The Standing Committee on Finance, together with the Select Committee on Finance held a virtual joint meeting on Tuesday morning, and each of them adopted committee reports, separately, on the Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and budgets of the National Treasury, as well as the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

However, the adoption of the reports was not unanimous amongst all members of the two committees across different political party lines. In both committees, members form the Democratic Alliance reserved their comments, whereas members from the Economic Freedom Fighters and Freedom Front Plus raised their objections to the reports.

The National Treasury and SARS briefed the committee on 5 May 2020 on their APPs and budgets, in which they presented an estimated budget of R33.1 billion for the 2020/21 financial year.

Members held a prolonged discussion on whether it should be specified in the report that race should not be a factor in administering R200 billion loan guarantee to businesses, but the majority of the members held a view that the guarantee should be provided in line with the existing redress legislation and policies.

The committees directed the National Treasury, during discussions on the reports, to prepare a presentation on loans that will be borrowed from international financial institutions as part of the R500 billion Covid-19 stimulus package. Members similarly requested to be briefed on the progress report by the task team that is dealing with illicit financial flows and tax evasion.

The National Treasury was further directed to prepare reports and brief the committees on the challenges facing the Land Bank, as well as measures that will be applied to resolve them; and the implementation of the Mpati Commission report.

The Director-General of the National Treasury, Mr Dondo Mogajane, told members that his department has been meeting on a weekly basis with the Land Bank to find ways to bring about stability at the bank.

The Lan Bank is a government-owned development financial institution that provides loans to farmers in order to ensure food security in the country, whereas the Mpati Commission is the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding the Public Investment Corporation appointed by the President on 17 October 2018.

On matters relating to SARS, the committees requested a presentation on the implementation of various reports in order to enhance revenue collection, including the Nugent Commission report, the Davis Tax Committee report, and the Katz Commission report.

By Justice Molafo

 19 May 2020