Parliament is required to represent the people and to ensure government by the people under the Constitution. It does so by choosing the president, by providing a national forum for public consideration of issues, by passing legislation and by scrutinising and overseeing executive action. Parliament’s oversight of the executive is strengthened by its ability to analyse budgets before and after they are implemented. To perform this oversight function effectively and participate in public debates, Parliamentarians must have a good understanding of budgeting and public finance.
Parliament’s role in the budget has been formally reinforced by the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (‘Money Bills Amendment Act’), which was passed in 2009. The establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office is an example of institutional support for the implementation of the Act.
About the author
Len Verwey worked at the Institute for Democracy in Africa as a public finance and governance researcher from 2003 to 2013. He has led numerous Parliamentary submissions on the South African budget and conducted various forms of Parliamentary and provincial legislature capacity-building. He is the editor of Parliament, the Budget and Poverty: A Shift in Power. He currently works as an independent consultant, as an acting manager for the Public Service Accountability Monitor and is a senior associate at the Climate Finance Hub.