Pressure mounts for parliamentary oversight visits to provinces hit by unrest
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Pressure is mounting on parliamentary committees to conduct oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng following the outbreak of unrest in there.
This takes place as National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has yet to make a decision on the NFP’s request for an urgent sitting and the DA’s call to cut short the constituency period, ending on August 15, in order for MPs to perform their oversight function.
The two parties have so far received only acknowledgement of their correspondence, indicating their requests were being considered.
Yesterday, NFP MP Munzoor Shaik Emam said Modise’s office only confirmed that they received his letter and were processing it.
“Other than that, there is nothing from them,” Shaik Emam said.
“It is not right at all. There is a crisis and we called for a sitting in order for the MPs to come discuss what is happening,” he said.
Shaik Emam said it was important that there was a special sitting, in light of fears of a second and a third wave of unrest.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo confirmed that Modise has not yet responded to the requests made last week, by the DA and NFP.
Since the outbreak of the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, only three committees – defence, police and intelligence – have convened to receive briefings from the departments. There is now a push for other committees to do the same.
DA MP Jan de Villiers said the small business development portfolio committee should urgently convene to consider the government's assistance to small and medium-sized businesses affected by the widespread looting and vandalism.
“It is crucial that the committee for small business development urgently convenes to find constructive ways to help our small business owners, employees and stakeholders in the affected areas,” he said.
His colleague, Noko Masipa, said his party has written to agriculture, land reform and rural development portfolio committee chairperson Mandla Mandela, requesting an emergency oversight visit to the rural parts of KwaZulu-Natal – to assess the damage, and needs of farmers and communities there.
“Everything must be done to assist farming communities under pressure, so that food security does not become compromised,” Masipa said.