OUTA petitions against holiday season “consultation”
The government has used the holiday shutdown to sneak in the legally required public participation, to reduce public involvement. The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) wants to stop that.
OUTA encourages supporters to sign it before 14 August 2017.
“The courts, parliament and most businesses are closed from 15 December to 15 January every year. It seems that there is a trend to push through deals that may have little public support within this period,” says Julius Kleynhans, Portfolio Director for Water and Environment at OUTA.
OUTA believes that the nuclear deal debacle – which the courts ordered must be restarted to include proper public participation – could have been avoided if there was genuine public participation.
“We are petitioning Parliament to change the law and stop all public participation processes from commencing within the period of 15 December to 15 January,” says Kleynhans.
“South Africans are tired of government’s approach that runs roughshod over the need for meaningful public engagement, not only in the nuclear deal but also in other policies, tariff increases and processes.”
This petition is a formal request to Parliament for intervention.
"We believe that the more citizens add their weight to the initiative by signing the petition, the better the chance of it getting prioritised in Parliament,” Kleynhans says.
Public participation is considered so important that it is the only requirement for which exemption cannot be given. This is because people have the right to be informed about potential decisions that may affect them and to have the opportunity to influence those decisions. Effective public participation means more informed and thus better decision-making by government.
“Public engagement is an investment in the future of this country. Citizens must become more active to assist government in making responsible decisions and to ensure that our taxes are adequately invested, to the benefit of all South Africans,” says Kleynhans.