The People’s Assembly website aims to promote accountability and bridge the gap between ordinary people and their elected representatives. It seeks to promote a greater public voice and enhance public participation in politics by providing information about our elected representatives and the institutions they serve, and even allow you, the citizen, to provide feedback.
Statistics show that there is a growing disconnect between citizens and their representatives. People often do not know who their MP is, how to contact them or what they do. This is partly due to the political system we have adopted. South Africa uses proportional representation rather than a constituency-based electoral system. One reason for doing so is that proportional representation allows smaller parties “fair” representation, in the sense that a party which wins 10% of the votes wins 10% of the legislative seats which is not the case in a first-past-the-post constituency-based system. However, the drawback to proportional representation is that our elected representatives tend to remain remote to the people on the ground. To counteract this, political parties currently assign each of their elected representatives to a constituency after the elections.
The People’s Assembly website allows better scrutiny of our elected representatives. Our RepLocator allows you to find out who your representative is, where your nearest constituency office is located and provide feedback on whether your constituency office is working well. People's Assembly aims to bring you not only info about individual representatives but also show what each Member of Parliament has been saying in Parliament.
This conglomeration of information on the People's Assembly website has been a massive coding exercise. Bugs and information gaps are sure to abound so do alert us - there is a Correct this Page alert on most pages. As the open data movement builds in momentum, we hope to include more information about our representatives from all levels of government including local government.
The People’s Assembly project has been coded by mySociety and funded by Indigo Trust. The People's Assembly website relies on the Parliamentary Monitoring Group reports on parliamentary committee work.