Module 2

The role of policy

The Role of Policy and How We Can Influence it

Module 2

The role of policy

The Role of Policy and How We Can Influence it


How you can influence gun laws

In this module, we focus on how you can lobby to influence policy and government's decision-making processes to strengthen South Africa's gun law.
Parliament and public participation
Parliament is the legislative authority of South Africa, and makes the laws that govern our country. It consists of two houses. The National Assembly has 400 Members of Parliament (MP) representing the different political parties in proportion to the number of people who voted for them. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has members from each of the nine provinces to ensure that provincial interests are represented in the national sphere of government. Both the National Assembly and NCOP consist of different Committees to streamline work e.g. gun control falls under the Portfolio Committee of Police in the National Assembly.

Parliament has three main functions:
  • Make or change laws in accordance with the Constitution.
  • Ensure service delivery by overseeing or monitoring government’s actions and spending.
  • Facilitate public participation and involvement in law-making.
What is public participation?
Advocacy in action


The Constitution says a Parliamentary Committee meeting may not be closed to the public “unless it is reasonable and justifiable to do so in an open and democratic society”.


1. White Paper
This is a broad statement of government policy and is advertised for public comment

2. Draft Bill
A Draft Bill is formulated with public input, before it is introduced to Parliament. This is your chance to make changes. The Draft Bill is advertised in the Government Gazette.

3. Portfolio Committee
The Portfolio Committee seeks public input (public hearings or written submissions) before a Draft Bill is penned. This is another opportunity to suggest changes. The Draft Bill is then debated in the committee, and is open to the public.

4. Parliament
Parliament votes on the Draft Bill in its final form and then it goes to the President to be signed into law as an Act of Parliament.


Facts and figures highlighting the impact of guns and gun violence in South Africa.


Don’t believe everything you hear about guns. Here are some common myths you should be aware of.

Ordinary citizens cannot influence the decisions made in Parliament.

Fact: You are empowered by the South African Constitution to make your voice heard through public participation.

Payment is required to access Parliament.

Fact: Parliament does not require a fee in order to enter the building.

You need to speak English in Parliament.

Fact: You can choose any of the 11 official languages to communicate in Parliament.

You must have an academic qualification and be educated if you want to speak to MPs.

Fact: Your background does not matter when it comes to participating and contributing to Parliament. 

Take Action

Together, we can make a difference to reduce gun violence and help create safer communities for us all.


If you are over 18, you can participate in Parliament by simply voting in the elections for a political party that has policies you want to support.

Keep yourself informed

You can stay tuned in to what is happening in Parliament by following the parliamentary radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, business and educational publications, newsletters, and social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Parliamentary Monitoring Group ( is another good source of information.

Take part

Look out for public participation activities such as the People’s Assembly (, the Taking Parliament to the People programme
(, the Women’s Parliament and the Youth Parliament, as well as public hearings and outreach programmes.

Be vocal

Make submissions, representations and/or petition Parliament. Contact the Members of Parliament (MPs) if you want to make sure that the law works in the best interest of you and your community.

Our Donors

This publication was made possible with the support of the DG Murray Trust and the Raith Foundation.


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Address: Gun Free South Africa,
P.O. Box 3048, Killarney, 2193,
Johannesburg, South Africa


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