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Parly denies DA request to establish oversight committee during lockdown

The DA made the request to ensure continued oversight of the executive and the "protection of civil liberties" during the COVID-19 lockdown, but Parliament said this would not be necessary and practical.

FILE: National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has denied a Democratic Alliance (DA) request to establish a special committee to watch over the government's response to COVID-19.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli has informed DA leader John Steenhuisen of the decision.

The DA made the request to ensure continued oversight of the executive and the "protection of civil liberties" during the COVID-19 lockdown, but Parliament said this would not be necessary and practical.

Tsenoli said he fully agreed the National Assembly must continue to exercise oversight over the executive and the actions of organs of state during the crisis.

But Tsenoli said Steenhuisen's request was too broad and of such a nature that it would not be feasible to expect a single ad hoc committee to perform it.

The DA called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee amid reports of brutality by police and the defence force during the lockdown.

Tsenoli said oversight and accountability work must be done by all existing parliamentary committees, in line with their areas of specialisation.

He added that individual members of Parliament and political parties also had a role to play at this crucial time and should continue with oversight work in their constituencies and in the communities where they lived.

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