Monday, 30 July 2018

Letter to the Speaker of Parliament about late payment of suppliers

On Friday I wrote to the Speaker of Parliament drawing her attention to the late payment of Duma Travel, which services MPs and Parliamentary staff travel needs. This follows an email I sent to Parliament's Chief Financial Officer last week after I received a tip off that Duma was owed hundreds of thousands of rands. It seems it could have had some effect - since then Parliament has paid around R700 000 to Duma, though over R800 000 is still outstanding.

You can read my letter below.

27 July 2018
Hon B Mbete MP                                            
Speaker of the National Assembly
Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Dear Madam Speaker
I am writing to you to request an urgent intervention with regards to late payment by Parliament to one of its suppliers.

The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa is expected to be a key role player in job creation in South Africa and this obligation is more crucial than ever with 9.5 million South Africans currently unemployed. Parliament is home to the Portfolio Committee for Small Business Development, yet the institution is failing to pay Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) on time.

One such case is Duma Travel, an SMME that provides travel services to Parliament and is currently struggling to receive payment due to it. As of today, in its latest statement to Parliament, R717,801.24 of the total of R1,267,239.99 due to Duma Travel is 30 days or older (see attached record of amounts due to the company by Parliament).

This is in direct contravention of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act (Act 10 of 2009). Section 33(2)(e) states that “the Accounting Officer must ensure that— all amounts owed by Parliament are paid within 30 days of receiving the relevant invoice or statement”. The Accounting Officer as per the Act is the Acting Secretary of Parliament, Ms P Tyawa.

Section 67(1)(a) of the FMPPL Act states that disciplinary action should be instituted by the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairperson of National Chamber of Provinces, if “[t]he Accounting Officer commits an act of financial misconduct if the Accounting Officer deliberately or negligently contravenes a provision of this Act”.

In light of the abovementioned facts and the relevant legislation, I request that you, as the principal office bearer of the National Assembly, take the necessary steps to instruct Parliament’s Accounting Officer to settle outstanding amounts due to this company and any other companies that have invoices that remain unpaid for more than 30 days. Additionally, I request that disciplinary steps are taken against the Accounting Officer in terms of Section 33 of the FMPPL Act. 

Should you require any further documentation or information, I would be happy to oblige.
I trust that you will consider my request favourably and attend to this matter with the requisite urgency.

Yours Sincerely,
Toby Chance MP
Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
Member of Parliament for Soweto West

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