KZN to launch ‘Know Your MPL’ campaign
While some ground has already been covered in this regard, more still needs to be done to ensure that there is continuous and direct contact between Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) and all our communities.
To address this inconsistency, we will in the next few months launch the “Know Your MPL” Campaign which will see us strengthening our partnership with the people we represent.
This campaign will be extended to the length and breadth of our province, as we seek to familiarise our people with their representatives at provincial level.
Our ultimate goal is to make our MPLs the first port of call when our people need to air their views on various issues, whether these relate to policies or general government services.
We are meant to reach our people through Parliament and legislatures in order to advance our national democratic goals. Our people should be mobilised for them to play an active role in shaping their own lives. Hence, we reiterate the fact that we must work together with our people in building an “activist Parliament”.
The “Know Your MPL” Campaign was conceived by communities themselves and is part of our grand plan to improve how our parliamentary constituency offices operate. It’s about meeting the needs and aspirations of those at whose behest we serve.
While parliamentary constituency offices were formed to ensure effectiveness and accountability to the people, there have been challenges.
We must ensure that the Constituency 2 Offices are used to their maximum ability.
They should also provide a platform for the involvement of our people in decision-making, especially in matters affecting them.
During the establishment of the constituency offices, it was made clear that they should serve as a link to government in order to extend programmes of direct contact to empower people to be active participants in building a united, non-racial, non- sexist and democratic South Africa.
We have no doubt that the journey we have begun will receive the full support of all political parties represented in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature as they have consistently offered counsel on how we can improve our interactions with communities.
In the next few months, the office of the Chief Whip will start formal consultations with the relevant structures in the legislature, so that our vision can be refined and implemented.
Ordinary members of the public will also be afforded the opportunity to air their views on what they would like to see their constituency offices doing for them.
With the central government’s bold plans introduced to move our country out of its economic doldrums and improve the delivery of services to our people, we must at all times harness unity and nation-building.
In our journey of ensuring community involvement, let us remember the wise words of Nelson Mandela, who once said: “Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of the future are the ordinary men and women of our country.
“Their participation in every decision about their future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.”
* BM (Super) Zuma is the Chief Whip in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.