Did the DG know of any AO’s who were in the process of being held to account? Mr Mogajane responded that no Accounting Officers had faced consequence management but that would happen as he and the Auditor-General unpacked what had happened in the departments. The NEC (ANC National Executive Council) had said that there was nothing wrong with politically connected persons, be they husbands, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends of state officials, doing business with the state. “National Treasury is replacing measures relating to COVID-19 Disaster Management Central Emergency Procurement Strategy, namely Instruction Note 3 … Her issue was that of the tender and whether it could be made open and transparent. He noted that the NPA had been given additional powers and the NPA had found that exciting. It could not be underscored how greatly that trust in government, National Treasury and the governing party had been undermined. As the DG had said, as Minister, he had responsibilities to ensure that there was no behaviour that was inappropriate and unfair in National Treasury and if such behaviour occurred, he had to deal with it. The country had re-prioritised the budget in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic and National Treasury had issued the necessary National Treasury Instruction Notes about how to acquire the material for the fight against the pandemic, particularly the personal protective equipment. Government had borrowed money from the IMF and other banks. Opening Remarks by Minister of Finance Instruction Note No 7 of 2020/21 That was mitigated by an increase in government expenditure. He agreed with the Deputy Minister that government could not spend hundreds and thousands and millions of Rand on investigations. Government had come up with a lot of measures, including the COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme guarantee, distribution of food parcels, R350 grants and PPEs. Ms Abrahams alleged that there was a corruption network in the supply chain management (SCM) of the departments. Of the Supplementary Budget of R145 billion, R122.4 billion had been allocated That should be debated because it would not be the solution. Mr Shivambu suggested that, instead of getting National Treasury to self-regulate and create mechanisms to deal with the issues and prevent it, perhaps Parliament should have a mechanism to closely monitor all expenditure relating to Covid-19 pandemic procurement. Co-Chairperson Maswanganyi requested the Committee Secretaries to verify Members present. Conference expenditure must not exceed the rates below: 8 The consequences of that could be very severe. The President sometimes talked about the capability of the state which should be used to empower small enterprises. He wanted to pay homage to front-line workers, be they health workers, members of the security cluster, law enforcement, or disaster management. It was necessary to ask who had given the instruction to sanitise those areas that did not need to be sanitised. What was the timeline for that? Was there no system that could automatically identify companies that had directors linked to the state? He added that it also behove the Executive authorities at national and provincial level to ensure that the Accounting Officers did what they were supposed to do. They would have to consider the case of the politically exposed persons (PEPs) and deal with them. The Department of Basic Education had sanitised schools which had then stood empty for months and which were then were sanitised again before learners started school. He requested a specific commitment for the timeline of that process. There had to be urgent action. It was largely anecdotal evidence that was coming out but it was clearly a very big problem and he was sure that everyone wanted to eradicate that. detailed Treasury Instructions was an illusion, and in fact accountability was undermined, as departments were required to obtain ‘approval’ from Treasury for example, to ‘write-off’ minor debts. National Treasury for acquiring mobile communication services. Was action being contemplated – and if so what - against suppliers who had provided equipment that was below standard which had resulted in people becoming sick and dying. Some departments were not doing that and that would be investigated. The Auditor-General would begin to audit the Supplementary Budget immediately and not wait until the end of the financial year. He also noted that all the items required for Covid-19 were not new but had been bought by the state on an ongoing basis and so National Treasury had provided a list of suppliers who had previously supplied the goods. The new measures will be Instruction Note 5 of 2020/21 for … Other Members were concerned about why early warnings of corruption had not been taken seriously. The task of stopping corruption had to be dealt with by Parliament immediately, and not later. The overall direction in which the country was going would require the strengthening of political systems, strengthening the role of public representatives and Executives, strengthening the role of auditing and accounting, and strengthening the prosecutorial systems to ensure that any malfeasance was taken care of. He informed Committee Members that centralised procurement was not possible as National Treasury could not procure everything. Corruption Watch had written to National Treasury in April 2020, alerting the Department to the enormous possibility of corruption happening under the emergency procurement regulations. Co-Chairperson Carrim stated that immediate action was needed and he thought that every Member of the Committee thought that. That was a common experience of the lack of professionalism or courtesy from the Minister’s office. The majority of the R1.4 trillion voted in went to the procurement of a huge range of goods from pencils to petrol. And he had to take action, if necessary. Mr Mogajane stated that the Minister would address the issue of politically exposed persons but he could comment on middlemen. He had heard the concerns that National Treasury might not have the capacity and that it was not optimum in terms of numbers and skills because Treasury dealt with the whole of the state, including all departments and public entities. They generally specify what the Chief Executive of a department of the Government must do. Mr Mogajane thanked the Members for their questions and comments which would ensure that Treasury modified its plans accordingly and came up with an approach that would be a better production that the one that they had and which would avoid all the loopholes that were currently in the plan. There were also political questions about whether Members’ correspondence had been replied to or not. With a Parliamentary Question, he could answer the questions publicly so that every MP could read his replies. It had become clear that there was a prima facia case to be made that not in all instances had the National Treasury Instruction Note been followed. Latest News more. With the Guptas, Parliament had taken too long to react. The only thing that was stopping it was the political will. The above sets of Minutes were adopted by the Standing Committee on Finance without amendments. but he was worried that the money that should be spent on services to the public would go to chasing criminals, inside and outside of government. An ICT platform should be developed so that departments and entities in rural areas could not be charged more than those in urban areas. There had to be consequences that National Treasury could implement immediately. He had not heard of anyone being held accountable. He explained, as an example, that if a DDG in National Treasury bought 5 000 cloth masks and spent more than R25 per mask, he, as Accounting Officer, had to demand an explanation from the CFO and the DDG who had placed the order. That should apply to all local and provincial Executive Authorities. The Members should debate the thing of centralising. 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