Public Enterprises Committee Chair blocks urgent meetings on Eskom

On Thursday, 16 January 2020, the Democratic Alliance (DA) wrote to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises requesting that the committee be convened urgently given the unfolding situation at Eskom.

The DA also wrote to the Minister for Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, on Wednesday, 22 January 2020, requesting a meeting with him to discuss, in a non-partisan manner, the parlous state of Eskom and the various options on the table, with the interests of our country in mind.

To date the DA has not received an acknowledgment, let alone a reply from Minister Gordhan’s office. And on 26 January, the Committee Chair replied, denying the request for an urgent meeting.

As such, the DA will be escalating the matter to Parliament’s Chairperson of Committees, Cedric Frolick, to seek his intervention and once again request an urgent meeting of the committee with the Minister and Eskom. It cannot be that Parliament remains silent, when Eskom, the biggest threat to South Africa’s economy, continues on its disastrous downward spiral.

Of further concern, is that the parliamentary Z list, which tables the committee meetings, contains no notice of any meeting over the coming month. This is particularly remiss given the urgency at both SAA and Eskom. How are we expected to perform responsible oversight in the absence of proactive action by the Chair of the Portfolio Committee?

What is equally surprising is the total lack of response from Minister Gordhan.

Clearly this government pays scant regard to proper oversight and requests for meetings in the face of the crisis we continue to face at both entities.

The DA takes its role as the prime mover of oversight in Parliament seriously and is astounded by the tardiness of the Committee Chair and absence of a response from the Minister in the face of the dire circumstances that affect our nation and its finances – hardly the role of responsible government.