DA will continue to fight for accountability despite ANC shooting down two Bills

Issued by Alf Lees MP and Ghaleb Cachalia MP –
15 Jun 2022 in News

In a disappointing display of what appears to be willful dereliction of legislative duty, in the Parliamentary Committee for Finance, the ANC has seen fit to vote against the desirability of two non-partisan private members bills.

These bills (download here and here) are aimed at plugging the lacunae in the Public Finance Management Act (1999) to extend Parliament’s oversight capacity in relation to the granting or refusal of government  indemnities and securities and to amend section 65(2) of the PFMA to ensure the timeous tabling of financial statements and audit reports.

Despite National Treasury’s support “in principle” for the two bills, the committee has endorsed National Treasury’s curious proposal to outsource legislation to itself which, in effect allows for National Treasury and the executive’s continued unfettered freedom to potentially keep the door open to executive’s discretion in this regard.

The mischief that these two bills attempt to address has been evident for many years. Indeed, both bills were first introduced by the DA in 2018 some four years ago.

During these four years National Treasury have failed to issue any “Instructions” and/or regulations that they now claim is the solution to the problem. Given the considerable damage of State Capture exposed in the Zondo Commission reports, it is utterly astounding that the National Treasury and the ANC have effectively blocked the passage of these two bills that would contribute towards the prevention of State Capture.

The oversight functions of Parliament have accordingly been truncated – this, in the wake of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry’s findings and recommendations which now continue to potentially allow for the lack of transparency and consequences for transgressions responsible – in no small measure – for the elements of state capture that have plagued our institutions in the past.

It is lamentable that these two private members bills have been deemed undesirable by the committee – the net effect of which will perpetuate obfuscation and the continuation of loopholes at the discretion of the executive.

It makes one wonder whether the ANC – in committee and government – is serious about instituting measures to prevent a recurrence of state capture. Talk is cheap; it’s action that matters and the ANC has proved to be wanting in this regard.

The DA will continue to champion these bills and welcomes proposed amendments thereto which will be assessed and incorporated on their merits instead of allowing for discretionary instructions from the executive.