Committee considers improving ‘oversight of presidency’


A delegation from the rules committee of the National Assembly will go to the United Kingdom next week “to determine how oversight of the presidency can be improved”.

Parliament is considering establishing a committee that can improve its oversight of aspects of the presidency, as there are currently parts of the presidency that existing structures do not oversee.

This intended committee is one of the recommendations made by the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture after corruption and fraud crippled many state organs.

The parliamentary budget office had earlier carried out an investigation to determine which aspects of the presidency could be subject to further review, but concluded that further research into the matter would be beneficial.

International best practices, which are particularly applied by the United Kingdom, were reflected upon, and in April this year the rules committee agreed to undertake a study tour to their counterparts in this country.

Moloto Mothapo, spokesperson for the parliament, says that the decision was made on the United Kingdom because of the similarities between the South African system and the Westminster parliamentary system.

“They are fundamentally the same in that both have a separate executive and legislature, as well as two legislative chambers and both follow very similar rules, procedures and behavioral conventions,” says Mothapo.

“The delegation hopes that the study tour will help to empower them and provide a very clear picture on how to ensure that there is a set mechanism to oversee the presidency.”

The multi-party delegation led by Cedric Frolick, the parliament’s chairman of committees, will hold talks from Tuesday to Thursday with political representatives and procedural experts from Westminster, as well as relevant institutions, in order to the procedures and conventions regarding the oversight mandate of the British House of Commons and establishing the accounting responsibilities of the prime minister.

The delegation will also learn what processes and procedures their counterparts follow in carrying out committee enquiries; the processing of state budgets, as well as the support provided to committees to analyze budgets; public participation in legislation; and the mandate and role of the environmental audit committee and the climate change committee.

Members of the delegation include Qubudile Dyantyi and Hope Papo of the ANC, Dr. Annelie Lotriet of the DA, Narend Singh of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IVP) and Dr. Cornelius Mulder of the FF Plus.

The delegation will be accompanied by the secretary of the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso, and three other officials, including the director of the parliamentary budget office, dr. Dumisani Jantjies.