• A Senate of the People

    In the Senate, in addition to government and opposition senators we propose that there should also be a certain number of senators from bona fide civic organisations – once again promoting wider and more effective parliamentary representation. These organisations would include business chambers, trade unions, farmers’ organisations, religious, youth and women’s groups, amongst others. In our view the role of the Upper House is to provide checks and balances with respect to the work of the Lower House, where party interests dominate. These checks and balances would be achieved through the presence of civic organisations in the Upper House. Furthermore, this would allow for the voice, and therefore interests of the people to be directly heard in the Parliament through the representatives of these organisations. With representatives of civil society forming part of the Senate, the national interest could be more effectively voiced in the Parliament, as opposed to having only party positions and interests being put forward. This wider representation in the Parliament would see all major interests being represented and pursued. In this context, real politics will take place, as politics is the pursuance of interests. This would of course represent a new process and no longer would politics and representation be only a contest of power between political parties. Instead, both government and opposition would have to persuade interest groups on the basis of policy and interest groups would be correspondingly in a position to influence and change policy. In this way, the Parliament would be able to work more meaningfully towards finding solutions for the numerous challenges with which our country grapples.

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