Last night the Select Committee on Appropriations was scheduled to consider final mandates from the provincial legislatures on the Division of Revenue Amendment (DORA) Bill despite the fact that the Bill was only transferred to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence on Wednesday, 18 November 2015.
Examination of the final mandates presented to the Committee yesterday however revealed that three provincial legislatures, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Northern Cape, had deliberated on the DORA Bill prior to its having been referred from the National Assembly (NA).
Both section 76 of the Constitution and section five of the Mandating Procedures of Provinces Act prohibit provincial legislatures from negotiating and conferring final mandates before the tabling of the DORA Bill.
Our NCOP delegates, led by Elza van Lingen, convinced the Select Committee that the NCOP could not lawfully consider mandates from provincial legislatures – which it was clearly attempting to – before the Bill was formally referred to it.
This is a resounding success for the Democratic Alliance in Parliament and follows on our continued efforts to ensure that Parliament does not process the budget bills in an unlawful manner due to the ANC’s poor programming and absent Caucus.
Next week provincial legislatures and the NCOP will sit to formally deliberate the DORA Bill, and the Portfolio Committee on Appropriations will subsequently sit to deliberate the Adjustments Appropriations Bills.
The ANC Chief Whip, Stone Sizani, and Parliament’s Presiding Officers’ bungling of the budget process this year has put undue pressure on Parliament and the opposition.
Had Sizani ensured that the budget process was started in July, instead of waiting for October, Parliament would not be in the current predicament.
Regardless the DA will continue to exercise oversight and ensure that these bills are processed according to the law and the Constitution.