Today the curtain has been drawn on this year’s Taking Parliament to the People programme. To date there are well over 20 000 members of the public who attended the event. And in his address to the media the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Mr Raseriti Tau, said Taking Parliament to the People is democracy in action. And he promised that the issues raised during these sessions will influence the legislative discourse and the oversight mandate and processes of the NCOP.
One of the impressive stories of this year’s event is the NCOP’s aversion of a water crisis in Le Grange Dam in Ladysmith, whose capacity was running very low. The NCOP’s timely intervention that curbed an impending human crisis in this region has been recorded by Parliament’s Multimedia Unit.
The Multimedia team came across this impending crisis when they visited the dam with the members of the NCOP during Taking Parliament to the People pre-visits in March, when the town declared a water crisis in the already water scarce area of Kannaland. The follow-up during Taking Parliament to the People was aimed at monitoring progress on this matter. During the Multimedia visit to the dam they were met by a very excited Municipal Manager, Mr Morne Hoogbaard, who told them that in fact they had managed to avert the crisis, thanks to emergency funding of R9m from the Department of Water and Sanitation.
In three weeks they managed to activate nine boreholes, which had been drilled in 2013 and they built three new boreholes (two of which run on solar power). As a result of that, the municipality has managed to create a channel which connects three other smaller dams to the Le Grange Dam. This intervention is a display of the Taking Parliament to the People commitment to hold the executive to account in its endeavour to create better life for all.
The core of this year’s Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) were submissions as an alternative means of capturing people’s concerns. And a new electronic submission system was unveiled for the first time in this year’s event.
The mobilisation team, along with ICT, developed an electronic feedback form for submissions, which was used to capture submissions at the event. In order to give more people the opportunity to make a submission, the mobilisation team, along with the support of municipal officials, gave members of the public the opportunity to submit any problem involving the national, provincial or local sphere of government. Apart from capturing these problems, the system also allows the team to capture information regarding the employment status, race, income bracket, and age group of submitters, which enriches the value of the data gathered as it makes it possible to identify service delivery trends in a specific district, among other things. The event has been used to test the system, which the mobilisation team will continue to refine and develop for use at future programmes.
Notable also is the multi-faceted media reach that this year’s events leveraged. This year’s media coverage comprised interviews, features, live reads and interactive programmes between the members of the NCOP and the members of the public that were broadcast on local, provincial and national radio and television stations.
The Government Communication and Information System’s (GCIS’s) exhibition stalls complimented the sharing of service delivery information to the public. “Throughout the week, we have disseminated critical service delivery information to the public that relate to health, local government, on how the public can access indigent grants, among other things. Currently, we have an impressive development footprint in rural areas,” said the Regional Co-ordinator for Central Karoo and Eden District, Mr Jethro Grootboom. The Government Communication and Information System’s role in this event underscored the TPTTP’s mandate to promote corporative governance.
Part of the core of the communications strategy of this programme was GCIS. The main attractions at this year’s event were the exhibitions stalls.
The team was driven through the Ladysmith Mountains to each of the boreholes. The dam is visibly fuller than it was during the pre-visits in March. This is a lasting solution and a great legacy for the area.
Source : Parliament of South Africa