Deputy Speaker, hon members, comrades, friends, it is an honour to present to the House the work undertaken by the Standing Committee on Appropriations on the Third Quarter Expenditure Report for the 2011-12 financial year, as adopted on 11 May 2012. The committee remains committed to rigorous scrutiny of government spending in order to ensure that service delivery is improved. Given the constrained fiscal framework environment, it is imperative that government finds the correct balance between actual expenditure and actual performance.
The Third Quarter Expenditure Report provides a detailed overview of government's spending for the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 December 2011. The committee treats the Third Quarter Expenditure Report with the utmost importance as it provides an indication as to how departments will be able to effectively spend their budgets by the end of the financial year. In many instances departments spend around 60% at the end of the third quarter, and at the end of the year departments exhaust their budgets.
The committee is of the view that it is not possible and it is reflective of fiscal dumping, which does not translate into actual service delivery. The committee found that in some instances departments did not prioritise projects earmarked for job creation. In particular, departments are prone to shift funds away from planned job creation projects to other priorities. The committee recommends that National Treasury, as a custodian of public finances, ensures that funds allocated for job creation to line departments are used for that purpose.
It is important that Parliament arrests the situation as a lot of programmes intended to change the lives of the poor are compromised. For example, by the end of the third quarter, the Department of Communications had budgeted for the establishment of 112 call centres, but has not utilised this budget. These 112 call centres would have created a number of job opportunities and promoted a number of SMEs.
The Departments of Water and Environmental Affairs and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have also not performed well on the programmes that promote job creation like Working for Water. An amount of R118 million was budgeted for that programme, but nothing was spent at the end of the third quarter. An amount of R60 million was budgeted for Working for Fire, and nothing was spent at the end of the third quarter. The water infrastructure programme was allocated a budget of R2,6 billion, but spent only R803 million or 33,7% at the end of the third quarter.
The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have also been delaying the construction of dams such as Nandoni, and this is a cause for concern, since it compromises the delivery of water to the people of Limpopo. Another example is the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. The restitution programme, which is Programme 4 of the department, spent only 36% at the end of the third quarter. This is a critical government programme for the transformation of land ownership in South Africa.
The department, as at the end of the third quarter, had a backlog of over 8 000 claims that had been registered. The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is another example of where there was underspending due to municipalities not having central banks, as required by law.
In conclusion, the committee commends many government departments that have spent according to their projection. Thank you.
There was no debate.
The Chief Whip of the Majority Party: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.