Organisationally, the CPLO is an extension of the head office of the SACBC in Pretoria, and is located in Cape Town, the seat of Parliament. The office reports to a bishop designated as the link between it and the Bishops’ Conference (presently Bishop Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp) and accounts for its activities at the biannual plenary meetings of the Bishops’ Conference.
Formal submissions are made on legislation before Parliament. These are usually written, but wherever possible they are supplemented by an oral presentation to the relevant parliamentary committee.
Written responses are made to policy documents such as Green Papers and White Papers, reports of the Law Commission and the like.
Informal contact with Members of Parliament, cabinet ministers and senior civil servants is an important and fruitful part of the work. It is often the case that more can be achieved over a lunch or dinner, where conversation is frank and off the record, than by making a formal submission.
Attendance at parliament, on notable occasions such as the annual opening and the budget speech, and at everyday committee meetings or question time, is a way of showing the interest and involvement of the Church, and of interacting with the parliamentary process.
Networking and, when necessary, forming alliances with other civil society organisations and parliamentary monitoring groups helps to maximise resources and capacity when working on the same pieces of legislation.
Roundtable Discussions and Webinars facilitate debate and exchange between civil society representatives and community members on the one hand, and MPs, officials and other decision-makers on the other.
CPLO regularly publishes its research in a variety of ways:
- Responses: short, quick reactions to important events or developments in the area of public policy and political affairs
- Briefing Papers: analyses of topical issues, be they legislative, policy or otherwise
- Digests: summaries of new information and analysis on selected topics, including links to relevant online material, compiled by our researchers in the course of their reading and networking.
All these publications are available free of charge by email, and may be copied or further circulated with acknowledgement.
Research is conducted at the request of church leadership and includes analysis of the likely effects of a law, summaries of government policy, or tracking a piece of policy or legislation through its developmental stages.
Outreach: We host an annual week-long African Exposure & Training (AFEXT) course to assist other African Bishops’ Conferences to set up their own CPLOs.