A PMG Review of Constituency Work in South Africa
See our latest research paper:
Constituency engagement is one of the primary mechanisms through which community issues are brought to the attention of the legislature. Direct communication with citizens is key for elected representatives to effectively represent and respond to their constituents’ needs. Through constituency outreach activities, public representatives can become better informed and therefore better positioned to address the needs of the communities they serve in a timely and consistent manner.
Constituency work is supposed to ensure that elected representatives are visible, responsive, and accountable to citizens on the ground outside of election campaign periods.
The study explores and presents a current review of constituency work carried out by MPs and MPLs. There is not much known or written on constituency work and we hope our study contributes to filling this gap.
Parliament allocates specific days and periods in the calendar for this work. Since the start of 2022, 105 days have been dedicated to constituency work yet there is no transparency on whether MPs and MPLs did indeed spend their time in their constituencies. Regarding funding for constituency work, our overarching concern is the lack of transparency around the funding allocated by Parliament to represented political parties for constituency work. If political parties are indeed accounting to Parliament for the use of these funds, this information should be made public.
However, while there are deep systemic issues around constituency engagement, it is important to acknowledge that some MPs are active, present and responsive to their constituents. There are many who speak passionately about their communities and advocate for them.
Our report findings show and present an interesting picture of how constituency work is carried out by some MPs and the challenges they face, but this only really scratches the surface.
About this blog
"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.