Establishing an ad hoc committee to exercise oversight over the new Minister of Electricity’s work is essential.
One of the core functions of South Africa’s Parliament is to exercise oversight over the executive authority. That is why there is a portfolio committee for each position in the Cabinet.
It ensures that the relevant minister, the departments and other entities under the minister’s authority are held accountable.
Contrary to what one would expect, there is no oversight committee over the Presidency – a gap that the FF Plus and other opposition parties have pointed out on numerous occasions.
The need for it is increasing as additional ministers are appointed in the Presidency. The Minister of Electricity, Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, is the third one.
Seeing as electricity supply is currently a make-or-break issue in South African politics, such a committee is absolutely vital.
Its first task would be to exercise oversight over the demarcation between this Minister and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, and the Minister of Public Enterprises (responsible for Eskom).
During the debate, the ANC’s Ms Mina Lesoma indicated that this Minister will have neither a budget of his own nor an annual performance plan.
According to her, it falls under the Presidency. Instead of creating peace of mind, though, it causes concern.
So, the FF Plus supports the proposal to establish an ad hoc committee to exercise oversight over the Minister, particularly due to the temporary nature of his appointment.
It is important to note that the two-year term projected for this ministry could be interrupted by the 2024 elections.
That would also mark the end of the proposed ad hoc committee.