Treasury official tells MPs he will quit if documents late again

2016-04-13 13:43
Parliament (Dan Calderwood, News24)

Parliament (Dan Calderwood, News24)

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Cape Town - MPs rounded on National Treasury officials on Wednesday for giving them important documents at the last minute, resulting in an undertaking from chief procurement officer Kenneth Brown to resign should it happen again.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Natasha Ntlangwini led the charge, saying Treasury's previous apologies for missing document delivery deadlines would not be accepted anymore.

The last straw had been when the committee on appropriations - which deals with how the government spends its money - dumped the 176-page Third Quarter Expenditure Report for the 2015/16 financial year on MPs on Tuesday.

The report and presentation track the extent to which government stuck to its budget and whether it was actually spending money allocated to it.

MPs complain

It contains reams of figures and comparisons that Ntlangwini said first needed to be verified and digested in order to pose probing questions to Treasury representatives.

On Wednesday, as the committee was due to start its first meeting with the chief procurement officer’s staff, the MPs complained that they were supposed to have had the information on Friday, April 8.

The CPO was created to make government buying more efficient and ensure people adhered to the rules.

"We are not just being fussy. Public participation becomes very difficult if we get the documents here and now," ANC MP Sheila Shoke-Sithole said.

"When are we going to discuss these documents with our constituencies? It is only when Parliament takes South Africans on board that this committee is useful. It is an obligation by the Constitution for Parliament to do that."

Treasury in the spotlight

Acting committee chairperson Dabakayise Gcwabaza managed to persuade MPs not to postpone the meeting, saying it would be a waste of money.

Brown apologised profusely and offered to resign if it happened again.

The Treasury has been in the spotlight more than usual lately after President Jacob Zuma’s sudden removal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December.

Zuma brought in relatively unknown ANC MP and former Merafong mayor Des Van Rooyen. He removed him following a public outcry and reinstalled former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Since he was put back in the job, the Hawks have demanded that Gordhan answer a list of questions relating to his tenure as SA Revenue Service commissioner.

His deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, alleged that members of the Gupta family had first offered him Gordhan’s job. Jonas said he turned them down.

Read more on:    cape town  |  parliament 2016

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