Advocacy Documents

Research report on public finance oversight: the provinces

The Putting the People in ‘People’s Parliament’ Project (PPiPP) works to increase the participation of civil society organisations in legislatures, particularly at provincial level, including through increasing public knowledge on the role of legislatures and legislature processes. One important aspect of this is oversight of public finances. In line with that objective, this report constitutes a first attempt to understand public finance oversight processes, in theory and practice, at the provincial level. To do so, it first discusses national legislation and processes, then examines the corresponding situation at provincial level (in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape). The drafting of provincial money bills amendment legislation presents both an opportunity to reflect on and improve these processes, but is also a risk in as much as it could cement failings of the status quo.

Open letter: Oversight and participatory democracy during the COVID-19 National State of Disaster – the legislatures role

11 CSOs working towards open and accountable legislatures have sent an open letter to the Speakers of Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures, and to the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces to encourage measures to support their functioning within South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy during this time of crisis and uncertainty. Even though elected representatives should not meet physically due to the lock-down and social distancing, they and the legislatures, continue to have an important democratic role to play, to exercise oversight over the executive and to ensure that the experiences of people most marginalised in our society are taken into account in planning and implementation during this period.

OPEN LETTER: Effective legislative oversight, transparency and engagement during the national state of disaster

On 25 March 2020, a group of civil society organisations working towards open and accountable legislatures, with a vested interest in promoting participatory democracy sent a letter which sought to engage Parliament prior to the period of lockdown. Despite making several recommendations to ready the institution and legislatures to continue their work into the state of disaster. The response from the legislatures was weak. Following a lack of response to the original letter, these organisations and others have today written again to the leadership of national and provincial legislatures appealing to them to ensure transparency, effective legislative oversight, and public engagement during the national state of disaster. The organisations have also again offered to support the legislatures as they grapple with some of these difficult, but critical questions.

Submission to Parliament: Virtual public participation and recommendations for enhanced virtual public access to the work of Parliament

This submission follows two previous substantive communications relating to the functioning of the legislatures during the national disaster that were sent on 25 March 2020 and on 10 April 2020. These communications, the substantive issues raised, and our offers to support Parliament in its efforts to operate as a public forum serving the interests of the people of South Africa, have been met with silence from your respective offices. What follows is an assessment of how we have experienced the recent efforts of the National Parliament in migrating to full time virtual meetings, and proposals for enhancements in the mechanisms to be used to ensure that no citizen is left behind.

Research Report: Testing the Limits of Openness, Transparency and Access to Information – Public Access to Information that Parliament Requests from Departments

The Parliamentary Monitoring Group and the Dullah Omar Institute’s overall intention with this project is to support transparency and public access to information. We did this by assessing how often parliamentary committees rely on requests for information in addition to that which is presented or provided to committees during the public space of a meeting; to try to assess the extent to which departments comply with these requests; and to see how available these documents are to the public. The research concludes that the systems and processes to ensure that such additional requested information is both provided to committees by departments and made available to the public require urgent attention. Otherwise, the effect is that the Executive responses to Committees oversight questions are never made public. This is the equivalent of an ‘in camera’ meeting.

People's Guide to the Adjusted Budget

PPiPP partners, The Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) have created an easily accessible resource titled 'A People's Guide to the Adjusted Budget 2021/22'. The Guide provides an explanation on the changes to the amounts of money allocated to departments and their programmes after the passing of the national budget in Parliament.This year's guide notes changes to the education, water and sanitation and other sectors while providing an overview of Covid-19 related spending.

Money Bills and Provincial Legislatures: An Overview and Update: November 2021

The purpose of this report is primarily to provide an update on the status of money bills amendment legislation across provincial legislatures in South Africa. It follows from an earlier, much more detailed, report: Fiscal Oversight by Parliament and Provincial Legislatures (2019). Readers who are interested in more background, technical detail and analysis should read the earlier report as well.

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