by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE annual programme of “Taking Parliament to the People” is deepening democracy in South Africa.
This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, after the conclusion of this year’s edition held last week in the Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal province.
During the week, National Council of Province (NCOP) members held public hearings on issues affecting communities in the district, ranging from crime and safety, to housing to water, to economic development.
The programme ended last Friday with a formal plenary sitting of the NCOP opened by the president and attended by hundreds of community members.
Ramaphosa said the programme showed how effective the NCOP is in coordinating between the three spheres of government, as representatives of national, provincial and local government were involved in the community interactions and were able to assist with issues raised.
“In this way, Parliament is contributing to the building of participatory democracy,” Ramaphosa stated.
Writing in his weekly letter, he noted that not only are citizens able to vote every five years for their representatives.
“They (citizens) are also able to participate in the decisions that affect their lives,” the president said.
Besides the programme to take parliament to the people, Ramaphosa this year has led five Presidential Izimbizo.
These were in Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape.
Through these izimbizo, citizens have an opportunity to engage directly with mayors, premiers, provincial leaders, ministers and the president.
“We should be proud that in South Africa today, every citizen has a voice and has ways to hold decision-makers to account, be they lawmakers, businesses or the president,” Ramaphosa said.
– CAJ News