Remodelled Parliamentary Constituency Offices launched in Soweto

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Amos Masondo has unveiled his Parliamentary Constituency Offices (PCOs) in Soweto, to enable Members of Parliament to interact with the people they represent.

The newly remodelled PCO, which belongs to Masondo, was unveiled at Entokozweni Community Centre in Moletsane on Monday, as part of Parliament’s Nelson Mandela Day goodwill activities and outreach programme to communities needing developmental interventions to improve the quality of their lives.

Masondo said the activity represents the opening of a new chapter to improve the orientation of PCOs and their value to the communities.

“It is a small but significant step that must see us agreeing on what will constitute an ideal PCO, and on how to work collaboratively to achieve that,” Masondo said.

Masondo said the PCOs are, among other things, meant to provide a point of leadership interaction with the community.

“PCOs are designed to provide a platform to educate and empower people with information, and on how to take part in processes pertaining to how they are governed. They are part of a structural framework developed to enable Members of Parliament to engage people in an unmediated dialogue on their concerns and aspirations,” Masondo said.

He added that over the years, there have been many efforts and ideas on how the PCOs could be strengthened.

“One of the innovative ways of equipping the PCOs to meaningfully discharge their services was bringing the representatives from national Parliament, the provincial legislature, and the municipal council, under one roof and in communication with the people.

“We do not have perfect solutions, and we do not believe there are. Our attitude is that improvement can result from taking one step in the right direction, learning from the impact of one’s action, and using that to make further improvements as one moves forward,” the chairperson said.

Masondo noted that the remodelling of PCOs came as a result of an extensive consultation with the members of the public on how they would want Parliament to serve them better.

“Having learnt from the feedback derived through surveys of the views of the members of the public and the stakeholders, Parliament revised its approach to public participation and placed at the centre the reimagining, repurposing and remodelling of PCOs.

“This is in order to enable the PCOs to truly serve as our extension offices that are accessible and alive with activities that advance our democracy,” he explained.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the launch of Masondo's PCO is part of an ongoing implementation plan.

“Sections 59 and 72 of the Constitution enjoin Parliament to promote public access to and meaningful participation in parliamentary processes and activities to strengthen South Africa's participatory democracy and help accelerate the development of the people,” Mothapo said.

The launch of the remodelled office in Soweto follows the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s launch in Makanda in April 2022.

Mothapo said Parliament plans to roll out a programme for all Constituency Offices.

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