HUNDREDS OF COMMENTS: The informally named twin peaks bill will go back to Parliament in August. Organisations representing the banks and savers have already expressed their views on the bill. Picture: THE TIMES
The National Assembly. Picture: THE TIMES

PARLIAMENT’s joint standing committee on the national legislature’s financial management has agreed to meet the auditor-general on October 12 to discuss the audit outcomes of Parliament’s annual report.

Parliament received a clean audit for the 2015-16 financial year, but auditor-general Kimi Makwetu pointed out material errors and misstatements on its performance on public participation and international engagements.

The joint standing committee met on Friday morning to discuss its programme to keep the legislature accountable. It is the only committee to which the institution of Parliament must account.

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Committee chairman Vincent Smith said no aspect of the annual report would be off limits during the meeting.

Whether secretary of Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana had to make himself available for its meetings would have to be discussed further, he said.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen welcomed the fact that Makwetu had clarified that Parliament’s financial statements should be tabled within 15 days of the report’s release and provided for in the legislature on a regular basis.

"We need to monitor Parliament on a regular basis so that we do not one day find ourselves with a crisis which we can do nothing about," said Steenhuisen.

He would be keen to discuss the annual report’s stance on wasteful expenditure and the legislature’s reliance on consultants, he said.

IFP committee member Narend Singh told the committee that it should meet at least quarterly but should be flexible enough to look at matters that arose unexpectedly.

"Everything in the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act applies to National Parliament. There is nothing in here that doesn’t apply to the National Parliament. However, provincial legislatures can observe this act and use it as a guide for how they manage their own financial and administrative affairs," said Singh.

Steenhuisen said if Parliament accounted for its statements before members for scrutiny, it would become harder for management to move funds in the direction of items that do not benefit the legislature.