Carol Paton Writer at Large
Parliament’s energy committee chairman Fikile Majola. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Parliament’s energy committee chairman Fikile Majola. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The chair of parliament’s energy committee Fikile Majola was spitting mad on Tuesday, when departmental officials failed to arrive as scheduled to brief MPs on the fuel price.

Majola accused the department of boycotting the committee, which he said could only have been done with the knowledge of energy minister Jeff Radebe.

The meeting was scheduled several weeks ago. A week ago, Radebe told Majola he would not be able to attend as he was needed at a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit in Windhoek, and his apology was accepted. Majola said the meeting would proceed with the deputy minister, Thembi Majola, and the departmental officials.

On Thursday last week the ministry attempted to persuade Fikile Majola to postpone the meeting as Radebe felt he should address it himself. Majola insisted it was too late to postpone the meeting and that Radebe could address MPs on another occasion.

When officials failed to arrive at Tuesday’s meeting without apologies or explanation, Majola and fellow MPs were livid.

"It is absolutely unacceptable. The absence of the officials can only happen with the knowledge of the minister. They can’t stage a boycott. This is a boycott of the meeting."

The meeting endorsed a proposal by the DA’s Gavin Davis to summon Radebe to be at the meeting next Tuesday.

The fuel price has become a burning public issue with prices reaching a record price of more than R16 a litre in July. A weak rand, rising oil prices and a steadily rising fuel tax are responsible for the hikes.