"Sectorial Parliaments" of the Mpumalanga Legislature
- General Objectives
- Specific Objectives
- Sectors Prioritized for the Sectoral Parliaments
- Determination of the Overarching Themes for the Sectoral Parliaments
- Stakeholders of the Sectoral Parliaments
- Mobilization for a Sectoral Parliament
- Preparatory Commissions for Sectoral Parliaments
- Reporting During Sectoral Parliaments
1. Foreword by the Speaker
The Constitution obligates the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature to execute the democratic duty of involving the people in the legislative processes and activities of the Legislature and its Committees. We strongly believe that “people must have the greatest possibility to participate in the process of government”.
It is in this context, that over the years, the Legislature initiated an innovative and pragmatic mechanism of diverse “sectoral parliaments”. The complimentary nature of these progressive efforts was, and is still essential in ensuring that the Legislature increases the potential impact of the collective efforts in expanding public participation and deepening of democracy in our province and country in general.
2. Overview by the Secretary
In the context of our constitutional obligation of facilitating public involvement, the Legislature has continued with its innovative idea of organising sectoral “parliaments focusing on the following sectors: youth, workers, women, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.
In these sectoral parliaments, the people from various sectors converge in their “parliaments” to discuss pertinent matters under various annual themes, and then recommendations adopted are tabled in the House.
The resolutions of the House are then referred to the relevant government departments for their attention. We believe that our engagement with these various sectors gave us an opportunity to expand public participation and deepen democracy in our province.
This document aims to articulate the context in which sectoral parliaments of the Legislature have been conceptualized in the life of the 3rd Legislature. This conceptualization informs how these sectoral parliaments are subsequently executed at the Legislature.
4. The Conceptualization
The fundamental context in which the sectoral parliaments are generally conceptualized is the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. This emanates from the reality that the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature is established in terms of the Constitution which determines the mandate with specific roles and responsibilities of the Legislature. Section 104 of the Constitution establishes the Legislature, while Sections 114 and 118 outline powers, roles and responsibilities of the Legislature, as follows:
In executing its legislative powers, the Legislature may
• consider, pass, amend or reject any Bill; and
• initiate or prepare legislation, except money Bills.
The Legislature must also provide the following mechanisms to:
• ensure that all provincial executive organs of state and the province are accountable to it; and
• conduct oversight over the provincial executive authority and any provincial organ of state, including, the implementation of legislation.
Furthermore, the Mpumalanga Legislature must also:
• Facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the Legislature and its committees, and
• Conduct its business in an open manner, and hold its sittings and those of its committees in public.
It should be acknowledged that these constitutional obligations constitute the mandate of the Legislature that has to be fulfilled. This constitutional mandate therefore serves as the basis for the conceptualization of the sectoral parliaments of the Legislature with special focus on the constitutional aspect dealing with the facilitation of public involvement and participation.
5. Objectives of Sectoral Parliaments
In the context of the articulated conceptualization of the sectoral parliaments in the Legislature, there are general and specific objectives that have to be achieved through the sectoral parliaments.
5.1 General Objectives
• Promote participatory democracy by facilitating and creating opportunities for effective involvement and participation of sectors of society
in the province;
• Educate the public in the context of the sectoral parliaments about the legislative processes and activities of the Legislature that can be of
benefit to them.
• Facilitate direct public oversight in each sectoral parliament involving the Legislature, Executive and the targeted beneficiaries.
5.2 Specific Objective
To create a targeted social dialogue and political space for specified sectors and affected constituencies which should culminate into recommendations and House resolutions for implementation by the respective departments.
6. Operationalization of the Sectoral Parliaments
In order to put the idea of the sectoral parliaments into practice, there are necessary and fundamental implementation imperatives that have to be addressed, and are articulated below:
6.1 Sectors Prioritized for the Sectoral Parliaments
Specific sectors of our society in the province have to be prioritized for the sectoral parliament initiative. The prioritirization of these sectors is mainly influenced by similar prioritization that also takes place within the realm of Parliament, and the Executive both at the provincial and national levels. It is in this context that over the years, the sectors reflected below in pictures have been prioritized for sectoral parliaments at the Legislature:-
It is envisaged that in the quantum of time, the prioritized sectors would be expanded with a view to providing platform to more sectors in our province.
6.2 Determination of the Overarching Themes for the Sectoral Parliaments
An annual overarching theme with sub-themes or thematic areas must be identified in order to inform and shape the content of discussions, recommendations and the subsequent resolutions of each sectoral parliament. The annual themes for the respective sectoral parliaments have been emanating from the Legislature but deliberately aligned to those agreed upon in Parliament. However, in the light of the developments regarding the formalization of the legislative sector, it is envisaged that such overarching themes could be determined at the sector level.
Some of the overarching themes we have had in the life of the 3rd Legislature include the following:
• Educating, empowering and involving communities for a better life
• Expand public involvement, deepen democracy
• Deepening democracy through increased public
• participation Deepening and advancing democracy through increased access to equal rights
6.3 Stakeholders of the Sectoral Parliaments
The participation of the relevant stakeholders within a specified sector is critical to the success of each sectoral parliament. This means that both the external and internal stakeholders must be identified, informed, invited and subsequently participate to ensure that there is a real possibility for achieving the objectives of each sectoral parliament. However, a distinction should be drawn among internal and external stakeholders.
6.3.1 The Internal Stakeholders
These are stakeholders that are internal to the Legislature and have a critical role to play in the success of each sectoral parliament. Over the years, the following internal stakeholders have been instrumental and will continue to be instrumental in ensuring success of each sectoral parliament of the Legislature:-
• Public Participation and Petitions Committee
• The Speakership
• The Members of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature
• These are the internal political stakeholders responsible for the ? political decision making regarding each sectoral parliament of the
• The Public Participation Unit
This constitute the internal administrative stakeholders responsible for implementing the political decisions regarding each sectoral parliament of the Legislature
In the quest for a synergised administrative support, all the business units of the Legislature are expected to provide the necessary support and services to the Public Participation Unit whenever they are requested to do so. These business Units include but, not limited to the Supply Chain, and Communications Unit.
6.3.2 The External stakeholders
These are stakeholders that are external to the Legislature and have a critical role to play in the success of each sectoral parliament. Over the years, the following external stakeholders have been instrumental and will continue to be instrumental in ensuring success of each sectoral parliament of the Legislature:-
The actual participants who are the intended beneficiaries of each sectoral parliament;
Institutions, organizations and individuals who provide expert information and knowledge on the thematic areas for discussions;
Government departments and state organs who are the custodians of service delivery pertaining to the subject matter of each sectoral parliament. They are expected to respond to matters raised by the participants.Both the internal and external stakeholders constitute the role players who are central to the success of each sectoral parliament of the Legislature.
6.4 Mobilization for a Sectoral Parliament
The mobilization of all the participants is critical for the success of each sectoral parliament. The potential value of mobilization is that:
• It elucidates the rationale for the sectoral parliament among participants;
• It enables buyin or willingness to participate;
• It allows for identifications of participants; and
• It identifies potential challenges to be addressed and possible opportunities to be explored regarding the sectoral parliament.
However, in order to maximise the full potential value of mobilization, it is imperative that it should be conducted in conjunction with the relevant municipalities and constituency offices in the various districts of the province. During the mobilization drive, it is imperative that an attempt should always be made to ensure equitable representation of the participants in terms of gender, race, disability, geographic location. However, any emerging socio-political dynamics will have to be considered in the process of decision making in this regard.
6.5 Preparatory Commissions for Sectoral Parliament
Preparatory commissions preceding the actual event are a prerequisite for the success of each sectoral parliament. The significant value that is derived from these preliminary commissions is that they:
• Familiarize participants on the thematic areas for discussion;
• Encourage participation in the various commissions on each thematic areas; and
• Provide structure and content for the discussion points during each sectoral parliament
In order to maximise the value of the preparatory commissions, it is important that:
• All participants must be evenly allocated to a commission dealing with a specific thematic area;
• There should be a subject specialist/professional to lead and facilitate discussions on each commission dealing with a specific thematic
• Each commission dealing a particular thematic areas must prepare a report to be presented in the actual sectoral parliament; and
• Each commission dealing with a particular thematic must select a rapporteur who will present the report to the actual sectoral parliament.
6.6 Reporting During Sectoral Parliaments
The reporting on the discussions that occurred during the various preparatory commissions is of strategic necessity for the success of each sectoral parliament.
It is therefore imperative that the process of reporting of discussions emanating from the preparatory commissions be clearly articulated to all role players. Some of the factors that would ensure success in this regard include the following:-
The panel of experts composed of representatives from government departments, state institutions and invited organizations or indivisuals, must be present to respond to issues emanating from the reports and also from the floor;
All rapporteurs from the respective commissions must present their reports during the sectoral parliament with clear recommendations;
Questions and comments from the floor should be encouraged to enrich the discussions;
A consolidated report with recommendations from each sectoral parliament should be compiled by the Public Participation Unit for consideration by the Public Participation and Petitions Committee;
The report should then be adopted by the House and the recom mendations become the resolutions of the House;
The resolutions should then be referred to the respective departments for attention.
Sectoral parliaments are supposed to be dynamic mechanisms for achieving the already stated objectives. This document does not purport to be exhuastive in dealing with such dynamic mechanism as sectoral parliaments. The document is considered as a guide for the conceptualization and operationalization of sectoral parliaments at the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature. It is expected to evolve over time.
A Legislature Sitting in progress
People with disability Parliament
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