Parliament Must Embrace Connection with Public Voice

Albie Sachs

Justice Albie Sachs spoke at the opening of the People’s Power, People’s Parliament conference in Cape Town on Monday about Parliament and its relationship with the people. Sachs said that Parliament must embrace its connection with voters and the public voice.

“We felt that phrase in the Constitution about the public being involved was not simply the public can sit upstairs and watch the proceedings and the public can make its representations to the portfolio committee, it meant an on-going, active connection and association.

He continued to speak about the Constitution saying that it was not just a document that had been chosen because it looked good, rather it was the product of six years of “low grade civil war.”

Sachs believes that the relationship between Parliament and the public should be an organic and interactive relationship, particularly for the minority groups who are not well represented in South Africa’s political power. “They should also have an on-going, active voice and to make them feel that this is our Parliament and we are involved,” he said.

Due to our history, South Africa has a democratic model that is full of potential and power, a model which Sachs says, other countries could successfully copy.

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