Honourable Chairperson and Members

The Presiding Officers of this 5th Democratic Parliament, in the foreword of the Strategic Plan 2014-19, said, “Parliament exist to represent people and to ensure their involvement in government processes”.

In this regard, and in the context of celebrating its twenty years of existence, we would recommend that this house, deliberately creates more mechanisms for citizens to have access to all the laws made by Parliament.

We must move towards a deliberative participatory model of democracy anchored by an aggressive civic education. It is through knowledge that the people can understand and appreciate their responsibilities and rights in a democracy.

Participation is an essential part of development; it develops self-confidence, pride, initiative, creativity, responsibility, cooperation and sharing and working together.

Without meaningful participation development will lack and all development efforts and alleviation of poverty will be immensely difficult, if not impossible. People must be enabled to take charge of their lives and solve their problems whilst government and other development agencies are creating conducive environment and are facilitating.

Secondly, the relationship between the parliamentary management and the staff has to be addressed with speed. It cannot be correct that each financial year we face possible labour action, because the management and the workers’ representatives are unable to dialogue effectively.

The current dispute on salary increase and the alleged threat of retrenchments do not augur well for the effective functioning of this institution and has to be resolved with speed.

Lastly, the outsourced function of cleaning, requires a reconsideration in order to safeguard jobs.

The employees have proposed that they be insourced as Parliamentary staff. Given that their service is inherently part of the work of Parliament, we support the proposal for insourcing. We propose that the Presiding Officers prioritise the resolution of this matter.

The United Democratic Movement supports the policy debate on Budget Vote 2.

I thank you.

Address by Mr LB Gaehler, MP in the UDM Eastern Cape Representative in the National Council of Provinces