When people vote for direct representatives or political parties, in elections (for government and any other institutions) they are voting for these representatives or parties to make laws and policies on their behalf and to ensure that these are carried out. This is one of the most important principles of democracy. The Constitution sets out the right to vote, to participate in political parties and to stand in elections, in Section 19.
Democracy also means that the people who have been elected are accountable in various ways to the people who voted for them. Citizens have a role to play in participating in government and governance processes on an ongoing basis to ensure that the people they vote for carry out their duties and obligations. They have a constitutional right to be involved in these processes in all spheres of government: national, provincial and local. In order to participate effectively in the decision-making and implementation processes you need to know:
This chapter looks at democracy and at public participation in a democracy.