Cape Town – Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen's absence at a joint meeting led to questions about the political will to resolve the constitutional challenges of electricity distribution."The portfolio committees on energy and on cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) adjourned a meeting after the inter-ministerial task team (IMTT) failed to provide a progress report on the constitutional challenges of electricity reticulation," reads a joint statement from the chairpersons of the portfolio committees, Fikile Majola and Richard Mdakane, respectively. Members of the committees proposed an adjournment after the inter-ministerial task team delegation said it could not answer their questions. This joint meeting was for the department to provide an update on its challenges and progress achieved, but this was not forthcoming. "The committees were of the view that there was no political will to resolve the matter after the minister of Cogta (Van Rooyen) failed to attend the meeting. Members of the committees said the minister should have been present, as the chairperson of the IMTT," reads the statement. "The committees reprimanded the IMTT for making the same presentation it had given to the portfolio committee on Cogta."Majola said the challenge was political in nature and needed to be addressed in that manner. Mdakane proposed that the committees meet again early in the 2018 parliamentary calendar. "The committees are determined that all affected ministries (energy, water and sanitation, public enterprises and Cogta) will be present," reads the statement.Van Rooyen’s spokesperson Legadima Leso told News24 the minister apologised for not attending the meeting.He said Van Rooyen “made sure that there was a representative from the Cogta department”, with deputy minister Andries Nel attending the meeting. Leso said Van Rooyen was busy all day preparing for Wednesday’s by-election at Metsimaholo municipality in the Free State."In his capacity as the chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee on local elections, he met with all stakeholders in order to make sure that tomorrow’s (Wednesday's) election runs smoothly. He also visited some of the special voting stations today (Tuesday)," he explained.Leso added that Van Rooyen would also be monitoring the by-election on Wednesday.