House Chairperson, the Finance Bill was tabled in Parliament on 22 February 2012, by the Minister of Finance during the tabling of the 2012 Budget.
The Finance Bill seeks to gain approval from Parliament regarding unauthorised expenditure as per the recommendation of the Committee on Public Accounts in the National Assembly.
Unauthorised expenditure contravenes the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the Public Finance Management Act, Act 1 of 1999, and can only become a charge against the National Revenue Fund if authorised by Parliament. The Finance Bill provides for the authorisation of national government unauthorised expenditure arising from the 1998-99 to 2003-04 financial years as well as the 2008-09 financial year. This process is aligned to section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act.
Section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act provides that unauthorised expenditure becomes a charge against a revenue fund only when the expenditure is an overspending of a Vote and Parliament approves, as a direct charge against the relevant revenue fund, an additional amount for that Vote which covers the overspending, or if the expenditure is unauthorised for another reason and Parliament authorises the expenditure as a direct charge against the revenue fund.
If Parliament does not approve an additional amount for the amount of any overspending of a Vote, that amount becomes a charge against the funds allocated to the relevant Vote for the next or future financial years.
The Bill provides authorisation of the national government expenditure in the amount of R544,7 million, of which an additional amount of R40,3 million is recommended for the Defence and Military Veterans Vote for approval as a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund to cover overspending during the 2003-04 financial year. An amount of R20,6 million is recommended as a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund to fund the Defence and Military Veterans Vote to enable the department to clear the amount from its unauthorised expenditure account.
The Defence and Military Veterans Vote surrendered the funds to the National Revenue Fund due to unauthorised expenditure that arose from financing the activities of military museums from the 1998-99 to 2003-04 financial years, as the department did not have the authority to do so. The Defence Act, Act 42 of 2002, now provides the department with the authority to oversee and manage military museums.
No additional amount has been approved to cover the overspending of the Correctional Services Vote during 2008-09. The overexpenditure of R483,3 million will become a charge against the budget allocations of the Department of Correctional Services. This payment must be effected prior to 1 April 2015.
The Select Committee on Appropriations has considered the Finance Bill and moves that the House adopt the Bill. I thank you.
Declaration of vote: