DA calls for the urgent establishment of ad hoc parliamentary committee to oversee the new Minister of Electricity

Issued by Kevin Mileham MP and Ghaleb Cachalia MP –
10 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.

With taxpayers expected to fork out millions to pay for the establishment of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new Ministry of Electricity, Parliament still has no structure in place to hold Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to account as per the legislature’s oversight responsibilities.

The oversight vacuum is a consequence of Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s continued refusal to accede to DA requests calling for the establishment of a parliamentary committee to oversee the Presidency or an ad hoc committee to exercise oversight over the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) that was established by Ramaphosa in July 2022.

Cognisant of the Speaker’s intransigence and the ANC’s repeated attempts to shield Members of Cabinet from Parliament’s scrutiny, the DA will be submitting a draft resolution for the establishment of an ad hoc committee in accordance with Rule 253 to establish such a committee.

Recognising that the new Minister’s brief involves dealing with issues that straddle both the energy and public enterprises portfolios, the DA is proposing that the new ad hoc committee be constituted by Members of Parliament who already sit on these existing portfolios. This will reduce oversight fragmentation and ensure that Ramokgopa is answerable to one parliament committee.

The ad hoc committee will also ensure that the NECOM, which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2022, is held fully accountable by Parliament. Nqakula’s repeated refusal to establish a parliamentary structure to oversee the activities of NECOM has given the executive a free pass on the electricity crisis to act with no accountability.

Even though Ramaphosa’s announced the creation of this new Ministry one month ago, he has still has not provided a clear course of action. Carrying out more consultations over a problem that is widely known and has been well articulated is not a strategy.  Ramokgopa is counting on existing under this cloud of ambiguity because he knows that he is accountable to no one. Parliament must not abdicate on its responsibilities and should be allowed to exercise its oversight function over what is essentially a national electricity crisis.