October 23, 2018

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.

Our Parliament is based very firmly on the Westminster model, an enduring reminder of our colonial past. But as no effort has so far been taken to replace it, we might as well make use of its hundreds more years of experience than we have had and, at least sometimes, take heed of it when we should.

I talk, of course, about the UK House of Commons’ investigation into allegations of bullying in the House of Commons.

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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