Ramaphosa’s inefficient NECOM chooses to be a ‘secret society’ while South Africans stay in the dark

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
27 Sep 2022 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) has not only failed to be fully accountable to Parliament, it has chosen to keep the country in the dark by keeping its deliberations top secret.

In a presentation made by Eskom today before the joint Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises and the Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources and Energy, Eskom conceded that they were “…not at liberty to disclose information from them (NECOM)…[as they were] classified as secret…”.

At a time when South Africans are calling for transparency and accountability on the electricity crisis, and despite having presided over one of the worst loadshedding episodes since they were appointed, NECOM has instead opted to operate like a secret society.

Ramaphosa launched his Energy Response Plan with much fanfare, promising to take “bold steps both to address the immediate crisis and to make load shedding a thing of the past.” Since then the crisis has deepened and NECOM, the National Energy Crisis Committee – comprising all relevant government departments and Eskom, led by the Director-General in the Presidency, Ms Phindile Baleni and tasked with taking “courageous and decisive action to close the electricity gap” – has been silent on the detail of any initiatives while the country is plunged into darkness.

By telling Eskom not to disclose information, NECOM has essentially muzzled Eskom and denied South Africans an opportunity to get insight into efforts, if any, that are being made to address the electricity crisis.

Once again the default Command and Control position of the ANC government is brought to bear in a time when the nation, reeling from crippling rolling blackouts, needs to be taken into confidence. This is truly the Sounds of Silence immortalized by Simon and Garfunkel, as darkness – our old friend – comes to talk to us again.

It simply won’t do. Transparency in the face of this ANC-generated debacle is required. The DA will not remain silent on this and will demand that the deliberations and initiatives are made public so that they can be monitored for efficiency and in order that parliament is empowered to conduct proper oversight.