Western Cape Parliament appoints ad hoc committee to oversee Covid-19 response

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The Western Cape legislature building bathed in the colours of the rainbow for Pride. (Supplied by Western Cape government)
The Western Cape legislature building bathed in the colours of the rainbow for Pride. (Supplied by Western Cape government)

The Western Cape legislature has appointed an ad hoc committee to oversee the province's efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the enforcement and effects of the national lockdown.

Speaker of the Western Cape Parliament Masizole Mnqasela on Tuesday announced the establishment of this committee, in terms of the rules which allow the speaker to do so when the house has been adjourned for more than 14 days.

It was done after consultation with all the political parties represented in the legislature.

The committee will have 15 members - triple the size of a normal standing committee, due to the multi-disciplinary nature and scope of its work and to allow all parties in the legislature to be represented.

"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," Mnqasela said.

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To comply with the regulations of the national lockdown and to ensure the safety of the members of the provincial legislature and officials, all committee meetings and sittings of the House will, until further notice, be held by online video conferencing.

Details of the platform that will be used to host these meetings and sittings will be announced and programmed on the parliamentary calendar on the provincial legislature's website: wcpp.gov.za, as well as on its 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," said Mnqasela.

Earlier, DA leader John Steenhuisen asked speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise to establish a similar ad hoc committee for the national legislature, but this request was turned down.

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