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Fiscal transparency

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Fiscal transparency

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  1. Fiscal transparency • Open Budget Surveys • 2010: South Africa ranked first out of 100 countries • 2015: South Africa ranked third out of 102 countries, of which: • Budget transparency: Ranked 3rd • Public participation: Ranked joint 5th • Institutional oversight: Ranked joint 2nd • Continued publication of extensive budget documentation for public scrutiny and analysis • 2017 Budget tabled on 22 February 2017 • Budget legislation accompanied by several publications containing detailed information • Budget data published in excel and csv format, with pivot tables available for download • Ongoing procurement reforms • New legislation drafted • Including central supplier database being fully operational and eTenders portal being available online to all

  2. Public participation • Workshop sessions continually organised with civil society organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders on budgetary and reporting issues • Workshops have evolved from general discussions to focusing on key participation challenges and budget areas of interest • Informal dialogue also taking place regularly • Significant progress in the relationship between National Treasury and CSOs • Information and support provided to CSOs undertaking research and drafting CSO-led publications • Outreach sessions held with universities • Members of the general public invited by the Minister of Finance to provide budget ‘tips’ • Budget data portals • New local government budget data portal “Municipal Money” launched in October 2016: • Application Programme Interface: • Developed after engagements with CSOs and in partnership with Code for South Africa, a NGO that promotes informed public decision-making using technology

  3. Challenges and lessons learnt • Relationship between Government and CSOs can be volatile • During democratic transition years, SA Treasury was staffed by former political activists, CSO staff and academics that facilitated strong bilateral relationships in many sectors • Trust relationship however needs to be continually worked on and institutionalised through the development of products. May take a significant amount of time to build • Need to reach wider spectrum of stakeholders beyond the established relationships • Wide, deep and regular CSO engagement key • Lack of commonality in requests from various CSOs makes it difficult to satisfy needs • Both CSOs and government need to be committed to improving their budget interactions within themselves and with each other. Coordination amongst stakeholders key • Interactive hubs and IT portals allow different users to utilise information in multiple ways • Budget information by its nature is technically challenging and difficult to interpret • CSOs and media need to play an intermediary role to meaningfully empower citizens • Analytical abilities and evidence-based rigour required • Citizen-owned publications on budgets are useful in bridging the knowledge gap • Social audits also play a key role

  4. Challenges and lessons learnt • Disaggregated budget and service delivery information not always readily available or centrally located • Information to be made readily available to the extent possible • The Treasury’s mandate and role within government needs to be taken into consideration • CSOs to approach government institutions with the relevant information as opposed to expecting the Treasury to be a ‘1-stop shop’ or a ‘big brother’ • Public participation is challenged by a lack of engagement during the formulation phase of the budget process • Budget timeframes are inherently narrow • Not feasible to attempt to have CSOs involved in all the steps of the budget process • Need to establish key strategic spaces for interaction • Availability of funding and resources limited • Co-funding and resource sharing

  5. Going forward • Continued publication of extensive, improved budget documentation and data for public scrutiny and analysis • National Treasury committed to continually improving its budget relationships with CSOs and other stakeholders. The building of supplementary and complementary relationships also encouraged • Use of social media and other avenues to reach the general public more readily • National government data portal • Currently in progress • Being developed in true partnership with CSOs • Iterative agile approach of development in rapid cycles to allow data to be made available in the phased manner and be launched in phases • Procurement reforms ongoing • Draft Public Procurement Bill to be published shortly to establish a single procurement authority and consolidate the currently fragmented regulatory environment

  6. Thank you