Taking parliament to the people

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South Africa’s National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has come up with an exciting way of serving the masses. Themed “impact of migration – deepening cooperative governance for accelerated service delivery and development,” the programme is promising to capture the interest of the people of Gauteng province.

According to the council’s chairperson, Thandi Modise, the programme will from time to time enable the people to engage one another on all issues thereby broadening public participation by communities that would ordinarily find it very difficult to have access to Parliament. Modise added that the NCOP may even make rules and orders concerning Parliament’s business as per the Constitution, with due regard to representative and participatory democracy, accountability, transparency and public involvement.

“Of course it is an important element of democracy, but it is only one step in the process of building a society that genuinely serves the interests of all its people,” Modisa said. “We must make sure that no one is left out. We are all there as the leadership to take questions, respond to the issues, and therefore follow up on the issues that people raise on the ground, and make sure that their lives are bettered.”

This programme comes as the South African government vowed in 1994 to make a better life for all by sitting together with the relevant stakeholders in government as well as the beneficiaries of government programmes with an aim of jointly solving issues that has been stumbling blocks to service delivery backlogs.

Since the 5th Parliament started the law makers decided on the sector-based approach as per the guidelines of the National Development Plan. It started by targeting Eden District in 2015 before tilting focus to the Eastern Cape in 2016. In 2017, the programme moved to Free State Province Xhariep District and Mangaung Metro. But why choose Gauteng this year, and not other provinces?

“It is a hub of economic activities. Gauteng has experienced the highest net-migration of all the nine provinces. Inter-provincial migration to Gauteng continues to lead provincial migration streams in the country… last month we just returned from our report back session on issues raised during the programme,” Modisa said in a statement.

Some of the sites to be visited by the NCOP delegation include the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Johannesburg Metro, Tshwane Metro, and the West Rand District Municipality with talking points mainly focusing not only on social services, peace and security but also growth and development, human settlement, and infrastructure.

The community will have a public meeting in Dlamini Multi-Purpose Centre (Soweto), Ekurhuleni – (Springs Town Hall), Tshwane – (Suurman Community Hall – Hammaskraal), and Stanza Bopape Community Hall in Mamelodi
West Rand – Westonaria Banqueting Hall.

“We are here this week for the pre-visit and in November we will be back for our main programme. Our focus here is impact of migration, but we will be open for other issues that the community may raise during the course of the week,” said Modisa.

South Africa’s population stood at about 52 million, with Gauteng posting the highest population density of about 12 million as per the 2011 National census. At the same time, data provided by StatsSA indicates that the number of international migrants also increased steadily and constitute a significant segment of the total estimated immigration to Gauteng.

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