About CR Campaign
South Africa is a country which has forged its way through a politically daunting past, pioneering a new democratic dispensation for equality, non-racism and a democratic society. Our transition from authoritarianism to democracy remains an instrumental pillar in shaping our future. Through statutory consultative bodies, we managed to give rise to independent institutions bestowed with the responsibility of protecting and preserving gains of our democracy.
Citizens remain pillars of democratic processes in South Africa through voting. It therefore, goes without saying that South Africa is an illustration of active and visible democracy. The Constitution of the country plays a fundamental role in protecting all people irrespective of race, culture or religious background.
GAUTENG PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE
As the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) we remain committed towards ensuring that citizens spearhead and champion prosperity and transformation within the Gauteng province. We believe that it is citizens that determine their future by proactively participating in the broader mainstream of governance and policy formulation. The institution needs to vigorously rope in citizens to partake in policy formulation and more importantly, use democratic ways of engagement with government.
We should curb social distances which will give rise to insurrectionist tendencies or create claustrophobic spaces, which will limit interaction with citizens.
As an oversight institution, communities rely on the GPL/oversight institutions for ensuring that government or civil servants are held accountable. Innovative ways need to be created to bridge this widening gap.
Government continues to deliver, however at times there are forces which undermine this process and instigate unnecessary tension between government and citizens.
As the Gauteng Speakers Forum (GSF) we acknowledge and commend the strides made in bettering the quality of life of millions of people in Gauteng. This is visibly seen in many parts of our province, where people now have access to shelter, quality water, basic services and access to infrastructure. This is testimony to the view that indeed the government remains committed to delivering on its mandates.
Citizens are the bedrock of our democracy and at all times channels of meaningful communication need to be open in order to facilitate regular interaction. In fact, the GPL serves as one of these mechanisms of engagement and broader public participation in curbing potential tensions or misunderstandings in society.
However, the pertinent questions remain, "how many citizens understand the power they have to hold government accountable: do they understand institutions that are there to represent them: are they aware of their rights and do they understand how government broadly operates? These pertinent questions are central in answering some of the social problems we are confronted with.
From this background, an initiative to start an awareness campaign has been implemented. This is the "citizens" responsibility campaign", a campaign solely committed to ensuring that we renew our partnership with communities and strengthen our democracy. Evidently, there are frustrations within communities about the pace of service delivery and at times, the implications of corruption on good governance.
WHAT MUST THE CAMPAIGN ADDRESS?
The Citizens Responsibility Campaign should inculcate Civic Education as its cardinal objective to communicate the role of the state and highlight the citizen's responsibilities towards South Africa's development.
- Civic Education is an important aspect of making citizens understand their responsibility within the institutional framework of the state. It will empower and enable citizens to effectively use the system to harness their lives and to build a reciprocal relationship of the state and citizens. Such a relationship will help the state to: Improve the capacity to deliver services.- Improve communication and public engagement.- Target the top priorities of government.- Develop laws and enforce them.- Bring public servants closer to the people.- Build a corrupt-free government and responsive governance.- Implement Moral Regeneration campaigns successfully.- Strengthen civic education.- Find innovative ways of engagement with citizens.- Broaden the framework of participation (not only through legislature platform/s but governance platforms broadly i.e. SGB, CPF etc).- Curb social distance which will give rise to insurrection tendencies.- Develop a Charter of Responsibilities.
WORKING WITH CITIZENS
There is a perception that there is a give-and-take relationship between government and citizens. This at times causes some of the problems we have, such as service delivery protests. The changing of such perceptions will heavily depend on educating and the re-orientation of communities. This speaks largely to citizens understanding the role of the state and how they can play a role in ensuring that service delivery does take place without resorting to violent protests. Some key issues to be educated on:
- Citizen responsibilities- Participation in governance- Respect of law and order- Saving the environment
How do we address this problem?
- Empowerment- Education- Knowledge access- Engagement, conversations- Constituency work
What must be the essence of the campaign?
- Participation in governance. Make the process function properly- Active citizenry - be involved in your own development- Volunteer your services – be part of making democracy work
Campaign must be driven by government key priorities:
view campaign www.citizensresponsibility.org