- The DA wants an ad hoc committee to oversee government's roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.
- This after President Cyril appointed his deputy David Mabuza as the head of an IMC for the vaccine.
- DA health spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube says Parliament must play its oversight role to ensure transparency.
The DA wants an ad hoc committee to oversee Deputy President David Mabuza's inter-ministerial committee which will spearhead the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
On Tuesday, amid much criticism of government's apparent tardy move to procure Covid-19 vaccines, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Mabuza would head the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) to oversee the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines across the country.
On Thursday, DA MP and spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said in a statement she would write to Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise to ask for an ad hoc committee to oversee the IMC.
After the lockdown was implemented last year, the DA requested an ad hoc committee over the whole executive on all Covid-19 related matters. Modise didn't grant the party's wish.
"However, now that an IMC on the rollout of the vaccine plan has been established, a multi-party, multi-portfolio ad hoc committee which will have direct oversight over this IMC is vital," said Gwarube.
"It is critical now more than ever that the Deputy President and this IMC are directly accountable to Parliament and the people it represents for the life-altering decisions it will be making."
The DA proposes that the IMC meets every week with the multi-party ad hoc committee to ensure the IMC's transparency.
"Up until now, government has yet to be transparent with the rollout plan of the vaccine," said Gwarube.
"During this important phase of vaccine acquisition, we are yet to know from government how much is being spent on the various vaccine facilities; where the budget is being sourced from and whether the requisite procurement processes are being followed."
She said Parliament was simply an inconvenient stakeholder which needed to be briefed on decisions that had already been made.
"It is there primarily to scrutinise these plans and to represent the people of South Africa fairly and effectively. We cannot do our job of holding government to account if the response to this pandemic is executive heavy and has absolutely no oversight.
"Government's response to the first wave of the pandemic proved that without proper oversight holding it to account, any plans would simply descend into corruption and looting of public funds as was meant for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other related products.
"This resulted from the fact that Parliament had no direct oversight on how much money was being spent, how much money was being allocated to provinces or some of the accountability mechanisms for departments."
She said Parliament also needed to ensure that government was prepared.
"It's one thing to acquire a vaccine, it's a whole other thing entirely to ensure that the vaccine is distributed; is stored well; that it's not wasted and that it gets to every single corner of the country. This is why it would be crucial for the IMC to report weekly to Parliament on the various stages of the rollout plan."