Deadbeat public reps overwork Madonsela – Manuel

2014-11-11 20:23

Former planning minister Trevor Manuel said Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office was so busy because public representatives were not doing their jobs.

At the Helen Suzman Memorial Lecture at the Gordon Institute for Business Science in Johannesburg tonight, Manuel said members of parliament and legislatures received almost R1million each to do constituency work.

He said if they were more in touch with the people they represent, Madonsela wouldn't get so many complaints.

"The parliamentary system, that is the National Assembly and nine provincial legislatures, will spend approximately R800 million this year to support the 860 members to perform their responsibility of engaging their electorate, by closing the information gap and dealing with the needs and lived experience of citizens," he said.

He said there was about one elected representative for each 65 000 people, excluding ward councillors.

He said the parliamentary programme was adjusted so that MPs only have to be in Cape Town for parliamentary programmes from Tuesday to Thursday, while the weekends and school holiday periods were set aside for constituency work.

"All citizens should know how the system works for them, in closing the gap between officialdom and their daily lives," he said.

Manuel said it was up to civil society to keep democracy in check and energise it.

He said the Constitution was clear on what is needed for transition in South Africa and for closing the inequality gap, but civil society should help bring this to life.

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