P arliamentarian education program in south africa a pathway to domestic accountability
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P arliamentarian Education Program in South Africa: a Pathway to Domestic Accountability. Nhlanhla Nene, Chair, Portfolio Committee on Finance, SA National Assembly Neal P. Cohen, formerly with USAID in South Africa. LenCD Forum, Nairobi, Kenya, 3-5 October 2006.

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P arliamentarian Education Program in South Africa: a Pathway to Domestic Accountability

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Parliamentarian Education Program in South Africa: a Pathway to Domestic Accountability

Nhlanhla Nene, Chair, Portfolio Committee on Finance,

SA National Assembly

Neal P. Cohen, formerly with USAID in South Africa

LenCD Forum, Nairobi, Kenya, 3-5 October 2006


The First Graduation Class of South African Parliamentarians University of the Western Cape, March 2004

INSERT GRAPHIC TO ADD PHOTO


Rationale for Capacity Development

  • The end of apartheid

  • Shortage of professional black economists

  • Government to control own destiny, make own decisions

  • No World Bank, IMF, or donor “dictating” policy (non-prescriptive)

  • Secure domestic support – blacks do analysis, policy development

  • Whole program build around achieving domestic accountability

  • Assumption: Good policy flows from/based on good analysis

  • Principles: full partnership, cost sharing, SA decision making, move training programs to SA from US, all TA includes training


Why Work with Parliament?

  • Accountability to the citizens for policy

  • Expanded questioning, hearings – public discussion of policy with civil society, private sector, academia and government

  • PFMA and monitoring government spending

  • Leads to policy becoming understood and thus sustainable


Public Account Committees (PACs)

  • Request from Auditor-General to help PACs understand Auditor-General reports

  • Training in importance of PACs to democracy and ending corruption, motivate, reading audit report (demystify and remove fear)

  • Hearings: ask questions publicly (why no approvals or records, lack of financial controls, how was contractor selected – inculcate accountability)

  • Government value for money – monitor government performance, achieve targets cost effectively

  • Pocket guide of best practices


Parliamentarian Economics Education

  • Focus on budget speech and macro-economic policy – stages: understand, ask elaboration questions, probe/discuss, make policy

  • Focus on issues of concern to parliament – critical notion of opportunity cost, demystify economics

  • Hearings: improved questioning of government officials, public discussion, spending accountability

  • Work with parliamentarians to determine how/what to deliver – they design within known funding levels (agreed objectives, not predetermined methods, flexible)

  • Benefits to government of public hearings


Lessons Learned - 1

  • Parliamentarians’ program, filled gap they identified; USAID funder and catalyst, provide ideas

  • Strong support from top government leadership; good enabling environment

  • Quick rewards and recognition from the training (documented proof of success – certificates, diplomas, degrees)

  • Taught by top SA economists, organized by SA universities and SA economic think tanks and in SA (lower costs, achieve critical mass)

  • UWC willing to develop program with flexible hours, venues and special tutorials:applied not theoretical economics


Lessons Learned - 2

  • CD support was aimed at learning how to analyze, non-prescriptive

  • Open, public hearings and questioning of government officials, the private sector, NGOs and academia – leads to domestic accountability (non-confrontational)

  • Parliamentarian ownership and direction – not USAID program for parliamentarians led to continuation when USAID funding ended

  • Flexibility in implementation, not pre-determined methods, not HQ driven, listen

  • Improving the capacity of Parliament is vital for domestic accountability and for policy sustainability


Future Steps for Parliamentary CD

  • Public Account Committee-like institution at local government level

  • Share PAC training with other countries (SADCOPAC)

  • Parliament/legislatures need research staff and access to commissioned research


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