Alan Fuchs MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development
The ANC is shutting down the democratic space by interfering in the work of portfolio committees in exercising their oversight mandate.
Gauteng’s Infrastructure Development committee invited departments such as Health, Education, Social Development, Roads and Transport and Sports Arts and Culture to present reports on their experience of working with the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID).
Almost without exception, the client departments complained that DID was unable to deliver infrastructure projects on time and within budget. As a result most departments expressed a desire to remove projects from DID and manage them in-house or award them to different implementing agents.
The Portfolio Committee, in holding the Executive to account, noted the shortcomings of DID’s project implementation and sought interventions from the department to resolve raised shortcomings.
However, committee chairperson Lindi Lasindwa announced that the ANC had decided that client departments could no longer be invited directly by the committee, but could only attend after engaging with the MEC for Infrastructure Development.
This decision to close down the space for client departments to air their concerns directly to the portfolio committee, is a desperate move to shield DID from having to answer embarrassing questions of poor performance in public.
Committees are mandated to exercise oversight over the executive, but the ANC’s order fundamentally changes that right by giving the MEC the right to determine who appears before the committee.
This gross interference must not go unchallenged, and the DA will write to the Speaker, Ntombi Mekgwe questioning the legality of the decision.