This initiative was pioneered by the national Parliament in June 2004 to mark the anniversary of the Congress of the People and to give ordinary South Africans an opportunity to make their voices heard on issues which affect their daily lives. In subsequent years, the People’s Assembly became an annual event, hosted by the national Parliament and provincial Legislatures during the month of September.
Unlike other sector parliaments, participation in the People’s Assembly is not restricted. KwaZulu-Natal delegates, having been drawn from diverse social, cultural, educational and political backgrounds, are given a platform to meet and to make important and meaningful statements about their destiny. Each province sends representatives to this national event, with the national Parliament prescribing the various sectors that delegates should come from. One theme, with various sub-themes, is then discussed.
Events in the provinces coincide with the national event and take place simultaneously. A satellite is used to link proceedings at different venues. These proceedings are then televised live on SABC2.
In cases where the national Parliament does not host the People’s Assembly, the Legislature hosts its own assembly within an identified district. The procedure still follows the same format, except for the live crossings.