Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a 5 point energy plan to respond to the electricity crisis and the establishment of a National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) to oversee its implementation, the DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, recommending that Parliament takes immediate steps to establish a parliamentary Ad-hoc committee to oversee NECOM and the implementation of the energy plan.
With no portfolio committee holding the President accountable, including lack of clarity on what powers this body will decide to apportion itself, it is important that Parliament plays an active role in ensuring accountability and enforcing its oversight function as required by the Constitution.
South Africa simply cannot afford to have an energy crisis committee that will be a law unto itself, as was the case with the rogue Corona Virus Command Council. Parliament must be briefed on its terms of reference and the frequency with which it should account to the Ad-hoc committee.
In addition to exercising oversight over NECOM, the parliamentary Ad-hoc committee will play an important role in ensuring that all the commitments made in the Energy Plan are implemented timeously.
South Africa has had a myriad of interventions before that were meant to address the electricity crisis, from war rooms, tasks teams to inter-Ministerial teams, but they have all come to nothing due to poor oversight and implementation. With South Africa’s future dependent on an energy secure future, Parliament should show leadership and provide consistent oversight on the energy measures announced by the President.
The DA will play its role in holding the government to account through an Energy Plan Implementation Tracker which we will launch shortly. The trackers’ primary objective is to keep Ramaphosa’s government honest on project implementation and red tape reduction milestones. The tracker will particularly hold the President accountable on the commitments made to add new generation capacity.
The DA stands ready and willing to contribute to any genuine national effort aimed at addressing the energy crisis and get South Africa working again. The President will have our support in the implementation of the energy plan as long as he remains committed to transparent and accountable implementation of the plan with the urgency required.