On the Constitutional Imperatives for Fiscal Accountability and Oversight of the NCOP, Prof Omphemetse Sibanda of the University of Limpopo, started off by weighing in on an idea that there is no need for new legislation for oversight and accountability.
In his view, one can never say we have too much legislation when that's asked of us by the constitution: efficiency and equity has not been achieved. "We can't discount that until there's transparency in the management of public finance." He stated that we are all affected by how our fiscus is managed. "Well and sustainable management of budget, public finance accountability will ensure that there's service delivery."
In relation to the NCOP's oversight role in the fiscal framework, he is of the view that perhaps there's a need to craft new legislation to give NCOP greater powers in this regard. Or perhaps a need to strengthen the existing legislation to strengthen the role of the NCOP in this regard. In addition, there is a need of overarching legislation to give effect to the NCOP's role in conducting oversight and accountability over various fiscal frameworks.
He also criticised party political patronage that has over time affected the efficiency of the NCOP and Parliament in executing its oversight mandate. This has contributed towards them "not exacting their oversight influence on either Public Protector recommendations, Auditor-General or courts' findings that call upon it to act impartially due to party political considerations rather than their oversight mandate.
In concluding the first session of the workshop yesterday, the Chief Whip of the NCOP, Mr Seiso Mohai, believes that despite challenges, qualitative strides have been made to build an activist Parliament that seeks to realise the principles of better life for all. However, work must be done to address problems identified. He also raised the need for funding a parliamentary model that is independent from the executive. This would uphold the principle of the separation of powers and would render Parliament more effective in conducting oversight and ensuring accountability.