In a bid to curb the number of street protests and the resultant destruction of properties, Gauteng plans direct all protests to be done via electronic mails.
Concerned about the damages caused by street protesters who feel their complaints have been ignored and they have no other means of getting the authorities’ attention, Gauteng plans to re-visit its law on petitions by giving detailed procedures on how to get petition heard.
Gauteng’s Petitions Act of 2002, provides for the general principle of allowing petitions to be submitted to the legislature but this month, the Gauteng legislature issued for public comment a draft set of regulations on submitting petitions. Comments may be made to the Office of the Secretary in the Legislature until April 29.
If the regulations are passed, they give room for petitions to be sent to the legislature by post, by hand delivery, by fax, electronic and social platforms or even through the legislature’s website.
However, the Petitions have to be recorded on an official form which is attached to the regulations. The petitioner will also have to include information about himself by giving name, address and ID number after which the petitioner will make a statement of complaint and an indication of what he/she would like the legislature to do.
More so, the petition has to be logged on a central register, assigned to an official to process them and then sent to the legislature’s petitions committee. The petitioner will also be told what has happened to the complaints and, if the committee rejects them, they are entitled to a written explanation for this. This in a way, encourage a resolution of the complaints.
In addition the processes to be followed for petitions to be fully acknowledge, the committee secretary has to conduct a preliminary investigation into the petition complaint within 10 days of registering the petition, and the committee secretary has the power to call for people to appear before the committee to answer questions.
After the preliminary investigation, the committee secretary will within seven working days, submit the petition to the Speaker of the legislature who will then refer the matter to the committee for consideration and adoption.
The committee will then consider and deal with petitions referred by the Speaker and must tell the petitioner the outcome within four weeks of the matter being adopted by the committee.
If this procedures are dully followed by both the petitioners and the governing bodies, the huge funds lavished on refurbishing damaged properties will be geared in other areas that will help the develop the state. This will put to an end all form of violent street protests