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Out of 346 recommendations arising out of the 2016 Taking Parliament to the People programme in the Eastern Cape province’s Buffalo City Metro Municipality, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) registered a 73% response rate in the translation of recommendations into the executive’s delivery of services to the people, the Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP Mr Raseriti Tau told the media at a press briefing at East London’s international convention centre on the eve of the NCOP’s report-back visit to the region.

“We are delighted to share that the Taking Parliament to the People campaign registered the desired results,” said Mr Tau. The progress achieved includes providing reliable water supply, as well as libraries and classrooms and security fences at clinics. It also includes providing facilities for students with disabilities at schools such as St Thomas School in King William’s Town.

“This is encouraging,” Mr Tau said, but he remained concerned about areas where more work needs to be done. Nonetheless, the NCOP is committed to its constitutional responsibility of demanding accountability from all spheres of government. “The fact that there are recommendations that have not been translated into the delivery of services doesn’t mean that they are written off. New commitments are made,” said Mr Tau.

Mr Tau, the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Ms Noxolo Kiviet, and the Chief Whip of the NCOP Mr Seiso Mohai answered questions from the media. Ms Kiviet said the relevant NCOP and Eastern Cape legislature committees made follow-up visits to those service delivery sites that were observed to be performing poorly during the 2016 visit. She also mentioned that the Eastern Cape’s 2017 Provincial Week programme was devoted to oversight work of the service delivery sites visited in 2016.

Journalists asked if issued raised now would be attended to, or if they were only focussing on issues raised in 2016. Mr Tau assured them that the NCOP will listen to new issues and attend to them in a manner that is consistent with its mandate. He said the NCOP chose the Buffalo City Metro and Alfred Nzo District municipalities as samples to assess the state of Eastern Cape municipalities. “We would want to be in all the municipalities, but that is impossible. Hence we chose these two at least to have a picture of the state of the municipalities,” said Mr Tau.

Seven groups of permanent NCOP delegates are visiting the region, three in the Buffalo City Metro Municipality and four in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality as part of the report-back visit. The week-long programme commences today (Tuesday, 13 March) till Friday (16 March).

The groups will visit some of the service delivery sites that were visited in 2016. The 2016 Taking Parliament to the People focused on education, health and local economic development, thus special schools and local economic development centres, among other service delivery sites will be visited.

The Buffalo City Metro incorporates East London, King William’s Town and Bisho. The metro is home to the Eastern Cape provincial government and the Eastern Cape legislature.

Mava Lukani
13 March 2018