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Active Citizenry And Your Responsibility As A Citizen

Part of the benefits of being in a democratic country such as South Africa is the enjoyment of the right and privilege of contributing to the law making processes.

Do you know that before a bill becomes law, it must first be passed by both the National Assembly and National Council of provinces? Once it has been introduced, a bill is referred to the relevant committee, where it is debated in detail and, if there is much public interest in a bill, the committee may call for public comment on them.

Currently, Parliament has a number of very interesting bills for public comment. Here are some of them.

  1. Cannabis for private use bill is making a provision among others – for the expungement of criminal records of persons convicted of possession or use of cannabis. I am sure that many people who enjoy this recreation would be grateful for this reprieve especially young people who are still searching for employment and can’t get work because of a criminal record related to this.
  2. Employment Equity Amendment Bill, to provision for the Minister to identify sectorial numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups. This bill is important because despite gains of democracy, transformation in executive positions in various sectors of our economy has continued to eluded our country with many position still reserved for previously privileged white males. In fact, over the last 10 years, there has been a decline in the number of executive positions appointments of people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
  3. Prevention of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bills whose main purpose is to legally deal racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. In other words, it may soon become a criminal officer to use certain words and to post xenophobic or racial content on social media or in spew such bile in public. This bill intends to provide for the offence of hate crime and the offence of hate speech and the prosecution of persons who commit those offences among other things.

I suggest that as citizens of this beautiful country, we take the time and read through the content on the Parliamentary website. The language is easy to understand and interact with. Enjoy.

Coming up is a summary on the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill (in view of the upcoming Local Government Elections and Electoral Laws Amendment Bill (in view of the case that was won Against the IEC the Constitutional Court)