The South African Constitution makes provision for public involvement in lawmaking, oversight and other processes of Parliament. South Africa’s democratic system not only provides for citizens to elect their representatives, but also allows citizens to have a say in matters that affect them.
One of the ways that the public can make their voices heard is by making submissions to the National Assembly Committees, the National Council of Provinces Committees or Joint Committees.
The training that took place at the beginning of March was to capacitate CAT members in understanding the process of law-making at the various levels of government. The training spoke to the importance of public participation by CAT members as active citizens of South Africa.
Another aspect of the training was targeted at looking at the latest version of the Traditional Courts Bill. This Bill was first introduced in 2007 and through Sonke’s advocacy alongside other key stakeholders, the Bill was not passed then. It was reintroduced in 2011 and then the recent reiteration was in 2017. The Bill was passed by National Assembly in March 2019 and it is awaiting concurrence of the NCOP.
The training focused on the implications of the Bill and the negative impacts it may have on people in rural areas. It also involved taking CAT members to Parliament where they went on a tour of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. For many CAT members, it was their first time flying to Cape Town and experiencing the rooms where laws are made.