Joint Statement by DA, COPE, ID
Following Provincial Treasury’s late submission of relevant documentation to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature ahead of today’s scheduled portfolio committee meeting on its budget vote, the opposition took a joint decision to walk out. After some deliberation, the portfolio committee agreed with the opposition’s sentiments and postponed the meeting until tomorrow.
As far as the opposition is concerned, it would have been irregular to allow the department to continue with its presentation, seeing as though the relevant documentation should already have been delivered to the Speaker’s Office a number of days prior to the presentation in order to have it legally processed. This is not the first time that Provincial Treasury has been reprimanded due to the late submission of documents. Instead, similar issues have been raised by the legislature’s portfolio committee since 2009.
Clearly there appears to be a dire lack of leadership within Provincial Treasury. This is seen in the fact that the political head of this department, John Block, makes no attempt to be present at portfolio committee meetings between the legislature and the department. As a result, the very department that is meant to take the lead in terms of compliance with the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations, it is setting a poor example. If this department doesn’t follow the rules, then provincial government might as well close shop.
Non-compliance with laws and regulations is blocking attempts to have unqualified reports for the Northern Cape. Earlier this year national Auditor-General, Terrence Nombembe, said that “non-compliance must have consequences and accountability must be enforced at all levels, leadership must set the tone of decisively dealing with such malpractice.”
As the opposition, we will attempt to take the lead in ensuring that “consequences”, as alluded to by the AG, do exist. We have had enough of departments doing as they please, splurging taxpayers’ money as they see fit and getting away with it, with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.