Government Departments and State-owned Entities appeared virtually before different parliamentary committees to present their annual reports and financial statements for the 2020/2021 financial year. And Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana tabled his maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in the National Assembly.
On the first day of the National Assembly Programme Committee meeting, chaos erupted virtually between DA Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone and EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini. This came after National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula identified Mazzone to speak instead of Ntlangwini. Both Ntlangiwini and Mazonne have the same name. They were both on the virtual platform.
Mapisa-Nqakula had to call the two Natashas to order.
“It should be the first and the last time it happens in a Programming Committee. Because people who are sitting in this programme committee are senior leaders from different political parties. I don’t expect that to happen. I did call you to order. Number one, in future honourable Ntlanwgini, I do want to propose that your gadget, because I just looked at the name that says Natasha. So, please make sure that your gadget is properly marked as Natasha Ntlangwini. Because when I saw Natasha I assumed that it was honourable Mazonne. So that was an error on my side. It was not necessary for us to insult one another and to be rude to one another as it has just happened right now,” explained Mapisa-Nqakula.
Office of Public Protector
Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Services Committee Chairperson, Bulelani Magwanishe wanted the assurance that documents at the Office of the Public Protector were well secured. This came after the CEO of the Office of the Public Protector revealed that the Office does not have sufficient security personnel at many of its offices across the country except at head office.
Magwanishe hinted that the matter could be discussed off the virtual platform.
“In line with the ConCourt Judgment, the Nkandla judgment, you might not have security in the form of warm bodies. Maybe you might not want to respond to the question on a virtual platform or publicly. But are you satisfied with the security of documents? If you would want to respond in writing it would be fine,” Magwanishe said.
In response, Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane gave the assurance that information and documents were safe but would brief the committee offline in detail.
“We will respond in writing chairperson, but we are at a very advanced stage on that process. We have got a senior manager (of) security who’s working with the State Security Agency on the issue of how we comply to meet the minimum security standards documents. So, we will provide the portfolio committee with the processes within the institution on how we secure any information and documents relevant to our work.”
SARS collects R38 billion more
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) told the Standing Committee on Finance that it had collected R38 billion more than it’s expected. It says the main contributions come from Personal Income Tax, Value Added Tax and Corporate Income Tax.
However, SARS says there are still many employers who collect taxes without paying them over to Sars. It says non-compliant employers will be criminally prosecuted.
“Notwithstanding that we have continued, based on a number of factors that I will refer to, to see an improvement in revenue collection. In fact, you will recall that between October estimate, when the minister announced the forward projection and the subsequent February review, there was a R100 billion upward division revised to R121.212 trillion,” said SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter.
Statistics South Africa says preparations to conduct the 2022 Census are already under way. It will be the first digital census conducted in South Africa.
Stats SA Census countdown
Stats SA says the hundred days countdown for Census has started on 25th October. Stats SA was briefing the Public Service and Administration Committee virtually on its 2020/2021 annual report and financial statements.
It says 165 000 field workers will be employed to conduct the census starting in February.
“So, at midnight on the night of 2nd of February 2022, our field workers will start reaching out to members of the public, largely homeless people. Now, homeless people are usually forgotten. So, you have to reach them out on that night and capture them where they are. It’s the same with children born in hospitals. They will leave to their homes. So, you capture them at their institution of birth. Right on that night, we will be in the hospitals capturing the number of births on the children that are born (on) that night,” says Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke.
Mid-Term Budget Speech
In his maiden Mid-Term Budget Speech, Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana revealed that the cash-strapped State-owned Entities will not receive any additional funding from government over the next three years. He told MPs that nearly R300 billion was spent over the last seven years just to bail out financially struggling SoE’s.
Denel is the only State-owned Entity that will receive a new allocation of R2.9 billion.
“From 2013, the government directed more than R290 billion to bail out state-owned companies at the expense of important social expenditure. Going forward, the restructuring of state-owned companies, informed by an assessment of their strategic relevance, is a priority. In this MTBPS, no additional funding is provided for state-owned companies. The exception to this is where guarantees have been called, but creditors and conditions have been met by the SoE in question, within the context of their strategic importance,” Godongwana said.
VIDEO: 2021 Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement