Good afternoon Speaker, honourable members and guests in the gallery. I would like to start off by quoting one of my favourite African proverbs that says “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together.” These words must set become our creed as the 6th parliament so that we work together to achieve excellence. Our strength as parliament must find its roots in our collective efforts to ensure that our beloved state receives the intended reform and development it requires.
The National Council of Provinces is arguably the house that is the most connected to the life blood of this country. In acknowledging such, we must do all possible to ensure the full public participation in this country is not only inclusive but seeks to educate and empower communities. The strategy of taking parliament to the people is a good idea however I believe it needs further funding, attendance and added activities. Parliament to the people must be able to give people the opportunity to engage and understand parliamentary activities. Through the engagement of people, we will bring ourselves closer to understand the day to day experiences of people in this country. Members, we not only serve our respective constituents but the whole country and we act on in the best interest of the state. If we are to act in this manner we need to develop and pass legislation that, is responsive to the needs of the people.
I propose that the programme of taking parliament to the people must be further developed and parliament must visit a different sector in each term. One constant visit each year in the third term must be to take parliament to the universities in South Africa. Over 5 years, parliament should visit all the universities of this country and seek to answer questions that the youth may have as well as educate the youth as to the importance, need and role of parliament. We all believe that they youth is our future and the only way to impasse knowledge and set the next generation on the right path is to educate and involve them now.
This programme will certainly require more funding, but we must also seek plan for the future and make parliament a place that the youth will recognize and be comfortable in. for this reason we think that added infrastructure for video conferencing needs to be implemented in parliament. As part of the move to the 4th industrial revolution, all committee rooms must be fitted with video conferencing in order to avoid the costly flights for members who only need to attend 1 meeting. Video conferencing can bridge the gap of distance and importance of members attendance in committees. Last week the simple joint programming committee required members to fly from all areas of the country for only 1 meeting. Video conferencing would be able to reduce this burden on the state. It may also assist and add capacity for summoning people through video conferencing in a more cost-effective manner. These further assists parliament in its goals of reducing its carbon foot prints by implementing cost effective measures.
We support this budget because, we hope that it will also be a tool, to turn around this institution into a professionally run organisation with relevant, adopted policies and system that will be implemented daily
Mr SE Mfayela,