Energy Portfolio Committee Furious with Department’s “Boycott” of Briefing on Fuel Price

Parliament� Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Energy was today set to receive a briefing on South Africa’s fuel price, but officials from the Department of Energy did not attend the meeting.

The committee called the Department of Energy for a briefing after becoming concerned about the continued discussions in the public arena regarding the impact of the fuel price increase on ordinary South African citizens, including households and business. We wanted the Department of Energy to give the public a clear idea of what influences the fuel price, said committee Chairperson Mr Fikile Majola.

Mr Majola said he had an indication from the Minister of Energy, Mr Jeff Radebe, last week that he wanted to address the meeting himself, but was away in Windhoek on government business today. I can understand, due to the importance of it. However, the meeting was not cancelled due to the unavailability of the minister, as the deputy minister or the director-general and officials could brief the committee in the meantime. Never did I agree to have the meeting cancelled, said Mr Majola.

Mr Majola said the invitation for the meeting went out two weeks ago to the Department of Energy. Several members of the committee, from across the political spectrum, felt the attitude displayed in the non-attendance is unacceptable and undermining.

The committee noted that on several occasions the meeting with the minister had to be moved to accommodate his availability. The Chairperson said that the committee will not tolerate this behaviour. We are an independent arm of the state. They must report to Parliament. They can’t stage a boycott of the meeting.

We will write to the minister to insist that he and the department be here next week, Tuesday, at 10:00. If not here, we will have a big problem. We will not allow the executive to disrespect us. I will also report this matter to the Speaker.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa