Advocacy Documents

Submission to Parliament: Virtual public participation and recommendations for enhanced virtual public access to the work of Parliament
Author: Keathela
Published: Jul 07, 2020

This submission follows two previous substantive communications relating to the functioning of the legislatures during the national disaster that were sent on 25 March 2020 and on 10 April 2020. These communications, the substantive issues raised, and our offers to support Parliament in its efforts to operate as a public forum serving the interests of the people of South Africa, have been met with silence from your respective offices. What follows is an assessment of how we have experienced the recent efforts of the National Parliament in migrating to full time virtual meetings, and proposals for enhancements in the mechanisms to be used to ensure that no citizen is left behind.

OPEN LETTER: Effective legislative oversight, transparency and engagement during the national state of disaster
Author: Dullah Omar Institute
Published: Apr 10, 2020

On 25 March 2020, a group of civil society organisations working towards open and accountable legislatures, with a vested interest in promoting participatory democracy sent a letter which sought to engage Parliament prior to the period of lockdown. Despite making several recommendations to ready the institution and legislatures to continue their work into the state of disaster. The response from the legislatures was weak. Following a lack of response to the original letter, these organisations and others have today written again to the leadership of national and provincial legislatures appealing to them to ensure transparency, effective legislative oversight, and public engagement during the national state of disaster. The organisations have also again offered to support the legislatures as they grapple with some of these difficult, but critical questions.

Open letter: Oversight and participatory democracy during the COVID-19 National State of Disaster – the legislatures role
Author: Dullah Omar Institute
Published: Mar 25, 2020

11 CSOs working towards open and accountable legislatures have sent an open letter to the Speakers of Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures, and to the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces to encourage measures to support their functioning within South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy during this time of crisis and uncertainty. Even though elected representatives should not meet physically due to the lock-down and social distancing, they and the legislatures, continue to have an important democratic role to play, to exercise oversight over the executive and to ensure that the experiences of people most marginalised in our society are taken into account in planning and implementation during this period.

Research report on public finance oversight: the provinces
Author: Karel
Published: Dec 03, 2019

The Putting the People in ‘People’s Parliament’ Project (PPiPP) works to increase the participation of civil society organisations in legislatures, particularly at provincial level, including through increasing public knowledge on the role of legislatures and legislature processes. One important aspect of this is oversight of public finances. In line with that objective, this report constitutes a first attempt to understand public finance oversight processes, in theory and practice, at the provincial level. To do so, it first discusses national legislation and processes, then examines the corresponding situation at provincial level (in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape). The drafting of provincial money bills amendment legislation presents both an opportunity to reflect on and improve these processes, but is also a risk in as much as it could cement failings of the status quo.