Fourways, Johannesburg resident Surita Volland is one of many residents who have gone on to use petitions to generate attention and momentum around an issue.
Volland has gathered over 15 000 signatures in her fight to stop the development of houses on a stretch of land which is said to be home to the last sustainable population of lesser bushbabies.
We are busy currently with the tribunal process which takes its own legal course. It is not only the green areas that are disappearing fast but it is the last bush baby population that is reportedly still alive in Johannesburg.— Surita Volland, Fourways resident
Assistant Director of Petitions at City of Johannesburg Peter Kute and Chairperson of the Petitions Standing Committee, Steve Kotze share more about the process of petitioning and how effective it is.
Kotze says petitions should be a last resort.
Log a call, get a reference number and allow reasonable time for that response to take place. If that reasonable time has passed, then they are at liberty to contact their ward Councillor and the Councillor will assist with escalation...— Steve Kotze, Chairperson of the Petitions Standing Committee
In the cases where the ward councillor does not get a response, that is when the petitions process can kick in. It is usually defined as a democratic instrument of last resort.— Steve Kotze, Chairperson of the Petitions Standing Committee
Kute explains the process once the city has received a registered petition.
Petitions do carry weight because what we do is go on oversight visits, check the area affected by this particular petition, speak to the petitioners but also involve the city's entities that are responsible for those particular matters raised by the petitioners.— Peter Kute, Assistant Director of Petitions at City of Johannesburg
Click on the link below to listen to hear about the full process....