New committee to put Parliament's finances under scrutiny

2016-09-23 15:48
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – Parliament's finances will now be subject to intense scrutiny by members of Parliament as part of a new oversight mechanism.

The new Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament met on Friday, where the committee's mandate was spelt out.

The new committee, which replaces the Parliamentary Oversight Authority, can call the executive authority, which includes the Speaker, deputy speaker and chairpersons, to appear before it.

Presenting to the committee, Parliament's Finance and Economics Cluster manager Mongana Tau said according to its mandate, the committee played a role similar to that of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

"The committee may require the executive authority, accounting officer and any official of Parliament to appear before it," he said.

It would maintain oversight over the financial management of Parliament. 

R9.2m senior management salary bill 

According to Parliament's annual report which was tabled last week, irregular expenditure amounted to R15m for the year ended March 2016 while fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R830 000.

Parliament's salary bill for senior management is R9.2m for the year 2016, while it was R7.9m for the previous year. 

This includes Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana's R2.5m basic salary for 2016, up from R794 000 the year before.

All these will be in the spotlight at a committee meeting when Parliament comes back from recess in October.

The MPs are also expected to go through the report with the fine tooth comb, following allegations of Mgidlana's luxury hotel stays with his wife on Parliament's dime.

On Friday the Democratic Alliance's John Steenhuisen said at its next meeting, which will be attended by the Auditor General, the committee should get a full accounting of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure, as well as any correspondence between the Auditor General's office and the secretary's office regarding it.

Use of consultants under spotlight

"I have some concerns about the figures here."

Also under interrogation should be the use of consultants, specifically as it related to the annual report, reports on the outsourced human resources strategy, outsourced labour recruitment strategy and the outsourced public communications strategy.

Strategies on how Parliament was going to facilitate researchers' back pay should also be under discussion, he said.

This follows a ruling by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration that Parliament should pay researchers salary increases, which are four years overdue, retrospectively.

This amounts to over R38m.

Read more on:    parliament  |  cape town  |  parliament 2016

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