Proposed changes to Public Audit Bill
(to seek opinion of Madam Speaker as chairperson of the Rules Committee)
(changes sought through which to establish full and appropriate governance and accountability arrangements for the Auditor-General)
Part 1: Establishment and Functions
47. (1) That an Audit Commission be established to serve as the National Assembly mechanism in terms of sections 181(5) and 55(2)(b)(ii) of the Constitution (Act 108 of 1966).
(2) That the Audit Commission operates under the rules of the National Assembly.
48. (1) For the purpose of establishing arrangements necessary for the Auditor General to account to it, the Audit Commission must fulfill the following functions-
(2) The Audit Commission may contract for the services of consultants and other persons that may be reasonably required for the performance of its functions. Expenditure incurred in terms of this subsection must be defrayed from the funds allocated to it by the National Assembly.
49. The Audit Commission must annually submit to the National Assembly a report on its activities and the performance of its functions. The Commission must submit its report when the Auditor-Generalís annual report is submitted to the National Assembly in terms of section 40(4).
Part 2: Composition and membership
50. The Audit Commission consists of ten members of the National Assembly
51. The members of the Audit Commission are appointed by the National Assembly in terms of National Assembly practice.
53. The Chairperson of the will be chosen by the Commission in terms of the National Assembly practice.
Conduct of members
54. A members of the Audit Commission must act with fidelity, honesty, integrity and in the best interests of the Auditor-General.
Termination of membership
55. (1) A member ceases to be a member of the Audit Commission if that person ceases to be a member of the National Assembly
Part 3: Operating procedures
No changes recommended
Searches of premises, vehicles and persons
Recommend that we are guided by the advise of the Chairperson of the Justice portfolio committee
Audit reports on confidential, secret or classified accounts
This section could be considered controversial in terms of transparency, independence, interpretation of "national interest", unauthorized expenditure process, due process, practice in other democracies etc.
As we do not know if the President/Executive actually wants this provision it is recommended that we first seek their views on the matter. If they believe it to be necessary, we should ask that they help us understand the necessity of its inclusion.
If we concede it to be necessary, then, if the amended section 5 is agreed to (Audit Commission) then we might consider adding the inclusion of the Audit Commission (under oath of secrecy if necessary) at any consultation (see 22(1)(b)).