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The Association of Public Accounts Committees (Apac) will migrate to the Speaker’s Forum from 1 April 2018.

The Apac’s strategic plan has been aligned with the Speakers’ Forum imperatives to ensure effective oversight; facilitate exchange of information and best practices; and to discuss issues of mutual concern.

A records management project has begun to ensure that the electronic and physical migration of Apac’s records happens smoothly.

During the Apac presentation to the Speakers’ Forum, Apac Chairperson Ms Nthabiseng Khunou proposed a joint workshop of Apac and the Legislative Sector Secretaries to discuss the Apac implementation plan.

Apac comprises the nine provincial Public Accounts Committees and Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts. It was established in 1997. The association is modelled on the Canadian and Australian public accounts associations.

“This joint venture with the Speakers’ Forum will strengthen governance structures in order to enhance transparency, accountability and oversight in the public sector, engaging the public [and] civil society organisations, as well as building capacity for both the Apac and Speakers’ Forum for effective and efficient oversight in the public sector,” said Ms Khunou.

This is to enable the sector to effectively deliver on its mandate of oversight and accountability. The decision was also necessitated by the fact that the Auditor-General was providing support for the body, something that raises a conflict of interests as the Auditor-General reports to the structure.

Among the current objectives of Apac is to improve the quality and performance of South Africa’s Public Accounts Committees and the capacity of their individual members.

After Apac’s migration next year it is expected that, together with the Speakers’ Forum, they will liaise with the Auditor-General to improve the effectiveness of the public audit service.

Sibongile Maputi and Mlindi Mpindi
20 April 2017