National Assembly Speaker, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula today stressed how crucial effective and qualitative oversight is in ensuring that the people of South Africa receive the quality services they deserve.
“If it is to be effective and impact making, oversight will have to be about more than just reporting, but creating systems that allow collaboration and joint monitoring to ensure delivery and results,” she said.
The Speaker made the opening remarks at the two-day South African Legislative Sector (SALS) Oversight Summit currently underway in Cape Town.
Among the attendees at the summit that is being held under the theme “Striving for Oversight that Ensures a Better Life for All South Africans,” are Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament and provincial legislatures, Deputy President, Paul Mashatile, who delivered the keynote address, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, heads of Chapter 9 instructions as well as local and international diplomats.
The Speaker described the summit as a milestone for a maturing democracy and true evidence of the commitment to strengthen the capacity of government to serve people better. She said that despite varying mandates of state organs, impactful oversight can be achieved through collaboration.
The Speaker said, although the summit is organised by the legislative sector, it is a platform to bring the three arms of the state and spheres of government under one roof, as qualitative oversight that ensures service delivery to citizens requires contribution and involvement of all sectors.
“Qualitative oversight is important for all our work as it guarantees accountability to our people – ensuring greater public confidence, not only in the legislatures, but in the state as a whole”, said the Speaker.
Delivering his keynote address, the Deputy President called on the sector to maintain the commitment to a better life made to the citizens of South Africa. He described oversight as one of the powerful tools at the disposal of the legislative sector to ensure that our democracy is not void of accountability to the citizens.
As the Leader of Government Business, Deputy President Mashatile said he has ensured that there is constant monitoring of responses to parliamentary questions by the executive and that by the end of 2023, there was only one question that had lapsed.
He emphasised that the lapsing of even one question is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated as the legislative sector strives to strengthen accountability.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo shared message of support and commended the legislative sector for organising such an important platform for reflection.
Chief Justice Zondo said Parliament and provincial legislatures are important and trusted with a responsibility to make laws that must improve the quality of life of all citizens and the economy. He called on the delegates to ensure that they effectively execute their responsibility without fear, while holding members of the executive accountable.
This year’s summit is aimed at assessing the legislative sector’s effectiveness in upholding constitutional mandates, including oversight, public engagement, and law-making. It will explore transformative approaches and strategies to enhance sector oversight and foster knowledge-sharing and an exchange of ideas on effective oversight practices with regional, continental, and international counterparts.
The Speakers Forum, comprising the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, and the Speakers and Deputy Speakers of all nine provincial legislatures, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the country’s legislative sector.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.