5 ways to get your issues heard in parliament
by: Neo Maditla - 8 February 2017
Do you have a burning issue? Want it put before parliament? Last year young activist and journalist, Pontsho Pilane, wanted free access to sanitary pads for all young South Africans and Project Demo helped her get it heard by parliament. But Project Demo isn’t the only option to get parliament to take your issues seriously.
Here are a few ways to get active about your issues:
Join a political party or civic organisation
Did you notice how issues like #FeesMustFall and #BlackLivesMatter became mass movements with big impacts? Welcome to the power of people + social media. The key is to get active and get organized. Don’t take your social media power for granted. If you and your friends are worried about the same issues, join forces and make your issues heard.
Identify your local MP
Did you know that every week Members of Parliament (MPs) have to do “constituency work” in their respective communities? It’s true. MPs have to go out and speak to the people in their elected communities and report back any “issues” to parliament. Find out where your constituency office is (every town has one), or use this easy representative locator tool to identify your local MP, so you can take your issues to them in the hope that they will bring them up in parliament.
Send a submission through parliament’s website
You can submit issues directly through parliament’s website. Just go to the website and under “participate in parliament”, click on “submissions” and follow the easy guide to submit your issues.
Submit a petition
Do you have a group of people willing to sign a petition? You can submit various kinds of petitions through the parliament website. Learn more about these and how to submit them here:
Use social media to address issues
A lot of South African politicians and MPs are on social media, especially Twitter. If you have a burning issue, be sure to compose a well-crafted Tweet or Facebook post and tag a relevant MP/politician in it. Who knows? You could just get a response or commitment to help you address your issues, especially if people start to comment or to share your post.