PRESS RELEASE: People’s Power, People’s Parliament: A Civil Society Conference on South Africa’s Legislatures

People’s Power, People’s Parliament:

A Civil Society Conference on South Africa’s Legislatures

13 – 15 August 2012, Cape Town

  • Parliament and the provincial legislatures are democratic spaces that belong to the people of South Africa – or do they?
  • Parliament and the legislatures work with civil society to address problems with service delivery and people’s access to socio-economic rights – or do they?
  • Parliament and the legislatures make sure that government departments don’t waste public money meant for the improvement of education and healthcare – or do they?
  • Civil society organisations are pro-active in ensuring that parliament and the legislatures oversee government departments and that all voices are heard – or are they?

These and other vital questions will be debated at a civil society conference on parliament and the provincial legislatures to be held 13-15 August in Cape Town. 80 delegates from rural and urban areas across the country are expected.

“Public consultation is crucial for the consolidation of our democracy. The conference will therefore investigate whether opportunities and processes for public participation are accessible to civil society organisations and the public,” says Sam Waterhouse, Parliamentary Programme Coordinator at the Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape.

Nkosikhulule Nyembezi, policy analyst and Advocacy Programme Manager at the Black Sash, adds that, “a civil society conference on South Africa’s legislatures is much needed at this time in our maturing democracy. As we look back at our enormous achievements since breaking away from the oppressive apartheid and colonial systems, the conference gives us a space to discuss how to engage with the legislatures to advance service delivery and socio-economic rights.”

The conference will be preceded by a community workshop on 7 August with people working at local level to realise their rights.

Media are invited to cover the following events:

  • Keynote address by Justice Albie Sachs – Monday 13 Aug at 6:30pm
  •  Public debate entitled “True Representatives of the People?” with Zackie Achmat (Social Justice Coalition), Sizani Ngubane (Rural Women’s Movement) and political leaders from the ANC and DA – Monday 13 Aug at 7pm

(To be live-streamed via

  •  Media conference and handing over of memorandum to the Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu – Wednesday 15 Aug at 4pm.

Venue: Townhouse Hotel, 60 Corporation St, Cape Town (near Parliament)

  • Community workshop afternoon session on Tuesday 7 August in Khayelitsha (venue to be announced)

Twitter: #pplpower

Facebook: People’s Power, People’s Parliament



Sam Waterhouse, Community Law Centre – 084 522 9646

Nkosikhulule Nyembezi, Black Sash – 082 429 4719

Jennifer Williams, Women’s Legal Centre – 078 803 3110

Phumeza Mlungwana, Social Justice Coalition – 074 417 8306


For media-related enquiries contact Christi van der Westhuizen 083 440 9354.

(originally appeared at


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