Government urged to engage communities on infrastructure projects

Thursday, November 17, 2022

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Deputy Chairperson, Sylvia Lucas, has implored the three spheres of government -- national, provincial and local government -- to constantly engage community members on all ongoing programmes, including incomplete projects.

Lucas made the call during public hearings on housing, roads, transport and public infrastructure.

The hearings are part of the week-long 'Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP)' oversight programme, which is underway at Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

At the hearing, community members across the district raised concerns about poor road maintenance, including total lack of access roads in high-lying rural and farm areas, inadequate housing, poor water infrastructure and lack of electricity.

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.

“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,” Lucas said.

Lucas emphasised the importance of programmes, such as the 'Taking Parliament to the People', as instruments that create an interface amongst the three spheres of government and provincial 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 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 constantly respond to issues,” she said. 

Held under the theme, 'Working together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services to communities', the TPTTP programme is a platform for the public to hold their leaders accountable on issues affecting 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, including water reticulation plants, farming projects, police stations, amongst others.

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