Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation
Speech by Cheryllyn Dudley, MP and Whip
The ACDP welcomes the unqualified audit report despite the material findings - this is a step in the right direction.
We also acknowledge upfront that the Department has operated within a tight budget despite its growing responsibilities and that an unpredictable foreign exchange, places this department, perhaps more than any other, at risk - of operations, especially in the Missions where the bulk of its activities take place - of being negatively impacted.
With this in mind we commend the department on its achievements both administratively and in the Mission field.
The ACDP fully supports the Committee recommendations that training programmes for officers responsible for financial statements, procurement, supply chain management and asset management be identified and implemented; and that a skills audit in the finance unit takes place to determine whether there is appropriate capacity to address the root causes of recurring qualified audit opinions for the past four years.
An Upgrade of ICT infrastructure, and comparative studies on best practices for management - of Locally Recruited Personnel, assets and foreign exchange fluctuations - will be crucial in moving forward.
It should of course also go without saying that the Accounting Officer must have the necessary mandate and capacity to deal with and oversee the implementation of turnaround strategies aimed at addressing the root causes of recurring audit findings.
Once again, the ACDP calls on Parliament to ensure that the Parliamentary Committee responsible for the oversight of DIRCO can- at least once a year - conduct oversight on South African Missions abroad - if the Committee is to monitor causes of irregular expenditure and non-compliance with supply chain management - this is essential.
On the global stage the United Nations Human Rights Committee has been drafting General Comment 36 on the right to life under Article 6 of the ICCPR. The current version of this draft will effectively require all States to allow abortion up until birth and make it virtually impossible to enforce any regulations or restrictions that exist in criminal law. It will also potentially force States to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide.
The ACDP calls on the Minister to ensure that South Africa is not dictated to on these controversial issues. The CTOP Act in South Africa clearly recognizes the increasing interests of the developing unborn child and leaves no question that this was the intention of the legislators.
South African people hold diverse positions on many issues - this being one of the most contentious. An issue which has divided countries like the USA resulting in radical and even irrational responses.
The ACDP calls on government to ensure South Africa holds a strong principled position that does not exclude the deep convictions of the majority of South Africans, in this regard.