Covid-19 Ad Hoc Committee established
Speaker Masizole Mnqasela announced the establishment of an ad hoc parliamentary committee specifically tasked with overseeing the Western Cape Government’s efforts in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and the enforcement and effects of the national lockdown.
The decision to establish the committee was made in terms of Standing Rule 119(1)(b) which allows for the Speaker to establish an ad hoc committee in circumstances when the House has been adjourned for more than 14 days.
After consultation with all the political parties represented in the Provincial Parliament, it was decided that the committee will consist of 15 Members appointed on a proportional basis. The ad hoc committee is triple the size of a normal standing committee due to the multi-disciplinary nature and scope of its work, but also to allow for as many of the political parties represented in the WCPP, to serve on the committee.
The committee will hold regular meetings in order to dispatch with its mandate of performing oversight over the work of the provincial executive authority as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the work of any provincial department, provincial organ of state or provincial entity involved in activities dealing with the pandemic. While Members of the Provincial Parliament are able to engage with the members of the Executive individually, the establishment of this committee will allow for a more holistic and consolidated approach to overseeing the response to the pandemic from the Western Cape Government.
Speaker Mnqasela says: “We are committed to continuing to operate as a democratically elected parliament and to fulfilling our mandate and ensuring that the democratic space is not compromised – no matter the circumstances. This committee will also have all the powers of a fully-fledged standing committee. It is critical that this committee is wholly empowered to do its important work during this perilous time.”
In order to comply with the regulations of the national lockdown and ensure the safety of the Members and officials of the Provincial Parliament, all committee meetings and sittings of the House will, until further notice, be held by online videoconferencing platform. This determination has been made by Speaker Mnqasela in terms of Standing Rule 1A, and directives outlining the procedures for such, in terms of Rule 1A(b). These directives relate to all electronic meetings of parliamentary committees and sittings of the House in respect of: the required technical support; notice of meetings and sittings; quorum requirements; voting arrangements; the powers, privileges and immunities of Members; maintaining of order; the formalities for sittings; and the application of the standing rules in general.
Details of the platform that will be used to host these meetings and sittings will be announced and programmed on the parliamentary calendar on our website: wcpp.gov.za, as well as on our social media channels. “I encourage members of the public to continue taking an interest in the work of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament and to follow the proceedings of these virtual meetings,” says Speaker Mnqasela.