SAPST entered into a partnership with the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) in 2011 to advance the concept of social accountability among governments and civil society organizations in the SADC region.
Because of its strategic niche in parliamentary strengthening, SAPST coordinates the participation of SADC Members of Parliament and secretariat in the PSAM training course at Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
Through its Regional Learning Programme, PSAM brings together civic actors, media practitioners and oversight bodies working in Sub-Saharan Africa to share PSAM’s social accountability tools.
The course aims to introduce participants to the principles of a rights-based approach to social accountability monitoring, the social accountability system and a complete set of tools for public resource management monitoring. The course covers the following modules in a two-week period;
• Strategic Planning and Resource Allocation
• Expenditure Management
• Performance Management
• Public Integrity Management
Through the course, Members of Parliament build their capacity to influence systemic change in the formulation and implementation of policies as well as to enable them to play an effective and systematic oversight in the allocation and use of public resources.
On the other hand, the course equips civil society organizations with appropriate and effective tools to interrogate the public resource management framework through identified participatory spaces to achieve improved service delivery.
In October this year, SAPST facilitated the participation of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) staff member Pepukai Chivore, at the PSAM Fundamentals of Social Accountability Monitoring (FSAM) Course at Rhodes.
Following the Budget Performance Reporting Guidelines that SAPST drafted for the Parliament of Zimbabwe to strengthen its oversight role on public resource management, it was felt prudent to capacitate the PBO to ensure that Parliament carries out its oversight mandate on the budget effectively.
It is pleasing to note that parliamentary portfolio committees have already started using the above-mentioned Guidelines in their budget monitoring role. It is thus hoped that the PBO secretariat will play a crucial role in ensuring that Parliament’s budget oversight framework is aligned with the principles of social accountability on which the Guidelines mentioned above are anchored.
SAPST also facilitated the participation of the Chairperson of the Agriculture Portfolio Committee of the Malawi Parliament, Hon. Dr. Joseph Chidanti Malunga, and Committee Clerk, Dennis Gondwe, at the PSAM training course. We expect them to apply the acquired skills in their committee’s oversight work and influence adequate resource allocation to the agricultural sector, as well as monitoring allocated resources to that sector.
In a collaborative partnership with the Children’s Rights Network of Southern Africa (CRNSA) SAPST was invited by a coalition of Child Rights organizations in Botswana, led by the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), to train its members on parliamentary budget oversight and the social accountability framework. The them for the workshop was “Fair Financing for Children’s Rights”.
SAPST took the initiative to invite some MPs to be part of the workshop. This initiative was welcomed by participating CSOs and MPs as they said there was rarely a platform in Botswana where civil society organizations interact with policy-makers to discuss policy issues especially the National Budget. Hon. Butale and Hon. Khan undertook to take up some of the issues raised at the workshop in Parliament.