MP's Broaden Their Brief
Members of Parliament who form part of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of State Information Bill showed how responsive they are by intervening when unrelated issues were raised during the public hearing held in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality yesterday.
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) committee is conducting a public participation process to solicit the views of ordinary members of the public and interest groups on the proposed legislation. This follows hearings in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State.
During the stop in Mamelodi – one of the two Gauteng areas visited yesterday – some citizens raised service delivery-related concerns at the session held at the Assemblies of God church hall. They cited some serious ills plaguing the community of Mamelodi and surrounding areas. These include lack of housing, drug abuse by the youth, unemployment and electricity problems.
After listening to the grievances, MPs said they would pass on the information.
Committee member Mr Sam Mazosiwe, who chaired the hearings, said despite the resident’s concerns having been raised on the wrong platform, MPs would not allow the cries of the community members to fall on deaf ears.
“There were some unrelated issues that were raised. We are going to make sure that they are not left unattended. We are also hoping that community members will be cooperative enough to supply us with their contact details so that we can have these issues addressed at local, provincial or national government level. We were here not only to listen to the people but to act on what has been said,” Mr Mazosiwe told the community members as the meeting drew to a close.
As part of their oversight function, parliamentarians play a role in ensuring that service delivery issues are dealt with.
The Committee asked the public to assist them by sticking to issues around the Protection of State Information Bill at the public hearings, which will continue at five more provinces in the next two weeks.
The committee’s next destination will be KwaZulu Natal, where public hearings will be held tomorrow in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, Ugu District Municipality and Zululand District Municipality.
The hearings afford the 15-member ad hoc Committee – which gets split into two or three in the various provinces – an opportunity to hear from ordinary citizens what their views are on the Bill, as part of Parliament’s public participation function.
by Elijah Moholola