August 20, 2019

If the much-vaunted Party Political Funding Bill had managed to make its way through Parliament at the pace with which the Ad Hoc Committee passed it through the National Assembly last year it is probable that voters at next year’s poll would be able to take into account matters such as which party gained and exactly how much from the VBS banking saga, before placing that crucial cross.

A polite disagreement arose only minutes after the end of Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s presentation on South Africa’s national and provincial audit outcomes for the 2017/18 financial year. It followed some moments of disbelieving silence by members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and the Standing Committee on Appropriations who attended the joint meeting where the AG’s findings on the most recent state audit of government departments and entities were revealed.

The last we heard of proposed amendments to the Executive Members' Code of Ethics was back in 2011 when draft amendments to the Executive Members’ Ethics Act were published for public comment. This was intended to fill the gaps identified by then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. GARY PIENAAR and ASHLEY FISCHHOFF point out that right now we cannot be sure that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet have made timely and full disclosure.

The State Security Agency is still investigating a spate of armed attacks on members of the Competition Commission which took place over a period of four months last year. Parliament was told that the release of the SSA investigation report was “imminent,” but that was some weeks ago and nothing has been heard since.

Seven in 10 government departments and entities flout the law and regulations, according to the Auditor-General. MARIANNE MERTEN writes in the Daily Maverick what really happens when public finances are placed under scrutiny ahead of the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement as Parliament ploughs through annual reports detailing performance and financials of the 2017/18 year.

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Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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