(Parliamentary budget vote debate: Parliament)
Perceptions play an important role in politics and to restore the public's faith in Parliament's credibility, Members of Parliament must stand up and take the lead.
According to a poll conducted last year, only 27% of South Africans trust Parliament to do its job properly.
And the fact that this institution is experiencing a crisis is undeniable.
The consequences of Covid-19 and the fire that ravaged the Houses of Parliament hampered parliamentary processes even further, which probably added to the public's mistrust.
The National Assembly's (NA) Members of Parliament are elected by the people of South Africa to represent their interests.
Some of their most important functions include appointing a president, creating a national forum for public debate, passing laws and holding the executive authority accountable.
Members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), in turn, represent the respective provinces.
At present, the executive authority, or Cabinet, represents only one political party, namely the ANC.
Like elsewhere, Parliament's budget was also cut back over the course of the past few years. In the 2021/22 financial year, the institution received R256,7 million less, while the 2022/23 budget was reduced by a further R338 million.
Parliament cannot fulfil its role properly without the necessary funds. This also underlines the tragic loss of billions of rand in state funds as a result of theft and fraud over the past 28 years.
Apart from the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and the fire, it seems that some political parties also lack the will to truly get back on track with the work of Parliament.
In order to restore its credibility, attention must specifically be paid to the quality of Parliament's functioning, like debates, questions and replies.
Making a model adjustment, such as reinstating interpellation debates to promote direct oversight, could greatly contribute to this.
Parliament and the work it does lie at the very heart of South Africa's democracy. We must do everything in own power to ensure that a healthy heartbeat is restored.