The Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has urged her Parliamentary Constituency Office (PCO) staff, especially field workers, to raise the office’s level of interaction with the people it serves. In these interactions, the office must continue to educate the people about the role of Parliament, as there is some misunderstanding about what PC offices do.

Ms Mapisa-Nqakula launched her Makhanda constituency office yesterday as part of her two-day outreach programme, which began yesterday at Makhanda’s Settlers’ Monument. Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown) was established by British settlers, most of whom arrived in the area in June 1820. The town is the largest in the Makhanda Local Municipality and forms the municipality’s headquarters.

Ms Mapisa-Nqakula assured her listeners that this PCO will engage the relevant government structures on poor service delivery and crumbling infrastructure, and try to resolve them.

Ms Mapisa-Nqakula told her field workers to assist her, as she is very busy and has limited time. “Please continue to hold the fort as I am away and come after a long time. Continue to take the office to the people and ensure that it becomes a beacon of hope to all the people in this constituency,” emphasised Ms Mapisa-Nqakula.

She emphasized that Parliament is the pride of the people and therefore the constituency office is by extension a symbol of that pride. “Parliament is a key institution and a site of democracy. This office must also be a vibrant site of democracy. It must be a big ear of Parliament that listens to the people and ensures that challenges they put before its attention are addressed,” added Ms Mapisa-Nqakula.

As she highlighted Parliament’s constitutional mandate, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula also told the people about the role of Parliament internationally. Parliament is not folding its hands on the war currently taking place between Russia and Ukraine and the Speaker is part of an Inter-Parliamentary Union task team established to engage the two countries to cease the war and enter into a peaceful agreement. Ms Mapisa-Nqakula urged her office to inform the people also about the role of Parliament at international level.

Speaking earlier, before the launch of the office, the Deputy Speaker of the NA, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli, encouraged its field workers to continue the good work of connecting the office to the people. This includes all its strategic partners, such as Rhodes University, government departments, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations and faith-based structures. “Continue to make the office as a connector and a glue that pulls together all these role-players around issues of development of the people,” said Mr Tsenoli.

Ms Mapisa-Nqakula’s constituency office, which was launched yesterday, is situated in Makhanda.

Mava Lukani
12 April 2022