Parliamentary Oversight Report

Parliamentary Oversight Dashboard

OUTA’s mandate is generally focused on examining how money is spent, how monies collected by the fiscus are allocated by the National Treasury to ensure that South Africa is a healthy society, with an economy that serves its people.  In our annual Parliamentary Oversight Reports, looking at our expectations of MPs, we examine Parliament’s role in conducting oversight over the national government departments. The National Assembly portfolio committees are required to peruse the plans of the relevant departments and their budgets and make recommendations as to changes that must be made.  

Parliament has 27 National Assembly portfolio committees aligned to the executive departments in cabinet.  OUTA is able to analyse only a small number of committees relevant to OUTA’s projects, to ascertain what the committees put forward. OUTA currently monitors 11 portfolio committees:

1. Communications and Digital Technologies

2. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

3. Forestry, Fisheries and Environment

4. Health

5. Higher Education, Science & Innovation

6. Home Affairs

7. Mineral Resources and Energy

8. Public Enterprises

9. Transport

10. Water and Sanitation

11. Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities

Qualitatively, OUTA analyses the extent to which annual Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) recommendations are followed-through on in portfolio committee meetings as well as in the following year’s Annual Performance Plan (APP). In October, as per the parliamentary cycle, departments and state-owned entities are required to report to Parliament on their progress for the year. The Auditor-General South Africa also report on their findings.  Each portfolio committee then produces a BRRR.  To assess whether the MPs are ensuring that they consider current affairs, corruption allegations etc, the BRRR recommendations are compared with the departments’ APPs to see whether any of the recommendations change the way that the executive carry out its work. This qualitative analysis attempts to ascertain if recommendations from MPs have been acted on by the Executive.

Quantitatively, OUTA analyses the performance of the portfolio committees through the following matrix:

1. The number committee meetings that each portfolio holds

2. The number of times the Executive attend committee meetings

3. The number of stakeholders engagements (including public hearings held) 

4. The number of civil society engagements

5. The number of oral and written questions posed to and answered by the Executive

Whereas the annual Parliamentary Oversight Reports reflect the findings of both the qualitative and quantitative studies, the dashboard visualises the average attendance of portfolio committee meetings by the Executive, the number of stakeholder engagements held (such as public hearings on bills), as well as the number of engagements held with the civil society organisations.