Steps to Deepen Our Democracy through Strengthening Participation and Accountability

EK Siwela

17 November 2015

The House Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Honourable members and the guests in the gallery good afternoon. Indeed I am humbled by this opportunity to participate in today's debate. In doing so I wish to state from the onset that the ANC is the champion of democracy and will continue to do everything possible to enhance and promote democratic values. The ANC led government derives itys mandate from the people and therefore remain accountable to them.

Public participation and accountability as a means of strengthening our democracy is fostered through the implementation of various programmes, such government Imbizos, the presidential call centre, the Siyahlola programme and participation in integrated development plans in Local government.

Government Imbizo is a means of report back to the people and receiving immediate feedback on issues of governance. It is therefore important for people from all walks life represented and unrepresented to take full advantage of the programme. This programme offers them a unique opportunity to express their genuine views on the quality services extended to them. Government demonstrates its responsiveness and openness amongst other things through Imbizo.

In the Local government sphere people get an opportunity to participate in the integrated development plan process. This IDP processes should be taken seriously by all as it will help shape the kind of development initiatives that people want to see happening in their areas. They are also invited to comment on the tabled budget as individuals and as organised groups such NGOs, CBO, and others.

The office of the president offers a unique opportunity to all South Africans to raise matters directly with the presidency. The call centre is a powerful tool in the presidency that allows citizens to interact directly with the presidency. Through the call centre issues are raised and the president is able to do follow ups with relevant stakeholders while keeping the complainant up to date with developments. Some of the issues that are raised by the public get recognition and mentioned by the President during SONA.

The presidential Izimbizo Programme continue to be part of oversight and an opportunity for president to interact with the public directly. Recently as part of the Siyahlola programme, whereby the president and the executives visits communities to check the progress of the implementation of government programmes, the people of Bushbuckridge were given a unique opportunity to interact with the president and executives. They raised matters which were subsequently attended to by the president and the executives.

I wish to conclude by saying as the ANC government roll out these programmes citizens should attend so that they are able to remain informed about government programmes and not only that but also use the opportunity to influence government priorities. I thank you.