Dear Cape Town
The DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, notifying her that the proposed amendments to the Appropriations Bill be considered in the National Assembly on Tuesday, 23 July 2019.
This follows a ruling made by the Appropriations Committee on Friday 19 June, in which it indicated that no amendments made to the 2019 Appropriations Bill will be considered. This despite existing legislation which allow for due consideration on amendments made to the Appropriations Bill.
The committee is deliberately trying to sidestep the law and instead, use the committee to rubber-stamp legislation without adequate public participation. Failure to consider the Appropriations Bill amendments is unconstitutional and amounts to the abuse of Parliament.
The DA’s proposed amendments (attached here), which were submitted on Friday, 12 July 2019, include:
- An additional R2 billion towards combating crime;
- An additional R3 billion towards job creation and skills development;
- An additional R3.4 billion towards improving healthcare.
These are all budget neutral proposals which will be funded by reducing expenditure in ancillary areas such as VIP security.
A key function of parliament is to consider legislation and enable public participation in the formation of legislation. It is unfortunate that the chairperson of the Appropriations committee, which focuses on the national budget, has sought to override this key function and arbitrarly seek to block input from public representatives.
The ANC’s position contradicts the statement issued by the committee in which it states that “The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Sfiso Buthelezi, highlighted the importance of public participation in the budget process, and encouraged the meeting to look at ways of motivating members of the public to participate in the budget process to create a “people’s budget”. The ANC is better advised not to make a mockery of the people’s Parliament by changing tune on public participation as and when it suits him.
On Tuesday, the ANC will be tested on whether it has the will to uphold the constitution, by considering proposed amendments to the appropriations bill. They will also be tested to see whether they have the will to combat crime, to improve healthcare and to create jobs and a skilled labour force.
DA Member of the Standing Committee on Appropriations