November 21, 2019

Remember the song you sang as a kid: ‘there were ten in the bed and the little one said roll over ... so we all rolled over, now there are nine in the bed”. Parliament is an unlikely place to be reminded of nursery rhymes, but this was a committee meeting about the scourge of child murders in South Africa, and this old ditty had chilling implications when quoted in a submission to the Western Cape Social Development department.

The fifth parliament has been a parliament of firsts. It was the first time bloody noses were seen in the chamber, the first time the riot police were called into the house, the first time members were manhandled and thrown out by security staff. Remember when parliament used to be boring?

If there remains anyone out there who still buys into the elaborately crafted apartheid lie about the alleged insanity of Dimitri Tsafendas, the man who assassinated Hendrick Verwoerd, this thoroughly researched book will at last set the record straight.

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) held a public meeting late in January to mobilise civil society behind a demand for accountability and oversight within parliament's admininstration in the wake of the protest suicide of senior manager Lennox Garane, who shot himself in his parliamentary office last year. The meeting, held at the offices of the IJR, was attended by the Public Service Accountability Monitor, the Parliamentary Monitoring Group as well as public policy experts and social justice activists in the field of accountability to express their serious concern about the functionality of parliament and its impact on the country’s state of governance.

Academic research on the best digital tools for monitoring southern African parliaments shows Uganda tweets live from parliamentary session, while Kenya has Mzalendo, a top website similar to the UK’s TheyWorkForYou.com. The study argues that digital tools such as these must be developed to ensure that citizens are able to follow the debates taking place in their respective official parliamentary chambers.

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About Us

Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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