0214032758
 
Parliamentary Questions and Answers
 
 
Presidents
 
Media Room Provincial Caucuses Jobs Links Support Services Tenders ANC Homepage
 

Input by ANC MP Vincent Smith on Vote 2: Parliament Budget Vote in the National Assembly

30 May 2017

CHAIRPERSON
HONOURABLE MEMBERS
COMRADES
AND DISTINGUISHED GUESTS

GOOD AFTERNOON.

"WE SEEK TO CREATE A UNITED DEMOCRATIC AND NON-RACIAL SOCIETY. WE HAVE A VISION OF SOUTH AFRICA IN WHICH BLACK AND WHITE SHALL LIVE AND WORK TOGETHER AS EQUALS IN CONDITIONS OF PEACE AND PROSPERITY."

CHAIRPERSON, THIS IS A QUOTE FROM A SPEECH DELIVERED BY OLIVER REGINALD TAMBO ON THE 17 JANUARY 1987 AT THE GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY.

IN HONOUR OF THE VISION OF OR, POLITICAL PARTY PARTICIPATION IN PARLIAMENT MUST AFFORD ALL OF US A UNIQUE PLATFORM TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CREATION OF A UNITED SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIETY, A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY, A NON- RACIAL FAMILY, A TRUELY NON-SEXIST PEOPLE, AND A PROSPEROUS NATION.

IF ALL OF US ARE COMMITTED TO BUILDING THIS SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIETY THAT MANY PAID THE SUPREME SACRIFICE TO BRING ABOUT IN OUR LIFE TIME, THEN WE MUST ALL ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS INSTITUTION MUST EMBODY OUR COLLECTIVE CONCIOUSNESS ON DEVELOPMENTAL MATTERS.

THE PARLIAMENTARY PROCESS PRESENTS OPPOSITION PARTIES WITH THE OPPORRTUNITY TO ARTICULATE AN ALTERNATIVE VISION AND AS A RESULT THERE IS A GREAT TEMPTATION TO GO OVERBOARD IN DEMONSTRATING THE FAILURES OF THE RULING PARTY.

CHAIRPERSON, IF TRUTH WERE TOLD, WE MUST EQUALLY ACCEPT THAT THERE EXISTS AN INHERENT AND AUTOMATIC REACTION FOR THE RULING PARTY TO BE OVERLY DEFENSIVE.

FOR AS LONG AS THESE DIFFERENCES ARE ARTICULATED IN A CONSTRUCTIVE MANNER, THE BATTLE OF IDEAS MUST BE ENCOURAGED.

AFTER ALL, HONOURABLE MEMBERS, PARLIAMENT IS ENVISAGED TO BE AN ARENA OF ROBUST DEBATE.

VERY OFTEN IN OUR ENDEAVOUR TO UNDERMINE OUR POLITICAL OPPONENTS, NEITHER THE RULING PARTY NOR THE OPPOSITION PARTIES SEE BEYOND THE NARROW PARTY INTERESTS AND THEREBY PLACE AT GREAT RISK THE DREAMS AND ASPIRATION OF THOSE WHO WE CLAIM TO REPRENSENT.

HONOURABLE MEMBERS, BY ITS VERY NATURE THE PRACTICE OF OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY TENSIONS BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE AND THE LEGISLATURE. THIS SITUATION MUST NEVER REDUCE PARLIAMENT TO A LAME DUCK INSTITUTION.

SOMETIMES THESE TENSIONS WILL ALSO MANIFEST BETWEEN THE VARIOUS POLITICAL PARTIES.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REALITY, AS MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT WE WILL ALWAYS BE MORE EFFECTIVE OR STRONGER WHEN WE ACT TOGETHER AND UNITED IN THE PERSUIT OF OUR CONSTITUTION MANDATE. THE ULTIMATE BENEFICIARIES WILL BE THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY.

ALL OF US MUST UNDERSTAND THAT OUR EFFECTIVENESS OR OTHERWISE WILL DETERMINE HOW QUICKLY AND HOW FAR WE PROGRESS TOWARDS ATTAINING THE SOUTH AFRICA THAT O.R. TAMBO SPOKE ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO.

CHAIRPERSON, PARLIAMENT AS THE CORNERSTONE OF OUR MULTI PARTY CONSTITUIONAL DEMOCRACY MUST DEMAND GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIVENESS FROM THE EXECUTIVE ARM OF THE STATE.

CHAIRPERSON AT THE END OF THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION PARLIAMENT WAS TASKED TO OVERSEE A NATIONAL EXPENDITURE BUDGET OF R 1 TRILLION. TODAY WE ARE TASKED WITH OVERSEEING A NATIONAL EXPENDITURE BUDGET OF R 1.4 TRILLION AND 40 NATIONAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS PLUS ALL THE OTHER ASSOCIATED ENTERTIES.WITH

CHAIRPERSON, IN ORDER FOR PARLIAMENT TO DO ITS JOB EFFECTIVELY, WE MUST ENHANCE THE CAPACITY OF MEMBERS IN SUPPORT OF THEIR ENGAGEMENT WITH THE EXECUTIVE AND THE PUBLIC IN THEIR OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS.

IN THE SPIRIT OF LEADING BY EXAMPLE IN AS FAR AS THE IMPORTANCE OF OVERSIGHT IS CONCERNED, A JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF PARLIAMENT WAS ESTABLISHED IN TERMS OF THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF PARLIAMNT AND PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURES ACT (ACT NO 10 OF 2009). IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THIS JOINT COMMITTEE TO ENSURE THAT A HIGH STANDARD OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IS MAINTAINED AND ALSO THAT THE BUDGET ALLOCATION IS USED EFFICIENTLY, EFFECTIVELY AND ECONOMICALLY.

THIS MULTI-PARTY JOINT COMMITTEE WILL MONITOR AND EVALUATE PERFORMANCE ON EXPENDITURE AND AGAINST OUTPUTS ON A QUARTERLY BASIS.

SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF PARLIAMENT, IT HAS NOT ONLY MANAGED TO EXECUTE ITS FUNCTIONS AS PRESCRIBED IN THE ACT, BUT THE COMMITTEE HAS MANAGED TO IDENTIFY SOME PERTINENT ISSUES WHICH THREATHEN THE OVERALL PERFORMANCE OF PARLIAMENT. AN UNDER RESOURCED OR A UNDER PERFORMING PARLIAMENT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DRIVE SOUTH AFRICA'S DEVELOPMENT AGENDA.

HONOURABLE MEMBERS PARLIAMENT REQUESTED A BUDGET ALLOCATION FOR THE 2017/18 FINANCIAL YEAR OF R3.4 BILLION BUT WAS ALLOCATED ONLY R2.3 BILLION.

THE COMMITTEE NOTES WITH SERIOUS CONCERN THE REDUCTIONS IN THE BUDGET OF PARLIAMENT. THIS WILL INVARIABLY INCREASE THE RISK OF NOT ACHIEVING OUR CONSTITUTIONAL MANADATE AND THEREBY IMPEDE THE DRIVE TOWARDS ADDRESSING THE SCOURGES OF UNEMPLOYMENT, POVERTY AND INEQUALITY.

CHAIRPERSON, IN THE PAST THREE FINANCIAL YEARS, THE SHORTFALL BETWEEN WHAT PARLIAMENT HAD REQUESTED AS A BUDGET ALLOCATION AND THE ACTUAL FINAL ALLOCATION FOR THE 2015/16 FINANCIAL YEAR AMOUNTED TO R628. 7 MILLION.

SIMILARLY IN THE 2016/17 FINANCIAL YEAR THE SHORTFALL WAS R958.4 MILLION AND FOR THE CURRENT YEAR (2017/18) THE SHORTFALL IS R1 BILLION.

WE MUST ADDRESS THE WISDOM AND DESIRABILITY OF PARLIAMENT, AS AN EQUAL YET AUTONOMOUS ARM OF THE STATE, BEING ALLOCATED A BUDGET FROM THE VERY INSTITUTION THAT IT IS ESTABLISHED TO OVERSEE.

IT CANNOT BE THAT PARLIAMENT IS TREATED IN THE VERY SAME MANNER AS A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT WHEN IT COMES TO BUDGET ALLOCATION.

THE BUDGET CUTS ALLUDED TO ABOVE HAVE RESULTED IN THE REDUCTION OF THE ALLOCATION OF SUPPORT SERVICES MEANT TO CAPACITATE MEMBERS IN FULLFILLING THEIR DUTIES AS PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVES.

THE BUDGET ALLOCATION FOR SUPPORT STAFF HAS ALSO BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED AS A RESULT OF THE SHORTFALL FOR THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR TO THE TUNE OF R129 MILLION WHICH HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT'S ABILITY TO EXECUTE EFFECTIVE OVERSIGHT.

CHAIRPERSON, WHILST WE LAMENT THE BUDGET CUTS, WE MUST ALSO RAISE OUR CONCERNS AROUND THE HIGH EXPENDITURE FOR CONSULTANTS, PROFESSIONAL FEES AND LEGAL COST. SIMILARLY ALL IRREGULAR, FRUITLESS AND WASTEFUL EXPENDITURE MUST BE DOWN MANAGED.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT THE EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MANAGEMT AND STAFF WITHIN PARLIAMENT BE IMPROVED IF MEMBERS ARE TO RECEIVE THE REQUISITE SUPPORT IN DOING THEIR WORK.

CHAIRPERSON NOTWITHSTANDING THE PREVAILING ECONOMIC CLIMATE, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE FUNDING MODEL OF PARLIAMENT NEEDS TO BE REVIEWED. WE THEREFOR WELCOME THE NEWS THAT THE LEADERSHIP OF THE INSTITUTION IS ENGAGED IN DISCUSSIONS WITH TREASURY AND THE MINISTER OF FINANCE IN THIS REGARD. WITH AN INCREASED BUDGET WILL COME THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AN EVEN MORE PRUDENT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND IMPROVED OVERSIGHT OF PARLIAMENT'S USAGE OF ALL FUNDS ALLOCATED?

HONOURABLE MEMBERS AND COMRADES, IT IS IN PARLIAMENT, THAT OVERSIGHT OF THE EXECUTIVE ARM OF THE STATE IS CONSISTENTLY EXERCISED.

IT IS HERE, THAT IN ALL OUR DIVERSITY AS PEOPLE, WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE POLICY AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT. PARLIAMENT MUST AT ALL TIMES RESPOND TO OUR PEOPLE'S ASPIRATIONS.

IN THIS REGARD, COMMITTEES ARE THE PRIMARY VEHICLE OF LEGISLATIVE WORK AND OVERSIGHT.

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COMMITTEES IS RELIANT ON THE ABILITY OF THE MEMBERS TO ENGAGE THE EXECUTIVE AND ANY OTHER ORGAN OF STATE RIGOROUSLY, SYSTEMATICALLY AND WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR.

HOUNOURABLE MEMBERS, PARLIAMENT HAS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO MAKE IF THE COUNTRY IS TO ACHIEVE THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN GOALS.

ALL OF US HAVE A DUTY IN ENSURING THAT THE INSTITUTION IS WELL MANAGED AND THAT ALL SOUTH AFRICANS CONTINUE TO TRUST THAT MEN AND WOMEN OF INTEGRITY WILL CONTINUE TO ADVANCE THEIR INTERESTS.

     
« back
CATCH US ON: