zuma; (2) whether the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) granted a loan of R7,81 million to the VBS specifically for VBS to lend these funds to Mr Jacob G Zuma; if so, (a) what are the relevant details of the conditions attached by the PIC to the loan and (b) which PIC client made these funds available; (3) whether VBS has met all conditions of the loan, including making all required interest and capital repayments; if not, what (a) are the relevant details of the VBS defaults and (b) action has been taken to recover the loan and interest from VBS; (4) has Mr Jacob G Zuma paid all required interest and capital payments on the loan?

Reply:

(1) The PIC’s Social and Ethics Committee (SEC) has never considered the home loan that VBS Mutual Bank (VBS) granted to former President Zuma. According to media reports, VBS advanced a loan to Mr Zuma in September 2016. The PIC had no knowledge of, nor was it party to, that transaction. In August 2017, the transaction referred to in the reply to Parliamentary Question 2762, was referred to the SEC due to the negative media coverage that followed after VBS granted the home loan to Mr Zuma. The SEC had to assess the reputational risk for the PIC when investing in VBS.

(2) The PIC did not grant any loan to VBS to be used to lend money to former President Zuma.

The rest of the questions fall away.

13 March 2019 - NW438

Profile picture: Shackleton, Mr MS

Shackleton, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether any plans have been put in place to increase the child support grant either in line with or above the poverty line; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Although the Treasury would like to increase the child support grant (CSG) closer to or ideally to or above the food poverty line, progress on this is being constrained by the macro-economic environment and other factors driving grant expenditure.

Increasing the value of the CSG to the food poverty line would significantly assist poor households and by definition reduce the proportion of the population defined as poor. The 2018 budget included above inflation increases to the Child Support Grant (CSG), to compensate for the VAT increase. The CSG increased from R380 in 2017/18 to an average of R405 (R400 from April to September 2018 and R410 from October 2018 to March 2019) in 2018/19. This was an annual increase of 6.6% against estimated CPI of 4.9%.

However, in the 2019 budget, because of fiscal pressures and increasing beneficiary numbers, social grant values will increase in line with long term inflation. The CSG increases from an average of R405 in 2018/19 to R425 in 2019/20 (4.9%). Despite this, the budget for social grants increases by 7.5 per cent to R175.2 billion (of which R65 billion is for CSG) in 2019/20 and exceeds R200 billion (of which R76 billion is for CSG) by 2021/22. Factored into the budget is also an increase in beneficiary coverage. In particular:

  • The demographic aging of the SA population by >3% per annum or 120,000 elderly persons per annum costs an additional R2.5 billion rising to R2.8 billion per annum over the MTEF.
  • The number of CSG beneficiaries continues to rise by around 190,000 per annum costing an additional R1 billion per annum.
  • The budget for social grants over the 2019 MTEF period also includes an allocation for a new policy proposal for a top-up CSG for double orphans, at a rate of 150% of the CSG (i.e. R615). Implementation is anticipated in 2020/21 with an initial budget of R344 million and growing to R1 billion in 2021/22.

Nevertheless, government would like in the long term to bring the CSG much closer to the food poverty line of R547 (StatsSA, 2018). Given the current 12.5 million beneficiaries, estimated to grow by about 190k per annum, raising CSG to the food poverty line will require additional allocations of R21 billion rising to R25 billion per annum. This is unfortunately not affordable at present.

13 March 2019 - NW296

Profile picture: Alberts, Mr ADW

Alberts, Mr ADW to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)What are the full relevant details of the way in which the trustees of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) have fulfilled their fiduciary obligations with regard to the transactions entered into by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on behalf of the GEPF with the (a) investments in Steinhoff and the eventual write-off of the investment, (b) the investments in Ayo Technology Solutions Ltd, (c) the fruitless investment in Sagarmatha Technologies, (d) the investments in and loans to Sekunjalo and Independent Media and the eventual write-off of the investment(s) and loan(s) and (e) the investments in VBS Mutual Bank; (2) in each case, what amount was (a) invested, (b) loaned and (c) finally written off; (3) (a) what communication took place in each case between the GEPF and the PIC, (b) whether the trustees of the GEPF were fully informed about the nature of the investments and write-offs and (c) what were the responses of the GEPF trustees in each case?

Reply:

(1) The GEPF has already provided a detailed response to a similar question in broad terms which applies to detailed investment monitoring, refer to the response provided to Question Number: 1220 [NW1316E] dated 2 May 2018.

The GEPF and PIC have entered into a formal arrangement stipulating the terms under which the PIC is authorised to manage the assets of the GEPF. The Trustees have implemented variouis the monitoring and compliance measures to enable them to effectively discharge their fiduciary duty of investment monitoring. The Board has constituted permanent committees and sub-committeees to give effect to its strategic functions, including investment monitoring. All the committees have formal terms of reference that clearly set out the mandate and duties of the each committee. These are briefly described below.

Board Committees:

1. The Investment Committee is a committee of the Board whose duty includes monitoring the Investment Managers’ investments, including the PIC. Part of the investment committee’s duty is to consider various factors including any changes in the Fund’s liabilities as reported by the Fund’s Valuator, and any changes in the expected return on the Fund’s assets, the likely volatility of the value of the Fund’s assets and any implications those changes may have on the funding level of the Fund, contribution requirements, or benefits of the Fund, including but not limited to:

    • Monitoring and reviewing the performance of Investment Manager(s) primarily the PIC, to assure compliance with policy, procedures, risk and return objectives as set out in their mandate(s);
  • Monitoring investment performance. The investment committee ensures that an independent review and evaluation of the performance of the investment portfolio is conducted at least quarterly.
  • Reviewing quarterly investment reports and reporting where appropriate to the Board on issues that are considered important or relevant for Board deliberation.

2. Valuations Sub-Committee: The Valuations sub-committee is a sub-committee of the Finance and Audit Committee and reports into the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board and the Investment Committee. The Valuations sub-committee has been established to advise the Fund on the relatively complex matter of the valuation of the unlisted investments of the Fund managed by the PIC.

Management Committees:

1. The GEPF/ PIC Investment Liaison Committee: The purpose of the Investment Liaison Committee is to bridge the gap between the PIC and GEPF’s Investment Committees with the implementation of the GEPF’s reporting requirements, resolution of queries and implementation of the investment strategy as set out in the investment mandate of the GEPF. The Investment Liaison Committee also facilitates smooth investment processes and ease the flow of information and communication between the GEPF, PIC, Government Pensions Administration Agency and any third party service providers of the GEPF on investment matters.There are monthly meetings that are augmented by more regular interaction as necessary.

2. The GEPF/ PIC Exco to Exco committee: The GEPF/PIC Exco-to-Exco was established to, subject to the direction of the Board of Directors, of both GEPF and PIC, exercise the powers and perform the duties conferred or imposed upon it by the Government Employees Pension Law. Part of the duties include oversight responsibilities in relation to the implementation of the GEPF Investment Management Agreement. There are monthly meetings that are augmented by more regular interaction as necessary.

3. ESG Working Committtee; The purpose of the ESG working committee is to address the environmental, social and governance matters within the PIC and GEPF Investment Committees in order to implement the Responsible Investment strategy as set out in the investment mandate and investment beliefs of the GEPF quartely.

(1) (a) The GEPF has not written-off its investment in Steinhoff and this is reflected at its current market value

(1) (b) The GEPF’s investment in Ayo Technologies is reflected at its current market value and has not been written-off.

(1) (c) The GEPF has not invested in Sagamartha.  

(1) (d) The Fund’s investment in Independent Media and VBS have been impaired and this is fully disclosed in the  GEPF’s 2017/18 Annual Report with their respective impairment amounts of R1058320000 and R374700000.

(2) Refer to the reply above.

(3) The PIC does not have to inform the GEPF of the investment that it makes provided that it’s within the mandate. Monitoring and reporting takes place as detailed above (answer to question 1).

13 March 2019 - NW439

Profile picture: Shackleton, Mr MS

Shackleton, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether the Government’s reprioritisation of R33,4 billion over the 2019-2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework for service delivery and infrastructure development will take into account areas that have never had running water, such as Wards 8, 13, 14, 49 and 95 in Hammanskraal in Gauteng; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Water supply infrastructure is funded through various grants, including the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant, the Water Services Infrastructure Grant and the Municipal Infrastructure Grant. In metropolitan municipalities like the City of Tshwane, where these wards are located, the Urban Settlements Development Grant is a supplementary grant for municipal infrastructure services. The grant allocations are based on household backlogs and poverty weighted data.

The choice of which projects are funded from the Urban Settlements Development Grant is determined by metropolitan municipalities. Projects must be identified in the municipality’s Integrated Development Plan and then included in their Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan.

13 March 2019 - NW280

Profile picture: Mente-Nqweniso, Ms NV

Mente-Nqweniso, Ms NV to ask the Minister of Finance

What number of (a) tender briefings were held in 2018 by (i) the National Treasury and (ii) each of the entities reporting to him and (b) the specified briefings were compulsory?

Reply:

NATIONAL TREASURY

(a) 10 Non-compulsory briefing sessions were held in 2018.

(b) Nil

ASB

The Accounting Standards Board held no tender briefings in 2018, as none of the goods and services procured meet the requirements for issuing tenders.

CBDA

In the 2018/19 financial year the Co-operative Banks Development Agency (CBDA) did not have any tender briefings.

The only tender briefing held by the CBDA was in the 2017/18 financial year, with tender number: NT 013-1-2017 and it was a non-compulsory briefing session.

FAIS OMBUD

The Office of the Ombud for Financial Services Providers (FAIS Ombud) would like to confirm that o tender briefings were held for the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018.

FIC

(a) The FIC held 3 tender briefing sessions.

(b) All three (3) briefing sessions were compulsory

FSCA

(a) Eleven (11) briefing sessions were held.

(b) Seven (7) thereof were compulsory.

GEPF

(a) The GEPF held the following compulsory tender briefing meeting from 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018:

  • Strategic Investment Advisory Service
  • Legal Services
  • External Auditors

(b) The tender briefings were compulsory

GPAA

The Government Pensions Administration Agency had eleven compulsory briefing sessions in 2018.

IRBA

  1. One tender briefing session was held in 2018;
  2. The session was compulsory.

LAND BANK

Land Bank had 17 compulsory briefing sessions in 2018

PFA

The Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator had 3 tender briefings for 2018 and were all not compulsory for prospective bidders to attend. The tenders relate to the procurement of Information Technology Infrastructure and Public Relations consultancy services.

PIC

(a) The PIC had 15 tender briefing sessions in 2018:

  • Open Tenders – 14 briefing sessions; and
  • Closed Bids – 1 briefing session.

(b) All of the briefing sessions stated above were compulsory.

SARS

(a)(i) NT to respond

(ii) SARS issued 31 tenders for the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018.

(b) Out of the 31 tenders, 22 had tender briefings with 9 being compulsory and 13 being non-

compulsory.

SASRIA

Sasria SOC Ltd has not had any tender briefings during the period 01 April 2017 up to 31 March 2018.

TAX OMBUD

a) Only one (1) tender briefing was held in the year 2017/18 financial year and none in 2018/2019 financial year.

b) Yes, the tender briefing in 2017/2018 was compulsory.

13 March 2019 - NW39

Profile picture: Rawula, Mr T

Rawula, Mr T to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether the Public Affairs Research Institute has had any working relationship with the (a) National Treasury and/or (b) SA Revenue Service since 1 January 2010; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

a) No

b) SA Revenue Service contracted the services of the Public Affairs Research Institute in 2011. This followed a request for quotation, RFQ 39/2010 for purposes of conducting a SARS Corruption Study on a national basis. This was awarded on the 02 February 2011 to the value of R799,755.00.

13 March 2019 - NW169

Profile picture: Lees, Mr RA

Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)With reference to the report of the Standing Committee on Finance on the Venda Pension Fund published in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports 172-2017 on 23 November 2017, has the plan submitted by his predecessor which sets clear timeframes for the implementation of the recommendations of the Public Protector been implemented in full; if not, (a) why not and (b) by what date will the plan be implemented; if so, what are the details of the implementation; (2) whether the report of his predecessor to the National Assembly on the outcomes of the action plan that was due on 15 December 2017 was submitted; if not, what are the reasons that the report was not submitted; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. The National Treasury confirms that a full investigation was conducted in keeping with the Public Protector remedial action and a comprehensive report finalised on the privatisation of the Venda Pension Funds. The comprehensive report provides detail on the historical background, the process followed during the investigation in line with the Implementation Plan and findings thereof. The Implementation Plan was agreed by National Treasury and the Public Protector; and submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly for monitoring.

2. The Minister of Finance submitted the final comprehensive report on behalf of the State to Parliament and Public Protector on the 4th December 2018. The National Treasury awaits further communication and guidance from the Speaker of the National Assembly and Public Protector on this matter.

13 March 2019 - NW68

Profile picture: Lees, Mr RA

Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)       What (a) is the estimated loss of tax revenue due to the illicit trade in tobacco products in the (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17 and (iii) 2017-18 financial years and (b) are the relevant details of all action taken by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) in order to ensure that all taxes on the trade in tobacco products in South Africa are paid; (2) Whether Sars has done any research into the actual prices that tobacco products are being sold for; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of the (a) research conducted and (b) results of the research conducted?

Reply:

(1)(a)(i)   The estimated loss of tax revenue due to the illicit trade in tobacco products for the 2015/16 financial year was R6 billion compared to the estimated loss of R 4.1 billion for the 2014/15 financial year.

(ii)(iii) The estimated loss of tax revenue due to the illicit trade in tobacco products for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial year has not been concluded as yet.

(b) Steps taken by SARS to ensure that all taxes on the trade in tobacco products in South Africa are paid are:

  • SARS conducted Integrated Audits on the Tobacco industry for years up until 2015.
  • Amending section 113 of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964, (the Act) with effect from 19 January 2017 to prohibit the importation of cigarettes with a mass of more than 1.2 kilogram per 1 000 cigarettes, and the manufacture of cigarettes of which the mass of the tobacco content exceeds 0.9 kilogram per 1 000 cigarettes.
  • SARS is finalising a draft rule amendment to the Act that will be published for public comment shortly to require functional tamper-proof product counters on all the tobacco manufacturing equipment used by the industry at any licensed tobacco excise manufacturing warehouse in the country.
  • SARS is in the process of modernising its current fiscal marker and implement technology that will provide information to SARS to enable SARS to track and trace cigarettes that are manufactured throughout the value chain.
  • SARS has an integrated Audit team that was established to audit traders across multiple taxes.

There is an increased focus on illicit tobacco and cigarette trade using a multi-pronged approach that includes:

  • Establishment of the Illicit Economy Unit with a multi-disciplinary team investigating allegations of non-compliance in the tobacco industry.
  • Integrated audits are performed by the Excise team.
  • Reviews of the existing licences are conducted in line with the new measure that is under consideration for implementation.
  • Targeted port risk alerts driven interventions on raw tobacco in order to follow the trail from foreign exporter to the consignee who is either the manufacturer of the importer who supplies the manufacturer, to ensure that we can align any thread of imported raw tobacco to the volumes of production per manufacturer.
  • Audit and inspections are being conducted on cigarette manufacturing machines to ensure that SARS has sight of manufacturing equipment and its production capacity.
  • Policy review is being envisaged to enforce the cigarette manufacturing machines counters usage, with possible withdrawal of licences should the counter be found not to be operational.
  • Increased inspections at targeted areas identified as being high risk regarding suspected illicit cigarettes sold.
  • Deployment of Customs inspectors at the manufacturing sites to inspect, monitor, record and develop an understanding of the entire manufacturing value chain from raw materials that form the inputs into production and the final products in relation to the excise account declared.

(2)(a)(b)  SARS does research on a regular basis aligned to its strategic approach and focus.

In line with this approach SARS is in the process of conducting research into the tobacco industry.

13 March 2019 - NW300

Profile picture: Wessels, Mr W

Wessels, Mr W to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)With reference to his reply to question 1578 on 4 July 2018 regarding the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the Government Employees Pension Fund’s approval of a loan of R5 billion to Eskom, what are the due diligence criteria for PIC when a short-term loan is considered; (2) (a) are the specified due diligence criteria an acceptable process which has been approved by the PIC board and (b) does the process correspond with industry acceptable investment criteria; (3) was a proper due diligence conducted in terms of the specified criteria on the R5 billion loan to Eskom; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (4) whether he will furnish Mr W W Wessels with the supporting documents regarding the loan?

Reply:

(1) All transactions entered into by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has to adhere to the mandate requirements of its clients. The money market mandate of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) allows for investments up to a 12 month tenure, whereas the capital market mandate allows for investments for a longer tenure. Both of the mandates for these asset classes explicitly state the credit rating of the issuer and/or the instrument being the main criteria for such investment. The Eskom loan in question was done on the explicit condition that the loan should be government guaranteed , which implies that it has the highest credit quality in the domestic ZAR denominated market.

(2) The GEPF’s mandate requirements for money market and capital market transactions are in line with acceptable industry norms and standards. The GEPF’s mandate was approved by the GEPF’s Board of Trustees. The mandates of all the clients of the PIC are also approved by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

(3) The PIC’s Research and Project Development Team has conducted detailed research (“deep dive”) into Eskom.

(4) Due to the confidentiality of the information pertaining to the Eskom loan of R5 billion, the supporting documents cannot be made available. It should, however, be stated that this loan was granted on 1 February 2018 and repaid in full, with interest, on 1 March 2018.

13 March 2019 - NW41

Profile picture: Khawula, Ms MS

Khawula, Ms MS to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether (a) the National Treasury and (b) any entities reporting to him contracted the services of certain companies (details furnished); if so, what was the (i) total monetary value of the contract and (ii) duration of the contract?

Reply:

NATIONAL TREASURY

(a) No

(i)(ii) N/A

ASB

The Accounting Standards Board has not contracted the services of any of the companies.

CBDA

The Co-operative Banks Development Agency has not contracted the services of any of the companies.

DBSA

(b) No.

(i) NIL

(ii) N/A

FIC

(b) The Financial Intelligence Centre has not contracted any services of companies as listed.

(i) Not applicable.

(ii) Not applicable.

FAIS OMBUD

Based on our records and scrutiny of the system, the FAIS Ombud can confirm that no contracts or services were utilized from the service providers listed.

FSCA

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (including the former Financial Services Board) has never engaged the entities named as their service providers or suppliers.

GEPF

The GEPF has not contracted any of the entities.

GPAA

According to our records, the Government Pensions Administration Agency and GEPF have no records of the above companies in our system.

IRBA

The IRBA hereby declares that we have not contracted any of the services from the companies listed.

PFA

Based on the information available at my disposal, the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator has never contracted the services of the companies listed.

LAND BANK

Land Bank does not have any contracts in place with any of the companies listed above.

We have, however, utilized Eavesdropping Detection Services which is a division of Corporate Business and Insight Awareness on a once-off basis for confidential work for Technical Surveillance Counter Measures. This order was placed in December 2018. Payment of R53 241.32 was made to Corporate Business and Insight Awareness on 21 January 2019.

Corporate Business Insight and Awareness is a new supplier on our database and all the necessary screening including AML was conducted prior to them being loaded.

PIC

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) contracted the services of Corporate Business Insight and Awareness (CBIA) in the 2014/15 financial year.

(i) The total monetary value was R20 621.00.

(ii) This was a once-off assignment.

SARS

According to the SARS financial systems:

1. There is no indication that SARS contracted with Eavesdropping Detection Solutions (EDS.

2. There is no indication that SARS contracted with Cell Detect; or Business Espionage Countermeasures South Africa (BECSA).

3. SARS did make purchases from the vendor named Corporate Business Insight and Awareness (CBIA). The total payments made to CBIA are indicated below and these date back to the Financial Year 2006/2007 until Financial Year 2014/2015.

2006/2007

2009/2010

2010/2011

2011/2012

2012/2013

2013/2014

2014/2015

Grand Total

70 965.00

737 891.00

54 720.00

68 628.00

640 779.80

501 962.52

264 528.42

2 339 474.74

SASRIA

Sasria SOC Ltd is currently (and had previously) not contracted the services of the following companies:

TAX OMBUD

The Office of the Tax Ombud did not conduct any business or award any tender to any of the aforementioned companies.

13 March 2019 - NW36

Profile picture: Mathys, Ms L

Mathys, Ms L to ask the Minister of Finance

What amount is a certain person (name furnished) being paid?

Reply:

As advised by the Prudential Authority at the SA Reserve Bank, there were no payments made by the Prudential Authority (which managed the VBS curatorship) to certain person (name furnished), but were made to the curator SizweNtsalubaGobodo Advisory Services (Pty) Limited (SNG). A certain person (name furnished) acts as the representative for the curator. The total cost of curatorship for the period 12 March 2018 to 12 November 2018 amounted to R21,6 million, excluding VAT. VBS was placed in liquidation on 13 November 2018, so the curatorship ended on 12 November 2018.

The Prudential Authority of the South African Reserve Bank (which took over the role of regulator from the Registrar on 1 April 2018) implemented various governance arrangements pertaining to the cost of curatorship at the commencement of the curatorship assignment. The governance arrangements include, inter alia, an agreement on charge-out rates, instituting a limit pertaining to the total curatorship fees for the initial 12-month period of the curatorship, as well as the management of potential conflict of interest that may arise from using other service providers.

13 March 2019 - NW158

Profile picture: Madisha, Mr WM

Madisha, Mr WM to ask the Minister of Finance

(a) What steps have been taken to give effect to the recommendations of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Taxation and Governance by SARS and (b) what is the current status of the specified steps?

Reply:

a) While SARS has taken some strides towards implementing the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry and is in engagement concerning others, there are certain recommendations that require Presidential approval and collaboration with National Treasury. However, from the time that the erstwhile Commissioner was suspended and the Acting Commissioner was appointed, SARS sought to repair and improve the administration of tax. The proceedings of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry ran concurrently with these endeavours taken by the Acting Commissioner and some of the recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry echo some of the initiatives started by the Acting Commissioner.  This includes re-establishing a healthy reporting relationship between the Minister of Finance and SARS and the formation of the Illicit Economy Unit, the Unit focusing on Large Business, and more recently, a Unit to assess and analyze taxpayer compliance levels.

b) The function to plan, facilitate and monitor implementation of the Commission’s recommendations will be assigned to a small unit that continues with this work, and which will report their progress to the permanent Commissioner.

13 March 2019 - NW492

Profile picture: Mathys, Ms L

Mathys, Ms L to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether a State pension was paid into the bank account of a certain person (Name furnished) from 1992 to 2018; if not, why not; if so, (a) into which bank account(s) were the payments made and (b) was the specified person or her children able to access the payments?

Reply:

This pensioners (Name furnished) monthly pension was paid from January 1993 to March 2018 to the following bank account number:

ABSA (Volkskas)

Branch: Adelaide

Account no: XXXXXXXXX

She was a member of the TEPF when she retired and a widow when she died, the monthly pension stopped with her death.

There is no further pension payable to anyone.

13 March 2019 - NW339

Profile picture: Mathys, Ms L

Mathys, Ms L to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether, with reference to the reply to question 3485 on 19 December 2018, the qualifications of a certain person (name furnished) were ever verified; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

According to the SARS records the person has a grade 12 qualification. At the time of his appointment to SARS it was not the practice to verify the qualifications. His qualifications have therefore not been verified by SARS.

07 March 2019 - NW464

Profile picture: Mileham, Mr K

Mileham, Mr K to ask the Minister of Finance

Whether the SA Reserve Bank served the Venda Building Society (VBS) Mutual Bank with any (a) notice, (b) directive and/or (c) other correspondence in terms of section 5 of the Mutual Banks Act, Act 124 of 1993, in the period 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2018; if so, (i) on what date was the correspondence sent, (ii) what was the nature of the correspondence and (iii) what was the response of the VBS Mutual Bank?

Reply:

The Prudential Authority of the South African Reserve Bank has indicated to the National Treasury that the South African Reserve Bank did not serve VBS Mutual Bank with any (a) notice, (b) directive and/or (c) other correspondence in terms of section 5 of the Mutual Banks Act, Act 124 of 1993, in the period 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2018.

Section 5 of the Mutual Banks Act, 1993 (Act No. 124 of 1993) deals with the furnishing of information by mutual banks to the South African Reserve Bank (to the Prudential Authority or before 1 April 2018, the Registrar of Banks). It empowers the Prudential Authority (or previously, the Registrar) to direct a mutual bank or the holder of any interest in a mutual bank to provide it with information specified in a notice given to the mutual bank or the holder of the interest in the mutual bank, that the Prudential Authority (or previously, the Registrar) may reasonably require for the performance of the Prudential Authority’s (or previously, the Registrar’s) functions under the Mutual Banks Act.

The Prudential Authority (or previously the Registrar) may also direct a mutual bank or the holder of any interest in a mutual bank to provide it with a report by a public accountant as defined in section 1 of the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Act, 1991 (Act No. 80 of 1991), or by any other person with appropriate professional skill, on any relevant matter, to provide it with such information.

01 March 2019 - NW453

Profile picture: Steenhuisen, Mr JH

Steenhuisen, Mr JH to ask the Minister of Finance

(1)(a) On what date did the National Treasury last conduct an audit of artwork owned by Government which is under the curatorship of the National Treasury and (b) what are the details of each artwork under the curatorship of the National Treasury according to the Generally Recognised Accounting Practice 103; (2) whether any artworks under the curatorship of the National Treasury have gone missing (a) in each of the past five financial years and (b) since 1 April 2018; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

(1)(a) The artwork under the curatorship of National Treasury is recorded in its asset register and audited on an annual basis by the Auditor General of South Africa. There is no artwork owned by the rest of Government under the curatorship of National Treasury;

(1)(b) The National Treasury does not have any artwork under its control that meets the definition of Heritage Assets in accordance with Generally Recognised Accounting Practice 103.

(2)(a) During the past five financial years the National Treasury has not written off any artworks after completion of its physical verification process, due to loss or other reason. During the current financial year starting 1 April 2018 to date, no artwork has been found missing;

(2)(b) There is no applicable detail, as there is no missing artwork at the National Treasury.