Yesterday was a historic day in the Provincial Legislature in the Eastern Cape. The standing committee of Public Accounts (SCOPA) sat to deal with the 2011/12 audited financial statements of Departments. Usually SCOPA only deals with these audited reports a year or two years later after the fact.

I and other members of the house have been calling for this change for many years. This change will ensure that the recommendations made by SCOPA are relevant and current. If quarterly reports, on SCOPA’s recommendations, are submitted regularly to the committee, then this will ensure that the general oversight of Departments in the Province is tightened up.

This is a positive move and can assist to improve service delivery in the Eastern Cape. The DA believes that three key steps can help to improve service delivery in the Eastern Cape:

1. There needs to be competency testing for Senior Managers where there are repeatedly negative audit findings. This will ensure that the emphasis is shifted from “turn around plans” to where the real problem lies. We are sick and tired of hearing of turn around plans when one is really dealing with a people problem.

2. There needs to be real accountability within Departments. Performance agreements need to be signed at all levels and need to be enforced. For example – performance agreements need to be signed between principals of schools and Departments.

3. Updated reports on the implementation of SCOPA recommendations need to be submitted to the committee on a quarterly basis and debated in the house. In this way one will be able to more easily enforce committee recommendations as opposed to letting the matter rest to the following year.

The Democratic Alliance is committed to improving service delivery in this Province and believes that the new approach by SCOPA will bear fruit.

We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the Eastern Cape becomes a place of rising opportunity for all, not a failed Province.