The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) hosted a two-day budget and financial oversight workshop to identify successes and failures in effectively and efficiently conducting executive budget and fiscal oversight.
Speaking yesterday on advancing the NCOP mandate through effective budgeting and budget control, NCOP President Amos Masondo said the NCOP has certain constitutional mandates in an effort to transform the lives of the South. -Africans. “This workshop aims to build a common understanding of the role of the NCOP in the use of control and fiscal instruments expressed in a wide range of invoices and money-related financial management instruments that inform the mandate of monitoring and responsibility of the NCOP, ”he said.
It is about preventing abuse of public finances and ensuring accountability for how taxpayers’ money is used. This workshop will elucidate these control instruments to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of NCOP executive accountability measures. Mr. Masondo added: “One of our essential interventions as NCOP is to ensure that the executive sticks to its policies and the goals it sets for itself.” We must take into account the existing monitoring instruments to find effective strategies and tactics for implementation. the transformative prescriptions of our constitution. “
Participating in the workshop, Deputy Minister of Finance Dr David Masondo spoke about understanding budget processes and intergovernmental relations in South Africa. He gave a general overview of the fiscal and financial instruments adopted since the start of the Constitution and the first democratic Parliament which sought to ensure effective and efficient accountability in the management of public finances.
In his view, much has been done to achieve world-class public financial management based on prudent economic sustainability, public financial management allowing transparent budgetary frameworks to be put in place. He cited the Revenue Division Amendment Bill, Medium-Term Budget Statement and other money-related laws as examples of this. These instruments provide the NCOP with control ammunition to hold the executive accountable in a manner that, in its view, is equivalent to the role of the Auditor General. It can do this by using “the annual plans of departments and entities and reports on key performance areas to hold them accountable”.
He mentioned that the Standing Committee on Finance and Appropriations is constitutionally equipped to ask tough questions that impact South Africa’s fiscal strategies and economic growth agenda.
Speaking on the Constitutional Framework for Parliamentary Oversight: Understanding the Constitutional Role of Parliament in Promoting Budgetary Oversight and Accountability, Professor Hugh Corder of the University of Cape Town said the Constitution was based on the idea of break with the past. This gave the democratic parliament the responsibility of being a watchdog over constitutional prescriptions. Making a comparison between the South African parliament and the apartheid parliament, he observed: “The apartheid parliament was not a watchdog, it was a pocket dog. It did not gave in, he didn’t bite. “
In his criticism of the current Parliament, he asked why Parliament failed to meet the expectations of the new Constitution based on accountability, accountability and transparency in the accountability of the executive. He cited corruption for many years as proof of this failure. In his view, at the heart of this regression are parliamentary committees which are supposed to be essential engines of oversight and accountability, but which have been held up by party whips.
This blurred the separation of powers and eroded Parliament’s constitutional mandate. He then asked why committee chairs are not rotated or elected by the opposition. “Has Parliament considered electing the opposition chairman and extending this practice beyond just the Standing Committee on Public Accounts?” He asked.