SA’s Parliament funds hundreds of constituency offices nationwide where members of the public can meet with their elected representatives and raise concerns.
But according to a new report by the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, it is “impossible to confirm whether the offices exist as indicated” due to lax oversight.
The committee, established in May 2016, is broadly tasked with overseeing Parliament’s financial management. It includes members from the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly. It recently published a report on its work during the fifth Parliament.
“Oversight visits rarely, if ever, emanated from the work parliamentarians performed in their constituencies,” said the committee.
“This could be indicative of constituency offices being under-utilised. The [committee] is therefore of the view that the current monitoring system is inadequate.”
According to the website of Parliament, political parties are entitled to a monthly allowance for each MP to run a constituency office.
The committee recommended that the sixth Parliament “develop an appropriate monitoring system to assess the functioning of constituency offices”.