ANC defends interaction on info bill
Cape Town - There is nothing unusual about interaction between ANC MPs and the public on the protection of information bill, the party said on Tuesday.
There were "those who have sought to cast aspersions" on the legitimacy of the ANC parliamentary caucus' public consultation process on the bill, African National Congress Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said.
"The criticism emanates particularly from some opposition parties in Parliament who allege that the process is in conflict with the procedures of Parliament and therefore 'unprecedented'," he said in a statement.
"Nothing could be further from the truth."
The constitutional function of Parliament was split in two.
MPs' work at Parliament entailed physical interaction between MPs and members of the public in their various constituencies.
Public interaction, which was a vibrant part of participatory democracy, was essential to, and the lifeblood of, constitutional accountability.
"We take this aspect of parliamentary work seriously," said Motshekga.
"The practice of engaging with communities and seeking their views on a wide range of matters in this institution, including draft legislation before the Houses of Parliament, is not new.
ANC MPs would also use the constituency work period to interact with their constituencies on the bill.
The process of taking the bill to the public, particularly in the remotest parts of the country, would give people - regardless of their political affiliation - an opportunity to receive firsthand information on the content of the bill so they could make up their minds.
Motshekga said the ANC caucus was already receiving comments from members of the public since the announcement last week.
"We will, in the next few weeks, announce details of the programme to take place in the provinces," he said.
On the basis of opinions expressed during this process, a decision on the bill's future would be made.