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First Reading Debate: Appropriation Bill [B 5 - 2017] (S77)(94) by Phosa, YN (MP)

8 June 2017

Hon Speaker
Hon President
Hon Deputy President
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honourable Members of Parliament
Dignitaries on the public Gallery
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Hon Speaker

It is my privilege to make a few remarks as I table the Appropriations Bill report for 2017/2018 Appropriation Bill.

Before I define what the Appropriation Bill is, allow me to remind fellow South Africans that the ANC led government is still committed to build a society free from exploitation, discrimination and exclusion from the economy of our Mother Land, South Africa, and create equal opportunities for all and a caring state that looks after the vulnerable.

The developmental vision of the ANC led government in this second phase of transition from the nightmare called apartheid, is rapid transformation of the society to create an equal society, with low unemployment levels, lower poverty levels and transformation of the ownership patterns of the past

Today, I am, on behalf of the hard working Standing Committee on Appropriations, tabling the Appropriation Bill Report. The Appropriation Bill is the legislation that provides for appropriation of money by Parliament from the National Revenue Fund, in terms of Section 213 of the Constitution of the RSA, 1996 and Section 26 of the PFMA, of 1999.

I would like to emphasize that spending of this money is subject to the PFMA and the provisions of the Appropriation Bill.

Madam Speaker, the 2017 Appropriation Bill, therefore cannot be, just another budget because these are extraordinary times. It comes at a time when South Africa finds itself in a strained political environment that has exacerbated what was an already an muted economic outlook and the big fall out of the current political climate is, the investment ratings down grade by Standard and Poor, (S&P) and Fitch rating agencies in April 2017, and the latest pronouncement on the technical recession by Stats South Africa due to the GDP that contracted by 0,7% in the first quarter of 2017.

As confirmed by the FFC submission to the committee, the 2017 Appropriations Bill maintains fiscal discipline with the total real growth of allocations, growing marginally by 0,5%. The key drivers of growth being Higher Education & Training, Basic Education and Health. Observations are that this is government commitment as per MTSF, to ensuring quality education and a long healthy life for all South Africans.

Other observations are that National Departments have to a large extent, addressed the problem of underspending, and the area of improvement is demonstration of effectiveness and efficiency of resource usage.

Honourable member's broad consultation with key stakeholders, and public hearings were conducted by the Standing Committee on the 2017 Appropriation Bill. A robust and constructive hearing session was held in Khayelitsha, in Cape Town to solicit inputs of ordinary citizens on the Appropriation Bill. From this exercise I can confidently say that the 2017 Appropriation Bill lays the basis for implementation for radical socio economic transformation programs, for the MTEF period and beyond.

Honourable Speaker the 2017 Appropriation Bill is a tool for inclusive growth, aimed at placing the economy on a qualitatively different path that ensures more rapid sustainable growth, higher investment, increased employment, reduced inequality and the racialization of the economy, which are Government bold commitments outlined in the Freedom Chatter and the Manifesto of the ANC led government.

  • For a stronger and more inclusive growth, will require improving the quality of education & training to meet the needs of a modern economy, and mobilising private and public investment to help diversify the economy, also lowering of policy uncertainty and improvement in investor confidence.
  • The 2017 Appropriation budget is pro-poor and redistributes income to the rural and urban poor, the working families, black people, women, the youth, people with disability and business.
  • We commend National Treasury for realising the need to allocate R591m social workers employment grant in the 2017 - 2019 MTEF. This is progressive and in the best interest of the poor, whose welfare needs will receive attention.

Honourable Speaker without infrastructure like roads, rail, ports, water and sanitation, power, communication, health and education, the economy can grow. Over the 2017/18 MTEF the consolidated infrastructure amounts to R970b. The committee recommends intensified oversight, over large tenders and those that go over many years by the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer.

Where fraud and corruption is discovered / found, act decisively, to avoid hampering of inclusive growth and development.

The committee is concerned about late payment of service providers and recommends improvement of payment of service providers within 30days of the receipt of an invoice and that payment of invoices within 30days be linked to the performance contract of those responsible for these payments.

EDUCATION:-

Post School Education and Training is aligned to the NDP goals and contributes to outcome 5, which is a skilled and capable work-force to support an inclusive growth path.

The committee supports operational and capital funding for the two new universities and emphasize the need to adequately fund the TVET and CET sector.

Honourable Speaker, in the 2017/18 Budget Basic Education accounts for 15% of national consolidated budget and the learners with intellectual disabilities have also been allocated a conditional grant, to increase their access to education.

HEALTH:

The key spending priorities for 2017/18 are expansion of the HIV/AIDS program with a budget allocation of R17b. We can report to this August house that with 3,5 million people receiving anti-retroviral, government is making good progress towards meeting its MTSF delivery target of 5,1 million.

May I take this opportunity to thank my fellow members of the Standing Committee on Appropriations for the long hours that they have put into the work supporting the deliberations of the committee.

We support the bill.

     
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