Radebe to brief MPs on govt spending's mandate paper

Standing Committee on Finance chairperson Yunus Carrim told the meeting MPs should have access to the mandate paper even if some parts had to remain under wraps.

FILE: Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Minister Jeff Radebe will brief parliamentarians on the mandate paper that gives his department the power to prioritise government spending, amid concern that this undermines the Treasury.

Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have complained about being denied access to the mandate paper, which forms part of a new approach to the budget process.

A formal request by Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier for the mandate paper was rejected on the basis that it is a “classified Cabinet record”.

But Members of Parliament’s budget office freely referred to the document while briefing MPs ahead of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s medium-term budget policy statement on Tuesday.

DA MP Alan Mcloughlin objected: “We’re at a bit of a disadvantage because we’re told here that part of what we’re looking at is derived from this executive mandate paper, which is a document we’re denied access to - it’s classified.”

Standing Committee on Finance chairperson Yunus Carrim told the meeting MPs should have access to the mandate paper even if some parts had to remain under wraps.

“So there may be aspects of the mandate paper that we can’t have access to and other aspects that we can. That which we can have access to I think we should have access to, I don’t see a problem.”

He also told MPs that Radebe had agreed to brief MPs after Wednesday's medium-term budget policy statement.

Maynier says it’s bizarre the document is classified when the Constitution says budget processes “must promote transparency”.

Radebe last month said the mandate paper prioritised jobs, social security and higher education.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)