Mr Speaker, Sir                                                                                                       11 May 2010

Comrades and honourable members.


May I state from the start the APC’s support for the Budget.  Parliament’s key responsibility is to make laws and overseer executive action.  At the beginning; which is 1994; there was the necessary focus on law making to transform our country into a non-racial, non-sexist democracy.


Progressively the shift, especially in this 4th Parliament, has been to focus on the very important aspect of oversight.  Clearly the space and energy is there to hold the executive to account;  but there is still room for improvement especially in terms of focus, depth and impact.  Parliament has a responsibility to empower or capacitate its Committees and Committee members have an obligation to do this work diligently.


Yes, the Executive accounts to parliament.  But it does require restatement that this is both a political and Constitutional mandate, and a matter of personal preference.  Poorly capacitated Committees render oversight a mere formality without the mutual enlightenment that enhances the quality of service delivery.  The Executive has a responsibility to ensure that the information brought to parliament is qualitative;  accurate, and timeous.   That is, officials do not come before committees ill-prepared; they don’t mislead Members of Parliament;  annual reports do not have inaccurate data and facts;  reports are submitted in time.


The APC is raising these issues, Mr Speaker, Sir because in the past financial year we have seen officials coming unprepared and having to be sent back; or blatantly misleading members and annual reports that without cause come to parliament very late or not at all.


Oversight over the Executive is an indispensable necessity that must be done without fear;  favour or prejudice.  And Committees must not be seen to be seeking favours with the Executive at the expense of robust oversight.


Parliament’s support for Committees has been tardy.  Sometimes there is a pedestrian approach to attending to Committee challenges. Committees are the engines of parliament.  Let us hope that beginning with the new increases in the allocations to Committees there will be changes for the better. Certainly there are visible improvements but much more still needs to be done.


As parliament, we represent our people.  Their hopes and dreams for a better life in some way depend on our work.  This is a People’s Parliament, let the needs and concerns of our people be at the centre of our work. 


The APC is steadfast in its commitment to working for a society that is democratic in form, non-racial in character and socialistic in content.




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