In the 8th Parliament, SAPST in collaboration with the Parliament of Zimbabwe piloted the live radio public hearing concept on 6 March 2017 on the Constitutional Amendment No.1 Bill.
The Radio Public hearing was hosted by Star FM as an alternative cost effective mechanism for conducting hearings. Radio public hearings ensure that all citizens around the country have an opportunity to express their views freely wherever they are.
Effective public engagement is key in the policy formulation and law making process, as a result more public consultations on Bills that were to come in Parliament included a component of the live radio public hearing for instance the Electoral Amendment Bill, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill and most recently the Constitutional Amendment No.2 Bill.
Through radio public hearings, Portfolio Committees have managed to capture diverse views from the public all over the country. This is because radio is a medium which reaches a wider audience even in the most remote areas where Parliament might not be able to reach physically. To add on, citizens are also now able to express their views freely without fear of intimidation or criticism from others which in a way improves the quality of submissions on Bills. Moreso, in this era of the COVID-19 Pandemic, conducting public hearings on radio ensures that Parliament continues carrying out its mandate while reducing the chances of infection.
The live radio public hearing concept has been replicated in other countries like Malawi and Lesotho where SAPST has a foothold.