DA wants parliament to reconvene and deal with the electricity crisis

25 March 2019 - 13:35 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
DA national spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, party leader Mmusi Maimane and MP Natasha Mazzone addressing the media on the country's energy crisis on March 25 2019.
DA national spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, party leader Mmusi Maimane and MP Natasha Mazzone addressing the media on the country's energy crisis on March 25 2019.
Image: Via Twitter/@Mshengu_1

The DA wants parliament to reconvene to urgently establish an ad hoc committee to deal with the country's energy crisis.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen wrote to national assembly speaker Baleka Mbete on Friday, just two days after the national assembly ended its work so that MPs could focus on electioneering.

Steenhuisen explained in the letter that he was making the call for parliament to remain in session "in light of Eskom entering stage 4 load-shedding which has already cost the South African economy an estimated R12bn in three days and is placing an extensive burden on the economy".

He proposed that the ad hoc committee be made up of MPs from the national assembly's portfolio committees on energy, public enterprises, and trade and industry.

The purpose of the ad hoc committee would be to:

* urgently inquire into the circumstances surrounding a potentially imminent threat of the collapse of the national energy grid;

* invite experts and industry stakeholders for input; and

* summon the relevant officials and ministers to account for the crisis and provide evidence for actions previously taken to prevent the current situation.

It would also deliberate on and resolve to implement solutions to prevent the potentially imminent collapse of the national energy grid, and put recommendations forward to the national assembly to consider and move for any urgent, necessary legislative amendments to existing legislation and regulations to deal with the threat of the collapse of the grid and the threat it poses to the national economy.

On Monday morning DA leader Mmusi Maimane, addressing journalists at the party's headquarters in Johannesburg, said the Eskom crisis was no longer the baby of the ANC-led government but that of the entire country.

Moreover, the party would march to the Union Buildings on Friday to put pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa "to do something". Maimane said Ramaphosa would have five days to respond to their demands. "We have to keep the lights on not because it is good for the psyche of our nation but because it is good for business," said Maimane.

"If we are not careful, rating agencies like Moody's will downgrade us, which will make the already difficult situation we are in become impossible.

"I would like to request that parliament be reconvened urgently. Even though parliament has risen we must reconvene for the sole purpose of establishing an ad hoc committee consisting of portfolio committees in public enterprise, energy and trade and industry.

"That ad hoc committee must do a number of things but crucially it must begin by passing the cheaper energy bill which will seek to break up Eskom into two separate entities, one for supply and the other for distribution.

"This is important because the distribution component ought to face competition where municipalities are able to purchase energy directly, they can be able to do so and this is vital if we are going to avert this crisis that is looming for the people of South Africa,” he said.


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