Representatives of Public Accounts Committees of Parliaments in the Southern Africa region will gather on Monday and Tuesday at the Annual Conference of SADCOPAC to deliberate on the ways of “Enhancing Oversight for Advanced Ethical Public Financial Management, Governance and Accountability Towards the Development of Africa”. They will be joined by the Public Accounts Committees from other sister regions in Africa.
Throughout the 20 years of its existence, the association has strived to foster the exchange of ideas and knowledge, act as a recognized voice of Public Accounts Committees in the SADC region; and promote accountability, good governance, and transparency among its member states.
As a coordinating structure, SADCOPAC strives to distinguish itself as an association that empowers the Members of each Member State to effectively carry out their functions as oversight committees over public sector finances, as well as promoting good governance.
It has asserted its autonomy in exercising oversight on the governments in SADC countries for them to meet the expectations the people for sound and accountable governance, by continuously facilitating efficient spending and promoting sound management practices.
Over the next two days, we will interrogate the various identified areas of discussion and agree on the key functions that we ought to prioritise in the future as individual public accounts committees in the various states of the SADC region.
What makes this conference unique is that it marks the twentieth anniversary of SADCOPAC, and thus provides an ideal platform for us to assess the evolution of oversight on public financial management, governance, and accountability over the last two decades.
The decision to form the SADCOPAC was taken in Kimberly, South Africa in May 2002 at the meeting of SADC member states. Following that decision, the association was officially launched in October of 2003 in Johannesburg where Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Mozambique, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe were present. An interim Constitution was adopted at the launch, and the South African Association of Public Accounts Committees (SAAPAC) was appointed as the Secretariat.
Since then, we have come a long way and have made a significant impact as the association.
Over the next three days we will develop and adopt a long-term program and areas of focus to:
- Strengthen oversight on financial management and accountability by individual public accounts committees in SADC countries, and
- To take SADCOPAC to greater heights in its role of coordinating it members, working with its partners in SADC, and its influence in Africa and globally issues of oversight on financial management and accountability.
The goal is to orientate the association towards the next 20 years of exercising oversight on public financial management and accountability. We will be charting a medium to long-term way forward.
When we break into plenary sessions for facilitated conversations, we will focus on various selected topics that cover the spectrum of our work as SADCOPAC. Our deliberations on the themes will be guided by researched papers delivered by experts in the respective topics.
The first area of focus will be “Strengthened Oversight on Public Financial Management”. During the session we will explore the oversight role of Public Accounts Committees on the Executive, and/ or the Administration, focusing on pre-audit processes, which is ex-ante oversight.
Another focus area will be “Strengthened Oversight on Public Financial Accountability”, where we will look at the period during and after audit by Supreme Audit Institutions.
The session will focus on the evolution of public financial accountability in the Southern Africa region. It will also look at, among other things the role of SADCOPAC in coordinating and building capacity of PACs to strengthen ex-ante oversight.
The third area of focus will be “Public Sector Coordinated Partnerships for enhanced ethical Public Financial Management and Accountability”. Here our focus will be on the public institutions established by legislation to ensure enhanced ethical standards in public financial management and accountability.
Another area of focus will be “Societal Mobilization for Enhanced Oversight on Public Financial Management and Accountability”. This theme will facilitate discussion around individuals and bodies in society which should be having interest on ethical standards in public financial management and accountability. These are the public, non-governmental organisations, the fourth estate, etc.
We will also discuss the “Positioning of SADCOPAC for Enhanced Oversight on Public Financial Management and Accountability in Africa and Globally”. This discuss will be focused on the role that should be played by SADCOPAC as a coordinating body, in directing, influencing, and advocating for ethical public financial management and accountability in Africa, the Commonwealth and globally.
The next area will be “Enhancing Oversight Repositioning Public Accounts Committees in the 4th Industrial Revolution”. This theme covers the global move towards the use of technology to improve competency. This way of doing things will have an impact on the function of oversight on public financial management and accountability of the Public Accounts Committees and SADCOPAC.
Another area of focus will be “Strengthened Oversight to advance financial management and accountability on the developmental objectives”. This is with the acknowledgement thatall countries have their development goals, which should be the derived from the objective of achieving the global development goals. The African states should also prioritise the AU Agenda 2063.
The 8th area of focus will be “Building Appropriate Capacity for Effective Public Accounts Committees”. Here we will assess the mandate and functions of PACs, the structures of PACs, proposals on areas to strengthen PACs for the future – and the role of SADCOPAC in building capacity of PACs.
The last area of focus will be our “Social Compact to Combat Illicit Financial Flows: Public and Private Sector Cooperation”. Here we will assess progress made in the fight against illicit financial flows and defining the role of public accounts committees working with society and private sector. Under this theme we will also look at proposed cooperation between all role players in fighting illicit financial flows, and the role of SADCOPAC in providing leadership in this regard.
Our 19th Annual General Meeting will receive and consider annual reports and proposals from the Governing Council. The AGM will also reiterate all resolutions taken during Conference.
After the AGM we will celebrate the association’s 20th Anniversary, and post that we will have a farewell gala dinner and a flag handover to the leaders of delegations of respective countries, and to the next host country, which is Zimbabwe.
We commend the South African Association of Public Accounts Committees (SAAPAC) for hosting this 15th Annual Conference, 19th Annual General Meeting and the 20th anniversary celebration on the Southern African Development Community Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (SADCOPAC).
With this I take the opportunity to welcome all delegates and wish us fruitful deliberations. Our capable coordinating team will be available to assist with all our needs – to ensure your comfortable stay as well as productive deliberations.
ISSUED BY THE 15TH SADCOPAC CONFERENCE COMMUNICATION TEAM ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF SADCOPAC HONOURABLE WARREN C MWAMBAZI
For media inquiries or interviews, please contact Mr Thebe Khumalo on 072 266 1021 or Ms Nomusa Phungula on 071 851 0085