TAKING PARLIAMENT TO THE PEOPLE, NQUTHU, KWAZULU-NATAL
(7 TO 11 NOVEMBER 2011)
Section 72 of the Constitution enjoins the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to facilitate public involvement in its legislative and other processes. It further requires the NCOP to conduct its business in an open manner and hold its sittings and those of its committees in public.
Section 66 of the Constitution authorises the NCOP to require a Cabinet member or Deputy Minister or an official in the national or provincial executive to attend a meeting of the Council or a committee of the Council.
Driven by the ideal of ensuring the realisation of a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa, Parliament has committed itself to be effective and responsive to the needs of the people. At the centre of realising this dream, lies the need of all spheres of government to work harmoniously as a cohesive force. Because of its character and composition as a house of provinces, the NCOP is strategically placed to ensure that there is coherent planning and ultimately seamless service delivery at all levels of government.
It is within this context that in 2002 the NCOP conceived the Taking Parliament to the People Programme (the Programme). Pursuant to the implementation of the Programme, the NCOP has traversed the length and breadth to the far flung corners of the country in an endeavour to ensure the acceleration of service delivery. The NCOP has, in partnership with the provincial legislatures, conducted public hearings, site visits and held meetings with the members of the public in the most rural of areas. The Programme brings together the national, provincial and local governments.
The purpose is to give the masses of the people an opportunity to make their voices heard and to have government committing itself to delivery of quality of services in these often neglected areas. The relevance of this Programme cannot be gainsaid in the context of the current government's commitment to rural development; hence the focus is on deserving communities.