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South Africa

Back to Basics Programme (ZA0018)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: South Africa’s Third National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Municipalities, South African Local Government Association (SALGA); Civil society organisations, Community Development Workers, Local government interest groups.

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Anti-Corruption, Anti-Corruption Institutions, Capacity Building, E-Government, Open Data, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: South Africa End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, South Africa Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo: Local government is a primary site for the delivery of services in South Africa, and since 1994 tremendous progress has been made in delivering water, electricity, sanitation and refuses removal services - at rates of delivery unprecedented anywhere in the world.

Yet despite these achievements there are areas in which local government is facing challenges, where a collapse in core municipal infrastructure services has resulted in services either not being provided at all, or provided at unacceptably low standards. Concomitant with this collapse are problems associated with municipal governance, capacity and financial viability. The low rate of collection of revenue continues to undermine the ability of municipalities to deliver services to communities. There are for too many instances both of inappropriate placements, and skills not measuring up to requirements. This is compounded by widespread instances of rent seeking and corruption amongst public representatives and business, reflecting a broader breakdown in the values and good governance principles. These municipalities lack a culture of public service, and there are slow or inadequate responses to service delivery challenges, which are in turn linked to the breakdown of trust between Councils and communities. Social distance by our public representatives is reflected in inadequate public participation and poorly functioning ward councillors and committees.

In 2014 COGTA undertook a review of South Africa’s 278 municipalities, which revealed that the top third of municipalities manage to do the basics right and perform their functions at least adequately. Within this group, there are a small group of top performers who are doing extremely well.

The middle third of municipalities reviewed are fairly functional, but there remain some worrying signs of poor performance or decline. This middle group can be classed as ‘at risk’, since if left unchecked these could presage a further decline.

The bottom third of municipalities are frankly dysfunctional, and the basic mechanisms to perform their functions are not in place. These municipalities are failing our people dramatically, and urgent intervention is required in order to correct the decay in the system.

Local government enters its 15th year as a democratic sphere of government. While significant achievements have been made by local government in delivering services to the previously marginalised communities, the backlog caused by apartheid in delivering such services is immense. This situation is further exacerbated by the growing inward migration into cities, resulting in the emergence of informal settlements and an increased demand for services.

The inability of some municipalities to deliver these services has seen violent community responses in the form of service delivery protests and a general decline in public confidence in local government. This situation has sent a message to government on the need to engage communities better in the service delivery and development processes in their municipalities, and necessitated government to take steps to increase public confidence in local government. Local government is perceived to be corrupt and unable to deliver services. This has resulted in a general refusal by citizens to pay for services and a low public interest in communities being part of local government as contemplated in the constitution. The Back to Basics programme in this regard aims to increase public confidence in the system, develop better mechanisms of citizen engagement, deal with corruption and motivate communities to take responsibility through contributing to the delivery of services.

Main objective: Properly functioning municipal services are inherent to human dignity, and in terms of the Constitution everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected. At the same time, citizens need to accept their responsibilities and duties as citizens, with respect to participating in municipal affairs; respecting public property and assets, and paying for the municipal services they receive.

The B2B Programme aims to give all South Africans a basic set of tools by which they can hold their municipalities to account and measure whether they are living up to their promises. Councils are meant to exercise oversight over the municipalities for which they are accountable, and citizens in turn need to have the tools and forums in which they can hold the councillors they have elected accountable for the electoral promises they have made. DCOG will support greater accountability and transparency by collating and publishing the Back-to-Basics indicators for public use. DCOG will also conduct regular national citizen satisfaction surveys, and assist municipalities in developing community engagement plans targeting hotspots and potential hotspots areas.

Brief description:

1. Increase public confidence in local government

Properly functioning municipal services are inherent to human dignity, and in terms of the Constitution everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected. At the same time, citizens need to accept their responsibilities and duties as citizens, with respect to participating in municipal affairs; respecting public property and assets, and paying for the municipal services they receive.

The B2B approach is premised on changing a set of fundamental relationships that underpin our Constitutional order and the local government system, namely that

• Between local government and the people we are meant to serve (putting people first, instilling a culture of ‘service’ rather than ‘service delivery’).
• Between leaders and the municipalities they are meant to lead (good governance rather than extractive elites).
• Between people and the public services they receive (responsible citizenship, payment for services).

2. Entrench a culture of good governance and instil a new morality of service and integrity in local government

Ultimately we need to change the political culture in local government, and we aim to do this by popularising a new morality of service and integrity, making sure that effective leaders and well run municipalities are recognised and rewarded, insulating institutional systems from political manipulation, and ensuring consequences for maladministration, mismanagement, fraud and corruption

There will be a targeted and vigorous response to corruption and fraud, and a zero tolerance approach to ensure that these practices are rooted out. Supply chain management practices in municipalities will be closely scrutinized. Where corruption and mismanagement have been identified, we will not hesitate to make sure these are decisively dealt with through provisions such as asset forfeiture and civil claims. We will also work to change practices in the private sector, and enlist the support of civil society to change the national morality.

To ensure compliance with the B2B pillars and establishing enforcement mechanisms DCOG will establish an investigative capacity, which will prepare and package cases for on-referral to law enforcement and other agencies with a view to crack down on corruption and corrupt activities in the local government sphere.

3. Implement initiatives to improve financial sustainability, revenue management and audit outcomes in Local Government

A national campaign on improving the culture of payment will be implemented in partnership with communities, municipalities, and civil society organisations. In addition, the campaign will seek to improve accountability to citizens through better management of municipal finances.

Challenges: The commitment seeks to address the following OGP challenges:

• improving public services,
• increasing public integrity,
• effectively managing public resources
improving transparency, citizen participation, accountability

Intended results: OGP Value: Civic Participation
The identified projects will assist local government to improve public participation through reforming the current public participation model in local government through providing municipalities with national mechanisms of citizen engagement.

Furthermore, local government will seek to improve the culture of payment of services by citizens through implementing an interactive national campaign and improve municipal accountability to citizens through better management of municipal finances by improving audit outcomes of municipalities.

OGP Value: Public Accountability
National government will strengthen anti-corruption measures and enforce applicable legislation and policies, Promote good governance and an ethical culture in local government through developing and implementing a Local Government Code of Good Governance based on the King III Report on Corporate Governance. Furthermore, a Local Government Anti-corruption tribunal will be established.

Ambition: The intended results of the commitment include,
- Improved levels of civic participation resulting in increased confidence and trust in local government. More importantly, the introduction of better citizen engagement tools and methods that will ensure openness of local government to citizen engagement.
- Improved levels of confidence in local government through dealing with corruption and introduction of effective mechanisms to deal with corruption.
Improve service delivery through a creation of a responsible citizenry and an accountable local government.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Internet de las cosas

38. Datos y servicios abiertos a partir de sensores de Internet de las Cosas (IoT)

Texto del compromiso como aparece en el plan de acción:

Cocrear con la ciudadanía, organizaciones de la sociedad civil, academia y empresas, soluciones de tecnología cívica en base a servicios abiertos con datos en tiempo real (por ejemplo, sensores IoT, vehículos, etc.)

Los hitos de este compromiso son:

  • Relevar e identificar las fuentes de datos y los servicios abiertos existentes para la publicación en tiempo real, junto a los servicios abiertos ya disponibles en la IM.
  • Identificar problemas asociados a esos datos en un proceso de cocreación (diseño centrado en los usuarios), que involucre a las distintas áreas de la IM relacionadas con los datos y actores relevantes de la ciudadanía, sociedad civil, empresas, etc.
  • Generar los servicios abiertos para la publicación en tiempo real, junto a los servicios abiertos ya disponibles en la IM.
  • Implementar desafíos de innovación con los servicios abiertos en tiempo real en base a los problemas identificados, para que diferentes actores propongan soluciones de tecnología cívica

Nota editorial: El texto completo del compromiso se encuentra en el Cuarto Plan de Acción Nacional de Gobierno Abierto de Uruguay 2018-2020, disponible aquí: https://goo.gl/XAMbNr

Fecha de inicio: Septiembre 2018               Fecha de término: Junio 2020

Contexto y objetivos

El “Internet de las Cosas”, conocido como IoT por su nombre en inglés “Internet of Things”, es la interconexión a través de internet de dispositivos informáticos integrados en objetos cotidianos, a través de los cuales se envían y reciben datos. Se refiere a los miles de millones de dispositivos físicos que están conectados a internet, recolectando y compartiendo datos en todo el mundo. Esto permite que los dispositivos puedan comunicar datos en tiempo real sin la participación de un ser humano, fusionando de alguna manera el mundo digital con el mundo físico.

A partir de 2017 la Intendencia de Montevideo comenzó a implementar la plataforma de IoT y Big Data de ciudades inteligentes, la cual se basa en los componentes principales de FIWARE (la plataforma de ciudades inteligentes más desarrollada en Europa). El objetivo a largo plazo es gestionar eficientemente los servicios más importantes de la Intendencia como transporte público, residuos, saneamiento y calidad ambiental, con acciones basadas en datos recolectados mediante sensores del mundo de Internet de las Cosas y otros datos ya existentes [153]. Como ejemplo de estas acciones, el 8 de diciembre de 2017 se aplicó por primera vez el IoT a las playas de la capital. En la web http://www.montevideo.gub.uy/playas se puso a disposición información actualizada de las playas habilitadas para bañarse (ya sea por las banderas de “bañabilidad” o sanitarias), intensidad de la radiación UV o calidad del aire. Para una segunda etapa, estaba prevista una aplicación en celulares [154].

Con este compromiso, la Intendencia de Montevideo se propone generar, a través de un proceso participativo, propuestas de soluciones en forma de herramientas de tecnología cívica que utilicen datos en aquellas áreas donde la intendencia está implementando soluciones de “Ciudad Inteligente” como el transporte, la limpieza, la calidad ambiental, semáforos, estaciones meteorológicas, entre otros. Para cumplir con este objetivo llevaron adelante procesos de cocreación tanto para identificar los problemas, como las posibles soluciones con actores relevantes de la ciudadanía, sociedad civil, empresas, etc.

La persona experta de la organización DATA [155] recalcó la relevancia de llevar adelante un proceso de cocreación con la ciudadanía para generar servicios en tiempo real, a partir de los datos del IoT. Un ejemplo de una acción de esta índole fue el #DesafíoTEA que lanzó la Intendencia de Montevideo en octubre 2018 con el fin de diseñar un algoritmo para calcular los Tiempos Estimados de Arribo (TEA) del ómnibus del transporte público en tiempo casi real (NRT), mediante la implementación de componentes de la plataforma IoT FIWARE [156]. La persona referente destacó que, en este caso, se convocó a la sociedad civil para participar y para desarrollar el algoritmo, y que el producto ganador se va a implementar. “La tecnología que generó la ciudadanía la absorbe el Gobierno, cosa que no pasa con ninguna hackatón” y agregó: “a partir de este compromiso pueden salir cosas similares”.

Siguientes pasos

Las investigadoras del IRM consideran que compromisos como este, que involucran a las personas en la identificación de problemas y sus soluciones, son clave en el marco de las políticas de gobierno abierto, aunque en este caso tiene algunas limitaciones de alcance debido a la especificidad de la temática.

No se considera necesario incluir el compromiso en un próximo plan, pero sería deseable hacer un seguimiento a través de la evaluación del uso de las herramientas implementadas así como de la recolección de retroalimentación, con miras a generar cambios o mejoras acordes a las necesidades de la ciudadanía.

[155] Entrevista realizada a Daniel Carranza, Data, 15/3/2019

IRM End of Term Status Summary

3. Back to Basics Programme (B2B)

Commitment Text:

Local government enters its 15th year as a democratic sphere of government. While significant achievements have been made by local government in delivering services to the previously marginalised communities, the backlog caused by apartheid in delivering such services is immense. The B2B Programme aims to give all South Africans a basic set of tools by which they can hold their municipalities to account and measure whether they are living up to their promises.

1. Increase public confidence in local government

Properly functioning municipal services are inherent to human dignity, and in terms of the Constitution everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected. At the same time, citizens need to accept their responsibilities and duties as citizens, with respect to participating in municipal affairs; respecting public property and assets; and paying for the municipal services they receive.

The B2B approach is premised on changing a set of fundamental relationships that underpin our Constitutional order and the local government system, namely that:

· Between local government and the people we are meant to serve (putting people first, instilling a culture of ‘service’ rather than ‘service delivery’).

· Between leaders and the municipalities they are meant to lead (good governance rather than extractive elites).

· Between people and the public services they receive (responsible citizenship, payment for services).

2. Entrench a culture of good governance and instill a new morality of service and integrity in local government

Ultimately we need to change the political culture in local government, and we aim to do this by popularizing a new morality of service and integrity; making sure that effective leaders and well run municipalities are recognized and rewarded; insulating institutional systems from political manipulation; and ensuring consequences for maladministration, mismanagement, fraud and corruption.

There will be a targeted and vigorous response to corruption and fraud, and a zero tolerance approach to ensure that these practices are rooted out. Supply chain management practices in municipalities will be closely scrutinized. Where corruption and mismanagement have been identified, we will not hesitate to ensure these are decisively dealt with through provisions such as asset forfeiture and civil claims. We will also work to change practices in the private sector, and enlist the support of civil society to change the national morality.

To ensure compliance with the B2B pillars and establishing enforcement measures DCOG [Department of Co-operative Government] will establish an investigative capacity, which will prepare and package cases for on-referral to law enforcement and other agencies with a view to crack down on corruption and corrupt activities in the local government sphere.

3. Implement initiatives to improve financial sustainability, revenue management and audit outcomes in local government

A national campaign on improving the culture of payment will be implemented in partnership with communities, municipalities, and civil society organizations. In addition, the campaign will seek to improve accountability to citizens through better management of municipal finances.

Responsible Institution: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Supporting Institutions: Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Municipalities, South African Local Government Association (SALGA)

Start Date: March 2015

End Date: March 2019

Commitment Aim

This commitment was part of the government’s Back to Basics (B2B) Programme and included activities that address the broader operating environment for civic participation, such as reforming the regulatory framework for municipal public participation, enhancing mechanisms for citizens’ voices to be heard, piloting a citizen empowerment programme, and conducting a national annual citizen satisfaction survey. The commitment further incorporates initiatives that improve financial sustainability, revenue management and audit outcomes.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

To promote citizen engagement measures (milestone 3.1), by 31 March 2017, the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) had established ward committees in 208 different municipalities and overseen the development of 500 ward committee operational plans across three provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Western Cape). COGTA also finalised draft Terms of Reference for the Establishment of a National Project Steering Committee to review the framework for ward committees and public participation in municipal governance. This lays the groundwork for the more difficult and protracted process of revising the regulatory framework for citizen engagement in municipal governance.[41]The government also developed ‘GovChat’, a social media platform enabling interactive communication between municipal councillors, officials and communities.[42] However, by the midterm review, Govchat had not yet been launched.

The government made progress in strengthening anti-corruption measures and enforcing applicable legislation and policies (milestone 3.2). Under the B2B Programme, municipalities are required to submit monthly reports of dismissals for fraud, and the anti-corruption Chief Directorate in COGTA compiles an annual report covering forensic investigations and municipal cases being investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) and Special Investigations (SIU).

There was limited progress in actions related to milestone 3.3 (implementing initiatives to improve financial sustainability). COGTA was unable to conduct its intended national campaign to improve the culture of revenue collection in municipalities as the quotation it obtained from the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) to conduct the work was unaffordable.[43] Related to this milestone, the government made limited progress in improving the percentage of unqualified audit outcomes.[44]

End of term: Substantial

In respect of promoting citizen engagement mechanisms (milestone 3.1) in September 2018 COGTA launched GovChat in partnership with the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).[45] The social media platform is available on mobile and web-based (https://za.govchat.org) and has three components:

· A survey tool to rate civil service facilities (police stations, early childhood development centres, post offices, schools, special needs education centres, and healthcare facilities). Users are able to search for particular facilities and to rate both the service and facilities. Survey results are submitted to contact persons at the relevant facility.

· A facility to view service requests.

· A donation tool, allowing users to donate blankets, food, clothes and electronics for collection by the local Ward Councillor.

In rural communities, where connection speeds are slower, GovChat is available through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data channel.[46]

The promoters of GovChat claim that the tool will enable 16 million citizens to access more than 10,000 public representatives supporting more than 30,000 public facilities and services in communities across the country.[47] The tool does not enable public representatives to respond to public messages, however, queries are routed to the responsible person at public facilities while national departments, councillors, ward committees and community development workers are able to view issues and trends on the GovChat dashboard. This will enable public officials to compare facilities at a granular level.[48]

GovChat was initially launched in four provinces: Western Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal, and the Free States.[49]However, the launch took place after the official end date of the action plan. The IRM researcher was unable to ascertain the level of completion at the end-of-term for the other milestones in this commitment.[50]

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

At the conclusion of the midterm, there were already signs that the commitment had led to improvements in civic participation. For example, a report tracking implementation of the B2B programme over the first 21 months found that the number of ward meetings and ward councillor report back meetings had increased, alongside the existence of complaint mechanisms.[51] The launch of GovChat promises to have significant potential to improve citizens’ ability to participate in government planning and service delivery.[52] However, as the platform was only launched in September 2018, and is only at the earliest stages of roll-out, it is too early to assess results.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report (September 2018), South Africa has not finished developing its next action plan. The IRM researcher recommends carrying this commitment forward but scaling it back to focus on the implementation and roll-out of the citizen engagement tool GovChat. During the fourth action plan cycle, this tool could be extended to all provinces. The developers and promoters of the tool could also consider mechanisms for sharing the data generated by the tool in a manner that promotes public-facing accountability.

[41] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): South Africa Progress Report 2016 – 2018, 41, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/South-Africa_MidTerm-Report_2016-2018.pdf.

[42] Eldrid Jordaan & Donald Liphoko “GovChat – a social media platform that enables interactive communication between government officials and communities” (no date), slide 2.

[43] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): South Africa Progress Report 2016 – 2018, 43, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/South-Africa_MidTerm-Report_2016-2018.pdf.

[44] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): South Africa Progress Report 2016 – 2018, 44, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/South-Africa_MidTerm-Report_2016-2018.pdf.

[45] Eldrid Jordaan, Chief Executive Officer, Govchat, whatsapp communication with IRM researcher, 27 September 2018. A launch video is available at https://player.vimeo.com/video/290289728

[46] Deputy Minister Andries Nel, ‘Launch of Govchat, 25 September 2018, https://www.gov.za/speeches/govchat-25-sep-2018-0000

[47] Ibid.

[48] Eldrid Jordaan, Chief Executive Officer, GovChat, telephone interview with IRM researcher, 11 October 2018.

[49] Ibid.

[50] The IRM researcher contacted Ms Gigi Gosnell on 4 October 2018 regarding the OGP point of contact for the department. She was informed that the designated point of contact, Mr Edwin Molebale, had left the Department months before. She was referred to the Chief Director of Citizen Engagement, Ms Boitumelo Diale. The IRM researcher contacted Ms Diale by email on 9 October 2018, who responded, and a telephone interview was set up for 15 October 2018. Due to a misunderstanding on the part of the IRM researcher the meeting did not take place. Attempts to secure a subsequent meeting were unsuccessful.

[51] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): South Africa Progress Report 2016 – 2018, 43, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/South-Africa_MidTerm-Report_2016-2018.pdf.

[52] Ms. Damaris Kiewits, Community Liaison Officer at the Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, stated that it would be a ‘critical tool’ for consultation with the Western Cape Government, interview with IRM researcher, 10 July 2017.

[53] The Environmental Geographical Information Systems webpage, https://egis.environment.gov.za


Commitments

  1. Citizen-Based Monitoring

    ZA0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Open Budgeting

    ZA0017, 2016, Access to Information

  3. Back to Basics Programme

    ZA0018, 2016, Access to Information

  4. Environmental Management Information Portal

    ZA0019, 2016, Access to Information

  5. Institutionalisation of Community Advice Offices as Part of the Wider Justice Network

    ZA0020, 2016, Access to Justice

  6. Department of Public Service and Administration

    ZA0021, 2016, Access to Information

  7. OGP Awareness Raising Campaign

    ZA0022, 2016, E-Government

  8. Implement the G20 High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency 2. Implement a Register of Legal Persons and Arrangements

    ZA0023, 2016, Access to Information

  9. Develop and Implement an Accountability/Consequences Management Framework for Public Servants

    ZA0009, 2013, Anti-Corruption

  10. Service Delivery Improvement Forums (SDIFs)

    ZA0010, 2013, E-Government

  11. Mainstream Citizen Participation in the Public Sector

    ZA0011, 2013, Capacity Building

  12. Develop an Integrated and Publicly Accessible Portal of Environmental Management Information

    ZA0012, 2013, Environment and Climate

  13. Development of an On-Line Crowdsourcing Tool That Will Allow the Public to Submit Data on Protected Areas and Conservation Areas.

    ZA0013, 2013, Environment and Climate

  14. Schools Connectivity

    ZA0014, 2013, Education

  15. Implement a Know Your Service Rights and Responsibilities Campaign

    ZA0015, 2013, Capacity Building

  16. Accountability/ Consequences Management Framework

    ZA0001, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  17. Service Delivery Improvement Forums

    ZA0002, 2012, Public Participation

  18. Know Your Service Rights and Responsibilities

    ZA0003, 2012, Capacity Building

  19. National Anti-Corruption Forum and Anti-Corruption Hotline

    ZA0004, 2012, Capacity Building

  20. Guidelines for Corruption-Related Sanctions

    ZA0005, 2012, Capacity Building

  21. Develop a Citizen Participation Guideline

    ZA0006, 2012, Capacity Building

  22. Enhance Involvement of Civil Society in the Budget Process

    ZA0007, 2012, E-Government

  23. Environmental Management Portal Feasibility Study

    ZA0008, 2012, E-Government

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