The Vulekamali portal, launched by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday, will make information on the Budget more accessible to ordinary South Africans.
The online portal presents information in a simplified format and shows members of the public how public resources are generated and used.
The Minister launched the portal during a media briefing at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town on Tuesday, a day before he is expected to table the Budget Speech in Parliament.
“We would seek to continue making National Treasury accessible to the broader sections of South African society. That it doesn’t belong among the elite only, but it must be accessible to the ordinary South Africans so that they are able to make their inputs, not only in influencing our policy directive as articulated through the budget but also having access to the budget process, to the information that is contained in the budget…” he said.
The Minister said the portal will become a good platform for young South Africans, especially the academia, to access budgeting information to help them gain critical insights.
He said National Treasury needs to continue expanding participation and empowering citizens, in partnership with organisations like Imali Yethu and others.
National Treasury currently undertakes public participation engagements through civic information drives such as hackathons.
“We look forward to partnerships like these [Vuleka Mali] in the future,” said Minister Gigaba.
He said the recent Open Budget Survey, an initiative aimed at improving transparency in budget processes, made various recommendations, among them were:
- Line departments can introduce mechanisms for members of the public and officials to exchange views on budget matters in terms of implementation. This is an opportunity for South Africa, through the portal and other initiatives, to broaden participatory budgeting
- The second suggests that Parliament holds public hearings on the formulation of the annual budget during which any member of public or civic society organisation can make submission.
- The third suggests that the Auditor-General establish formal mechanisms for the public to provide pointers in formulating the Auditor-General’s audit programme and participate in audit investigations where appropriate.
- The portal is a private-public partnership between Imaliyethu and the National Treasury.
“It is clear that transparency on its own is not sufficient to ensure the effective delivery of services.
“The people, government departments, the legislature and the Auditor General are in a good position to track the spending of funds and are all expected to contribute to the betterment of the lives of the people of South Africa and to ensure value for money,” the Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za
CAPTION:Finance Minister Melusi Gigaba