Parliament wants more funds as National Treasury will cut almost R1 billion over next three years

Secretary to Parliament Xolile George said they need more funding from National Treasury. File Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Secretary to Parliament Xolile George said they need more funding from National Treasury. File Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 15, 2024


Secretary to Parliament Xolile George has called for more funds to be allocated to the national legislature to be able fulfil its law-making process.

Parliament’s chief financial officer Jason O’Hara said National Treasury will cut almost R1 billion over the next three years and the institution needs more money.

He said this year R214 million was cut from the budget and between 2024/25 and 2026/27 financial years, National Treasury will cut R772m.

George said Parliament still has to continue to do its business.

He said the main business of Parliament was to pass laws, but in doing so, it has to meet certain Constitutional requirements. This includes conducting public hearings across the country.

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula met with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana over the allocation of more funds to Parliament.

National Treasury is implementing cost-cutting measures due to low revenue collection.

George said on Friday, during the meeting of the joint standing committee on the financial management of Parliament, that they would also need more more funds to implement the Zondo Commission report into State capture.

Parliament also has to conduct public hearings over laws that are passed.

However, the Constitutional Court has on numerous occasions referred back some of the laws to Parliament because of lack of public participation.

George said they have not been able to quantify how much it cost for a bill to be passed by both Houses where they have to conduct public hearings.

But they have developed a funding model.

“But in the intervening period there are glaring gaps on the funding of Parliament where consistently year-in, year-out the budget of Parliament continues to be cut, and as it is cut, it puts Parliament in a precarious position. For the last three financial years, parliament has relied on internal savings,” said George.

“Most recently, we have seen a cut of an amount of R214 million on the baseline of Parliament and it leaves us with no option other than to raid various sections under each of the divisions, to be able to complement areas where public participation, oversight and international engagements required more money.

“We have now received a multi-year funding projection in terms of allocations by National Treasury where over the next three years we have seen an amount that goes to R772m to be cut back,” said George.

While they understand there are fiscal challenges, with low revenue collection, the cuts undermine the constitutional mandate of Parliament.

Mapisa-Nqakula met with Godongwana, while George met with National Treasury Director-General Duncan Pieterse where they discussed the implementation of the Zondo Commission Report and oversight work of Parliament, which would require more funds.

They made representations to the National Treasury on how much they will need for their functions.

George said they hope the engagements between Mapisa-Nqakula and Godongwana will yield some positive results.

He said for the last two years he has reflected on how the funding of Parliament makes it difficult to fulfil its constitutional obligation.

Public hearings cost money and Parliament should consider that, he said.

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