Energy Portfolio Committee: Committee Programme & Outstanding Reports

Energy

31 May 2010
Chairperson: Ms E Thabethe (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to consider and adopt its programme for the third term as well as outstanding reports and minutes. Members briefly discussed the composition of the group for the July study Tour. It was decided that the Committee would abide by the 5:2 rule. This meant that if the tour was comprised of seven Members, 5 must come from the ruling party and 2 from the opposition. The programme was accepted, however it was agreed that it could be amended at a later stage.

A visit by Members to a hydroelectric plant in Lesotho was discussed. Members who had undertaken the visit were visibly impressed by what they had seen and impressed upon the Committee that hydro electricity was an alternative energy source that should be considered. A report on the visit was accepted.

Members were urged to put in requests for 2010 FIFA World Cup tickets to avoid disappointment. The Chairperson briefly updated the Committee about the Report of the Joint Committee on the 2010 World Cup. The Report concluded that the country was ready and that everything was on course for the tournament.

Meeting report

Committee Programme and July Study Tour
The Chairperson took Members through the draft programme, highlighting items that had already been concluded.

The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee had an upcoming study tour scheduled for July 2010. The budgetary allocation for the tour still had to be finalised. More or less seven members would be embarking on the tour. The tour could perhaps kick off with visits to Brazil and Mozambique. This suggestion had come from Parliamentary Management. If a total of seven members were to undertake the tour, the rules noted that five members from the majority party would be allowed whilst the remaining two members could be chosen from the opposition parties. It meant that five members would be chosen from the ANC whilst the remaining two members would be chosen from the DA, COPE, ID or IFP.

Mr S Motau (DA) suggested that perhaps if the Committee agreed the split could rather be four members from the ANC and three members from the opposition parties (DA, COPE ID and IFP).

Mr L Greyling (ID) pointed out that the issue raised by Mr Motau was being discussed by the Chief Whips’ Forum.

Ms B Tinto (ANC) suggested that in keeping with Parliamentary rules it was best for the Committee to stick to the 5:2 split.

Mr E Lucas (IFP) said that it was up to the Committee to make a decision. He pointed out that Parliamentary rules were there for a reason.

The Chairperson noted that the issue would be revisited by the Committee but for the time being it would be best if the Committee abided by Parliament’s rules. Hence the 5:2 split would be abided by when Members embarked on study tours.

Mr Lukas said that since 1994 the focus had always been more on electricity. There was not much focus on energy. Energy had been neglected. Liquid fuels in particular should receive more attention given the rising fuel prices.

Mr Greyling was concerned about the Integrated Resource Plan 2 (IRP2). It was of utmost importance since it stretched over 20 years. He understood there to be problems relating to its process. The Committee needed to get a better handle on the IRP2 process. Setting aside a single day for interaction with the Department of Energy was considered wholly insufficient.

Mr D Ross (DA) agreed with Mr Greyling. In addition, he recalled that in April, Grain SA had had requested to meet with the Committee to discuss amongst other things the contribution of bio-fuels towards meeting South Africa’s energy requirements. The correspondence had been forwarded to the Chairperson via the Committee Secretary at that time. He felt that such an interaction could be useful. Grain SA was willing to sponsor the venue for the meeting as well as Members’ accommodation.

The Chairperson stated that she had not received the correspondence that Mr Ross was referring to. However, she added that the Committee would consider the request.

Mr Greyling said that the Committee could meet with Grain SA but should not accept offers to cover expenses of the Committee as there could be conflicts of interest.

The Chairperson agreed to discuss the IRP2 issue with the Department. Perhaps Members would be willing to give up two constituency days to have a proper interaction with the Department over the IRP2. Two additional days for interaction would be useful.

The programme was accepted, however it was agreed that it could be amended at a later stage.

World Future Council Conference in Ghana
The Conference was scheduled for the 19 June 2010. Three members would be accommodated by the organisers. The Committee agreed that sending three members would be acceptable.

The Chairperson said that members attending the conference would be watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches in a solar powered public viewing arena.

Lesotho Trip feedback
The Chairperson tabled a two page report on the Lesotho trip and invited Members to comment.

Mr Motau said that the trip had been very productive. It had made a lasting impression on him. A follow up was needed as hydro electric power had huge potential. It was clean green power. Why should R200bn be spent on nuclear power? It could be spent on a cleaner alternative as was seen in Lesotho.
The plant that had been visited was impressive.

Mr Lucas reminded Members that any project, no matter how impressive, could have good and bad impacts.

Mr Greyling said that a report on the specifics of the project in Lesotho would be useful.

Mr Motau felt that hydro power was a good alternative.

Mr J Selau (ANC) who had also visited the project agreed with Mr Motau. Lesotho was a very natural country. It had clean air, clean water and beautiful mountains. The visit was truly an experience. The hydro electric project visited was in fact a South African project. He suggested that the Tourism and Environmental Affairs Parliamentary Committees should pay visits to Lesotho.

Ms N Mathibela (ANC) asked how the turbines in Lesotho worked. Was it similar to wind turbines?

Mr Motau proceeded to provide an explanation. He stated that water power was used and it was gravity driven.

Mr Lucas added that water power was being converted to energy.

The Chairperson noted that energy was a national and local government matter. It did not fall within the responsibilities of provinces. She agreed that the initiative in Lesotho was good. The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) should also be brought on board.

The Committee accepted the report.

Adoption of Committee Minutes
The Chairperson placed the Minutes for 23 February 2010 for consideration. The remaining Minutes would be considered in July when Parliament reconvened.

The Committee adopted the minutes with minor spelling changes.

2010 FIFA World Cup Tickets
The Chairperson asked Members whether they had received their 2010 FIFA World Cup tickets.

Mr Greyling said that he had not received any tickets.

Members apparently had to apply for tickets by way of completing a form electronically. The form had to be submitted before a closing date.

The Chairperson urged Members to check their emails and to complete the form electronically if they wished to obtain tickets. She added that tickets were limited and hence no provision had been made for Members’ partners. PetroSA had also extended an invitation to the Committee for World Cup tickets. Members were also urged to inform PetroSA if they wished to take them up on their offer.

2010 FIFA World Cup state of readiness Report
The Chairperson stated that the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the state of readiness for 2010 World Cup had undertaken visits to host cities and compiled the Report. The Report covered all areas including energy. Everything was on course for the tournament. Discussions between employees and Eskom were also taking place in order to avert any strike action during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Report was to be adopted by the Joint Committees later in G26 at 4:30pm. Members were urged to attend the meeting if they were able to. The Report was to be debated in the House on Thursday 3 June 2010. On a lighter note, Members of Parliament were urged to wear Bafana Bafana t-shirts on that day in the House.

Other Matters
Mr Ross asked the Chairperson whether she had received emails from him raising concerns about fuel pipe leaks at King Shaka International Airport. Another concern was about power outages that were taking place in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The Chairperson replied that the emails had been received and that the concerns raised were being addressed.

Mr Lucas stated that the 2010 FIFA World Cup was here and that all South Africans should stand together to make it a success.

The Chairperson indicated that copies of the Report would be furnished to those Members who did not have copies by the end of the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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