NCPT report centres on nothingness

By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs:

The Democratic Alliance appeals to the Northern Cape Provincial Treasury to uphold the highest standards. The submission of the first quarterly report for the 2015/16 financial year in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature this week is a red flag that the Treasury is beginning to go downhill. It is, in fact, a report that centres on nothingness.

We reiterate our call for the premier to appoint a permanent head for the Treasury. In the absence of a permanent head and with the uncertainty that it creates, it seems that Treasury is incapable of putting together a proper report.

The report contains numerous blank spaces. Narrative information is so brief that it is obscure. No financial information is given on spending for four of the five programmes in Treasury. Targets that are measured in numbers in the Annual Performance Plan are now being measured as percentages, with no explanation given for the deviation.

Indeed, Treasury only tries to reason away questions put to it without providing sufficient explanations.

It is also a matter of concern that house resolutions are not being adhered to. This includes the submission of reports requested by the Portfolio Committee on Finance. Such reports need to be tabled within

30 days of the adoption of the Portfolio Committee’s report in the Legislature. Treasury presented its Annual Performance Plan for

2015/16 on the 21st of April. During the presentation, a number of reports were promised to the Portfolio Committee. This includes a report on the payment of the provincial government to suppliers within

30 days, which is crucial for SMME development. We are now in August, sixteen weeks later, and the reports are still lying on the head of Treasury’s desk.

It is unacceptable that Treasury, as nucleus of government, produces a report of such poor quality. The quality of this report does not speak to the high standards that we have come to expect of Treasury.

Treasury is itself a crucial oversight body in the province; yet the information it gives the Legislature is so poor that we cannot say if Treasury is performing well or not.

We acknowledge that Treasury has done some good work in the past and we have the strongest faith that Treasury can continue to accomplish important things in the future. But it needs to be serious.