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Parliament, Wednesday, 16 November 2022 - The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Deputy Chairperson, Ms Sylvia Lucas, has implored the three spheres of government to constantly engage community members in all ongoing programmes, including incomplete projects. She was speaking during public hearings on housing, roads, transport, and public infrastructure, as part of the week-long NCOP’s Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) oversight programme currently underway in the Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu Natal.

Community members from across the Ugu District raised concerns about poor road maintenance, total lack of access roads in high lying rural and farm areas, inadequate housing, poor water infrastructure, and lack of electricity.

Ms Lucas said although the issues raised were adequately responded to by the relevant MECs and ministers who attended the hearings and shared their service acceleration plans for the affected areas, further public engagements are required. She said community members seem to appreciate the services that are provided to them, but they are frustrated when government officials are nowhere to explain delays when they occur.

She emphasized the importance of programmes such as Taking Parliament to the People as instruments that create an interface amongst the three spheres of government and legislatures to ensure that elected representatives of the people take time to hear what the people have to say and respond accordingly.

“We would like to actually ask the government to come back to the people, even if they are not able to immediately respond to the issues that they have committed to. But they must at least come back to the people, because this kind of exercise is showing us that people are grateful for what is done for them. People also want us to be constantly responding to the issues,” added Ms Lucas.

The TPTTP programme, held under the theme “Working together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services to communities” is a platform for the public to hold their leaders accountable on issues that affect them. The programme enables the NCOP to exercise its constitutional obligation of overseeing government programmes and policies. The programme also gives ordinary citizens an opportunity to engage their elected public representatives face-to-face on issues affecting them.

The programme continues with more public hearings and further site visits to the identified key service delivery points, such as water reticulation plants, farming projects, police stations and etc.

The programme will conclude with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s annual address to the NCOP sitting on Friday at Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre in Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality, KZN.

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