Parliament, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 - Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise, has declined a request by the Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, Ms Natasha Mazzone, that she convene an urgent special sitting of the House to establish an ad hoc committee to oversee the roll out of the country’s vaccination program.

In terms of the rules, an establishment of an ad hoc committee during a recess period (of more than 14 days) does not necessitate a sitting of the House. The Speaker may establish such a committee in consultation with parliamentary stakeholders if she is satisfied that a matter necessitating attention may not be carried out through existing parliamentary committees. The Speaker has noted that Ms Mazzone's correspondence does not provide reasons why an ad hoc committee, and not the portfolio committee on health, is a suitable mechanism to deal with this matter.

The Speaker has stressed that a vaccine rollout plan was a matter of urgent concern to the nation, and Parliament must exercise its constitutionally mandated role in this regard. In this regard, the Portfolio Committee on Health, which has been pursuing a parliamentary oversight programme over government's health-related intervention on the Covid-19 pandemic, must immediately deal with this matter.

The Speaker has directed the House Chairperson responsible for Committees and Oversight to ensure that the Portfolio Committee on Health is urgently convened to attend to the matter of the vaccine rollout and provide her with regular updates in this regard.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
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