Parliament has declined the request made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) for the establishment of an ad hoc committee, to do an extended oversight role, over the executive during the coronavirus (COVID-19) national lockdown.  

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise asking her to set up a temporary committee of the house to specifically monitor the work of government during the lockdown.  

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli says current relevant committees of the National Assembly are equipped and capable enough in doing this job.  

Tsenoli is of the view that the request by Steenhuisen is broad and of such a nature that it would not be feasible to expect a single committee to perform the oversight role alone pertaining to COVID-19.   

Tsenoli also claims that parliament is already using information and communication technologies for the committees of parliament, including its members to effectively continue to engage in their oversight role while serving in their constituencies during this time.  

Responding to Tsenoli’s refusal for the establishment of the ad hoc committee, Steenhuisen says this demonstrates a worrying suppression of oversight and gagging of Parliament during the COVID-19 lockdown.