Scopa seeking NPA collaboration in new year

2017-12-08 14:10
State Security Minister Bongani Bongo. ((Photo by Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Lindile Mbontsi)

State Security Minister Bongani Bongo. ((Photo by Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Lindile Mbontsi)

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Cape Town – The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) is hoping to bring the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on board in the new year to improve the committee's work in holding state entities to account.

On its last working day of the year on Thursday, Scopa met with State Security Minister Bongani Bongo and the State Security Agency (SSA) on vetting at state institutions, a first for the committee.

Committee chairperson Themba Godi told journalists afterwards that it's been a watershed year for Scopa, but there was one area in which the committee could still give more bite to their oversight function.

"The last leg that we want to close is getting the NPA on board. That will complete the loop of investigation and prosecution.

"If we can have that by next year, I think we would have taken oversight to the next level."

This year the committee, known as Parliament's watchdog of public funds, established a working relationship with the Hawks, whose investigators have, on occasion, sat in on meetings with a view to conducting investigations at specific state entities.

As with the Hawks, the committee was hoping that it could have an NPA official permanently sit in on meetings, and that both institutions could contribute to meetings next year, Godi said.

On Wednesday the Hawks were due to present to the committee on cases of corruption at Transnet, but were prevented from doing so after the Transnet delegation ditched proceedings.

Plate 'already full' next year

Some of the entities Scopa has grilled this year include Transnet, SAA, the South African Social Security Agency and the SAPS.

Godi said he was satisfied with the dedication MPs had to their work.

"Oversight is a dialectical process and there is always room for improvement but I am satisfied that Scopa has [helped] restore the image of Parliament.

"We have also caused other committees to up their games in terms of oversight."

He said bringing the anti-corruption task team to the fore had enabled MPs to monitor cases of public corruption with more ease.

Godi admitted that the committee would have its work cut out for it again next year, with its plate already full with scheduled follow-ups with the above mentioned entities, before it even starts the new year.

The committee was hopeful though of meeting with more government departments who were struggling, including the Department of Public Works.

"We need to stick around an entity instead of having a once-off meeting. That needs to be our modus operandi and we need to be strategic.

"If we can, it could have a major impact."

Read more on:    npa  |  scopa  |  cape town

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