Parliament, Saturday, 05 December 2020 - At its last hybrid plenary sitting for the year, the National Assembly passed the Second Adjustments Appropriations Bill yesterday.

The Finance Minister tabled the Second Adjustments Appropriation Bill on 28 October 2020 during the presentation of the 2020 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament. The Money Bills and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009 (As amended) requires the tabling of a national adjustments budget by the Finance Minister as envisaged in section 30 of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999. It provides that an adjustments appropriation Bill must be tabled with a national adjustments budget. Accordingly, the National Assembly referred the Bill to the Committee on Appropriations for consideration and report on 11 November 2020.

The Committee facilitated a process of public participation by inviting the general public and all interested stakeholders to make written submissions and comments on the Bill. The C19 People’s Coalition and the Public Service Accountability Monitor were among those that made comments on the Bill.

Having considered the inputs from the stakeholders on the Bill, the Standing Committee on Appropriations welcomed the R37.7 billion additional allocation proposed in this Bill on Vote allocations. The Committee is of the view that this is crucial in allowing the government to continue providing services to all South Africans despite the negative impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had to public finances.

The Committee recommended that the Minister of Finance must ensure that National Treasury reports to the Committee on the disbursement and utilisation of the R12.6 billion proposed allocation for the presidential employment interventions. The Committee wants to exercise its oversight function on this expenditure and the number of employment opportunities it creates for South Africans who have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Considering the high levels of crime in South Africa, particularly crime against women and children, the Committee recommends that the Minister of Finance should consider allocating more funding to the South African Police Services (SAPS) in the 2021 budget. The Committee is of the view that the proposed R5.9 billion allocation reduction to the SAPS may have a negative impact in its ability to deliver on its mandate.

The Committee also recommended that the Minister of Finance must review the sources from which money has been withdrawn for funding the South African Airways and find alternatives that do not undermine service delivery and development programmes in the 2021 Appropriations Bill.

The Bill was passed without amendments and sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

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