South Africa: A Statement by the National Council of Provinces’ Chairperson Hon Thandi Modise, at a Media briefing to Kick-Start the Taking Parliament to the People Pre-Visit to Gauteng Province

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 18, 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Programme Director
Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature, Hon Mekgwe
Speakers of Municipalities present,
Fellow Presiding Officers,
Media Houses represented here today
Ladies and gentlemen

Members of the media thank you for joining us for this briefing aimed at outlining our visit to the Gauteng Province this week.

The theme for this year’s Taking Parliament to the People in Gauteng is the “Impact of migration – Deepening cooperative governance for accelerated service delivery and development.”

Our Constitution requires us to continuously be a vibrant and responsive democracy in South Africa. So from time to time we will have to engage one another on all issues as we make South Africa better. We have resolved in 1994 as government to make a better life for all South Africans.

Democracy requires that citizens should be continuously engaged in governance through interaction with those who make decisions. We don’t end at the moment of marking a ballot and dropping it into a ballot box once every few years. 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.

Programme director, the main purpose and focus of this flagship programme of the NCOP is to sit together with the relevant stakeholders in government, plus the beneficiaries of government programmes to identify bottlenecks that result in the service delivery backlogs and jointly find ways in which we find solutions to the challenges. 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.

We are people orientated as Parliament and we seek to involve all citizens in issues of governance for better service delivery and development.

Members of the Media, Parliament is responsible for making national legislation, while the provincial legislatures are responsible for areas of legislation ascribed to them by the Constitution. We as the NCOP consists of delegations from the provincial legislatures.

The Constitution places us correctly and says the NCOP may – make rules and orders concerning its business, with due regard to representative and participatory democracy, accountability, transparency and public involvement.

Our House is a unique creation in our constitutional system of democracy since it is transversal in character, stretching across the three spheres of government.

Ladies and gentlemen

Since the 5th Parliament started we decided on the sector-based approach as per the guidelines of the National Development Plan (NDP). We started in Eden District in 2015. We then went to the Eastern Cape in 2016. In 2017 we went to Free State Province Xhariep District and Mangaung Metro, last month we just returned from our report back session on issues raised during the programme.

Taking Parliament to the people enables us as the NCOP to broaden public participation by communities that would ordinarily find it very difficult to have access to Parliament.

You may ask why Gauteng? This year we choose Gauteng province as 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.

Data provided by StatsSA also indicates that the number of international migrants also increased steadily and constitute a significant segment of the total estimated immigration to Gauteng.

According to the 2011 National census, South Africa’s population sits at close to 52 million, with Gauteng with the highest population density at about 12 million. The province continues to be perceived as offering greater job opportunities and an associated improvement in standards of living than most of the other provinces.

Programme director, the multidisciplinary delegation of the NCOP, which will be divided into eight groups, will visit sites related to the theme in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Johannesburg Metro, Tshwane Metro, and the West Rand District Municipality.

The sites will be comprising of the following clusters:

Social Services
Peace and Security
Growth and development
Human settlement and infrastructure

The community will have a public meeting in the following areas:

Dlamini Multi-Purpose Centre (Soweto)
Ekurhuleni – (Springs Town Hall)
Tshwane – (Suurman Community Hall – Hammaskraal) & Stanza Bopape Community Hall in Mamelodi
West Rand – Westonaria Banqueting Hall

Parliament is the custodian of the promotion of the values of human dignity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism and participatory democracy. So it is important to maintain an ongoing connection between Parliament and the people in a substantial sense that gives practical meaning to all that our democratic system embodies.

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.

Thank you!

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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