Home News DA calls for NC legislature to ‘account for hard lockdown over-expenditure’

DA calls for NC legislature to ‘account for hard lockdown over-expenditure’

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The DA is demanding answers for a “questionable” vehicle rental for the Office of the Speaker during the hard lockdown period, after the office apparently overspent its first quarterly budget by 12 percent.

File image. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

THE DA in the Northern Cape has called for the provincial legislature to account for a “questionable” vehicle rental for the Office of the Speaker during the hard lockdown period, after the office apparently overspent its first quarterly budget by 12 percent.

DA provincial chairperson Harold McGluwa stated that during a portfolio committee meeting last week, the legislature conceded that there was indeed over-expenditure during the period April to June 2020.

“They indicated that this was largely as a result of a vehicle rental. They said the remainder of the over-expenditure was due to repairs and costs incurred by the Office of the Deputy Speaker. They, however, failed to provide more information,” said McGluwa.

He said that the party found it “particularly strange” that the vehicle was rented over the national hard lockdown period.

“During this time travelling was largely halted and the legislature was making use of virtual meetings and legislative proceedings,” McGluwa pointed out’ “At the same time, all other programmes of the legislature had significantly underspent their budgets over this time period.”

McGluwa said that the DA had requested a “full report” on expenditure during the first quarter. “We specifically want to know how much was spent on the car rental, what purposes this vehicle served and whom it was utilised by.

“At a time when the budget has shrunk even further, with government institutions having to get by with significantly less, every cent must be accounted for.

“It is therefore more important than ever before that there is full transparency on all government expenditure, not least of all that of the legislature, which is a key oversight body and which should behave in an exemplary fashion when it comes to good, clean, efficient and cost effective governance.”

The spokesperson for the Office of the Speaker, Mpho Masina, explained that the over-expenditure was not limited to a car rental.

“The legislature’s Office of the Speaker notes that the report presented to the standing committee highlighted an over-expenditure of 12 percent. For the financial year under review the Office of the Speaker is well within the allocated budget,” said Masina.

She added that the Office of the Speaker was in the process of addressing the “misrepresentation” internally.

“The Speaker, Newrene Klaaste, urges the DA to allow for internal finalisation on the matter before presenting it for public consumption, so as to avoid misinforming the public.

“Klaaste holds the oversight function of the legislature in high regard and was adamant when she led the legislature to the presentation last week that, as an oversight body, we should lead by example.”