CONSTITUTION MAKING PROCESS GETS INTO GEAR.
By Khumbulani Maphosa (Media and Publications Officer)
The training of the Constitutional Outreach Teams by the Parliamentary Select Committee came to an end on the 13th of January 2010. However the teams are yet to be notified of their deployment details paving way for the actual beginning of the historic constitution making process.
According to the Select Committee there will be seventy Outreach Teams that will cover the seventy districts of the country. Each team was supposed to have nine members, that is, three Members of Parliament and six Civic Society representatives. However after a lot of political bickering and negotiations the three parties in government resolved to add three more rapportuers, each representing one of the parties. This has however irked discontent from some quarters that have observed the process as being heavily politicized.
The deployment of the Outreach Teams has not been finalized, as there is speculation that the Select Committee Secretariat is yet to do a thorough audit of the Outreach Team members. This follows an unfortunate scenario that saw about one thousand people being accredited and trained instead of the initially advertised six hundred and thirty-eight.
Ideally there are supposed to be three meetings per ward in the rural areas and one meeting per ward in the urban areas. This is meant to cater for the spatial geography of rural wards and the settlement patterns that are not as clustered as in the cities and towns.
Habakkuk Trust will continue monitoring the Constitution making process and disseminating information to various stakeholders on how the process is unfolding. The organisation will also work closely with its Advocacy Action Teams to mobilize communities to fully participate in the outreach meetings that are expected to begin soon.