Eastern Cape Legislature brings 2017 Public Participation Week programme to Jansenville

BY MARC JACOBSON - APRIL 5, 2017
Eastern Cape Legislature brings 2017 Public Participation Week programme to Jansenville

The Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature kicked off its Public Participation Week programme in the Sarah Baartman District with a workshop that was held at the Jansenville Town Hall, in Jansenville, in the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality, on Tuesday.

The Eastern Cape Public Participation Week is running until Friday, the 7th of April. During this period, provincial and local government leaders will mobilise communities around the province to actively partner with government to accelerate the implementation of public socio-economic development programmes.

At the Jansenville event were representatives from various municipal and provincial departments, councillors, public servants as well as civil society representatives and local residents. 

The event also came just when the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality tabled its first ever Draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) at a Council meeting that was held last week.

Addressing delegates, Dr Beyers Naude Mayor, Deon de Vos; said; “We are coming around in the IDP outreach to engage and respond to everything between you [the community] and the local municipality on what is going on.

“We are faced with serious challenges, and we are here to brief the community on some of these challenges. The most serious one here in Jansenville is the quality, quantity and accessibility of water.

“This water challenge is the weighing factor holding back the delivery of houses in Jansenville, and today, we are here to answer all your questions and come up with solutions.”

Member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Honourable Michael Masonwabe Peter, who led the provincial delegation, said that the Public Participation Week is meant to bring communities and government closer.

“There are always complaints and petitions from the public - whether it is individuals or collectives, and today, we, as the Legislature, want to show you how we work through interacting with you,” he said.

“Our objective is to conduct public hearings, participation and consultations with you [the community] to make sure you influence how our laws and decisions are made.”

He said that the laws must, however, be presented to Parliament, followed by an oversight of councils and the voting of budget allocations in the budgeting processes of developmental projects.

“Our budget that we allocate is called the ‘people’s budget’ and these budgets are always directed to benefit the people in different developments,” said Peter.

“Lastly, the co-function of Parliament is to ensure public participation in everything that government will do and our interest is to see if people are participating. That is why we have created platforms for people to speak out.”

Peter also emphasized that any matters raised by the community in petitions and complaints will be addressed by the government on these platforms - and in the case of Jansenville, water scarcity had arisen as a predominant issue.

“We must create these platforms, because we are your executives and public representatives and we won’t ask you to come to us; we will come to you with an IDP, speaking to you on what is most affecting you,” he added.

“Let us understand that after the three local municipalities were amalgamated into the Dr Beyers Naude, there is still a process to ensure that all systems are working as they should.”

Local stakeholders also had an opportunity to ask questions on government programmes during a question and answer session at the workshop.

Another Public Participation Week event is scheduled to take place in the Kouga Local Municipality at the Humansdorp Country Club on Thursday morning.

Image: Member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Michael Masonwabe Peter, addressing the community at the public participation event at the Jansenville Town Hall, in Jansenville.