The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has resolved to invite the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) to clarify what appeared to be discrepancies in financial figures contained in Dirco’s budget vote presentation.

The committee Chairperson Ms Tandi Mahambehlala said accurate information on Dirco’s programmes is essential, particularly because the committee is required to publish its report in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee reports before a budget vote debate can take place. Accountability and oversight are among the key responsibilities for Parliament’s committees, she said.

“The department should provide reasons for this discrepancy in figures. It would be highly appreciated if these figures are clarified. Those reports may look the same, but there is a R300 million variance and that should be clarified,” she said.

Dirco’s Director-General, Mr Kgabo Mahoai, clarified that the discrepancy is because figures in the annual performance plan (APP) were based on an indicative baseline and not the actual figures.

Members voiced concerns with the impact this may have on the committee’s oversight role.

The committee resolved to adopt the figures as represented in the APP, as Ms Mahambehlala said these appeared to be accurate and contained no discrepancies. The department will be asked to return after the budget vote to explain the discrepancy between figures in the presentation to the committee last week and those in the APP.

Dirco’s Deputy Minister, Mr Alwyn Botes, welcomed the robustness with which the committee handled the matter and said he would brief the Minister. “We support the oversight role of the committee and how it robustly dealt with this issue. Issues of integrity in financial figures are crucial,” he said.

The report was adopted with amendments. Dirco’s budget will be debated tomorrow, Thursday.

Sibongile Maputi
10 July 2019