DA proposes changes to Public Finance Management Act for more transparency

DA MP Alf Lees’s draft Private Member’s Bill to amend the Public Finance Management Act will come before Parliament’s Finance Committees for consideration.

Eskom flags. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is proposing a change to the Public Finance Management Act to allow for more transparency and greater parliamentary oversight when it comes to government guarantees granted to state-owned entities.

The government has extended guarantees amounting to more than R460 billion, of which Eskom accounts for around R350 billion.

DA MP Alf Lees says this represents high levels of debt and liability, should any entity default on repaying its loans.

Lees says the government guarantees are issued by the Finance Minister, but that Parliament is left out of the loop when it comes to oversight.

“What we’re proposing in the bill is that we won’t change the way the mandate works, but what we will require is that if a government guarantee is to be issued, or even if it’s rejected, the Minister of Finance must within 30 days table a report to Parliament, so that at the very least Parliament is aware of what is happening with guarantees, even if it does not require parliamentary approval.”

Lees’s draft Private Member’s Bill to amend the Public Finance Management Act will come before Parliament’s Finance Committees for consideration.

“This is a very short, two-paragraph bill, simply to enforce transparency.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)