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South Africa

OGP Awareness Raising Campaign (ZA0022)

Overview

At-a-Glance

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

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Government Communication and Information System

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, OGP, Public Participation

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: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo: Discharge communication coordination mandate through creating awareness of the initiative by using its products and platforms. Support with the development of an Open Data Pilot Portal. Main objective: Creating awareness and communicating to the people on the initiative

Relevance: Development and implementation of an Accountability/ Consequences Management Framework for Public Servants
1. Establish Service Delivery Improvement Forums
2. Mainstream citizen participation in the Public Sector
3. Develop an integrated and publically accessible portal for environmental management information
Implement a Know Your Rights and Responsibilities campaign

Ambition: GCIS to raise awareness amongst public servants of:
a. Framework and implication to be developed
1. GCIS platforms used to create awareness:
Print:
a. Vukuzenzele
b. Insight
c. Government Dialogue
d. My District Today
e. Public Sector Manager
f. SA News
g. Opinion Piece
• Joint collaboration with SABC / GCIS to run OGP information series or to include in already scheduled programmes
• Joint collaboration between GCIS / MDDA to prepare material for community radio to introduce OGP into communities using variety of languages
2. Research into what information citizens really would like made available to them
• GCIS to play a role in working with all government departments to introduce the OGP and what this is. Could also introduce the Citizen Participation Guidelines
• Pre budget (at least 2 months before the budget vote) start running campaigns to encourage citizens to put ideas forward for the budget
3. GCIS is providing technical support for the portal
4. Use of GCIS platforms:
Series in Vukuzenzele; partnership with community radio; SABC interventions; social media campaigns

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Roll-out Open Government Awareness Raising Campaign

Commitment Text:

Discharge communication coordination mandate through creating awareness of the initiative by using its products and platforms.

Support with the development of an Open Data Pilot Portal.

1. GCIS to raise awareness amongst public servants of:

a. Framework and implication to be developed

2. GCIS platforms used to create awareness:

Print: Vukuzenzele; Insight; Government Dialogue; My District Today; Public Sector Manager; SA News; Opinion Piece

· Joint collaboration with SABC / GCIS to run OGP information series or to include in already scheduled programmes

· Joint collaboration between GCIS / MDDA to prepare material for community radio to introduce OGP into communities using variety of languages

3. Research into what information citizens really would like made available to them

· GCIS to play a role in working with all government departments to introduce the OGP and what this is. Could also introduce the Citizen Participation Guidelines

· Pre budget (at least 2 months before the budget vote) start running campaigns to encourage citizens to put ideas forward for the budget

4. GCIS is providing technical support for the portal

5. Use of GCIS platforms: Series in Vukuzenzele; partnership with community radio; SABC interventions; social media campaigns

Responsible institution: Government Communication and Information System

Supporting institutions: None

Start date: None specified

End date: None specified

Context and Objectives

Unlike the other commitments set out in the action plan, Commitment 7 does not coherently formulate the problem to be addressed, or provide a clear brief description of the commitment, an account of how the commitment is relevant to OGP values, or the milestones to be achieved.

Despite multiple attempts to clarify the intent and specific activities of this commitment, the IRM researcher was not able to obtain any information from the responsible institution, Government Communication and Information Agency (GCIS).[Note224: On 21 August 2017, the IRM researcher contacted the responsible person (Mr Donald Liphoko) in the lead implementing agency, the Government Communication and Information Agency (GCIS) to schedule an interview for purposes of gaining further clarity. The contact details specified in the national action plan directed the IRM researcher to a different individual (Mr/Ms Precian Tshitaudzi), but an automatic reply indicated that this person was out of the office until 20 October 2017. None of the further contact persons specified in the automatic reply (DG Edwina Maloy, Gilbert Letsoalo and Rivaash Buthram) responded to the IRM researcher’s request for an interview in a group email sent on 25 August 2017. The IRM researcher followed up with telephone calls on the same day but received no response. ]

Given this lack of clarity, it is difficult for the IRM researcher to apply the IRM methodology without making material, and potentially misleading, assumptions. All the activities are of low specificity, requiring significant interpretation about what they are referencing. One activity contains no measurable activity, deliverables, or milestones.

For example, it is unclear whether the ‘initiative’ referred to in the brief statement of the commitment’s objective (‘Creating awareness and communicating to the people on the initiative’) refers to OGP specifically, or to the broader project of open government. However, assuming the latter, Commitment 7 responds to the OGP value of civic participation as it can be construed to address the broader operating environment that enables participation in civic space, and OGP in particular.

All the activities for Commitment 7 are minor in potential impact. The pre-existing position is a lack of awareness of OGP, and increasing awareness of the OGP process among public officials and the broader general public is an incremental and positive step towards facilitating broader civil society engagement in OGP processes.

In the course of interviewing stakeholders for other commitments, it emerged that the development of an open data application ‘GovChat’ has been associated with Commitment 7,[Note225: Ms Damaris Kiewiets, Community Liaison Officer of the Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, interview with IRM researcher, 7 September 2017. ] although there was also confusion whether this initiative was better associated with Commitment 6 or was even incorporated into the national action plan at all.[Note226: Mr Eldrid Jordaan, chief executive officer, Govchat, interview with IRM researcher, 13 September 2017. ] However, in an undated presentation made by Mr Donald Liphoko and Mr Eldrid Jordaan (Chief Executive Officer of GovChat ) it is stated that ‘GovChat has an Open Government Partnership Initiative’ with the GCIS.[Note227: Eldrid Jordaan & Donald Liphoko 'GovChat – a social media platform that enables interactive communication between government officials and communities' (no date), slide 2 https://www.salga.org.za/SALGA%20National%20Communicators%20Forum%20Web/Documents/GovChat%20Presentation.pdf. It is nevertheless still unclear, even from this reference, whether the 'initiative' is referring to the OGP as an international programme, or a broader less well-defined notion of open government. ]

Completion

With the exception of one article published in Vuk’uzenele on South Africa chairing OGP,[Note228: Bathandwa Mbola 'SA Chairs Open Government Partnership' Vuk’uzenele (November 2015, edn 2) 15.] none of the GCIS publications listed in the commitment text (Insight, Government Dialogue, My District Today, ‘GovComms’, and SA News) published any piece relating to OGP.

In September 2016, the GCIS launched GovChat as a social media platform enabling active engagement between government and local communities.[Note229: Government Communication and Information System 'GCIS congratulates SALGA for integrating GOVCHAT into its Councilor Induction Programme', 7 September 2016, https://www.gcis.gov.za/newsroom/media-releases/gcis-congratulates-salga-integrating-govchat-its-councilor-induction; Eldrid Jordaan & Donald Liphoko 'GovChat – a social media platform that enables interactive communication between government officials and communities' (no date), slide 2; Ms Damaris Kiewiets, Community Liaison Officer of the Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, interview with IRM researcher, 7 September 2017.] [Note230: According to the chief executive officer of GovChat, Mr Eldrid Jordaan, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) provided a dataset of 10 000 councillors to GovChat to facilitate communities being able to access their councillors and know what was happening in their ward. An additional feature of the social media platform would enable national government to monitor the conversations and thereby establish trends in service delivery. Mr Jordaan maintained that while the company owning the social media platform sought a technology partner (allegedly offshore), the site was turned off, and is intended to be re-launched in December 2017. Mr Eldrid Jordaan, chief executive officer, Govchat, interview with IRM researcher, 13 September 2017. See also Phillip de Wet 'GovChat site for sale – but there are some strings attached' Mail & Guardian, 30 March 2017.] There was some evidence to suggest that the platform was also intended to create awareness around OGP,[Note231: Mr Eldrid Jordaan, chief executive officer, Govchat, interview with IRM researcher, 13 September 2017. When questioned on this point Mr Jordaan said that GovChat would popularize OGP as well; Ms Damaris Kiewiets, Community Liaison Officer of the Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, interview with IRM researcher, 7 September 2017.] however the commitment text makes no mention of this initiative.

Early Results
There is no evidence to suggest that the GCIS has undertaken an effective OGP awareness-raising campaign, and therefore there are no early results relating to increased awareness.
Next Steps

There is a need for the South African government to conduct an OGP awareness-raising campaign as part of a broader recommitment to OGP. However, in the opinion of the IRM researcher, it is not desirable or necessary to expressly incorporate such awareness raising as a standalone commitment in the action plan. It is advisable for the government to carry out OGP awareness-raising activities as part of its participation in OGP, rather than including this as an action plan commitment. The IRM assesses a country’s adherence to OGP guidelines on co-creation and awareness raising in Chapter 3 of the IRM progress report.

In order to clarify the objective, OGP relevance, and milestones of Commitment 7 during the remaining year of implementation of the third National Action Plan, the IRM researcher suggests that the Government Communication and Information Services redraft the commitment, in consultation with civil society. In the event that GovChat is a central focus of this commitment, it is desirable that the objectives, key players, beneficiaries and milestones associated with this initiative are clearly stated and described.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

7. Roll-out of Open Government Awareness-Raising Campaign

Commitment Text:

Discharge communication coordination mandate through creating awareness of the initiative by using its products and platforms.

Support with the development of an Open Data Pilot Portal.

1.GCIS to raise awareness amongst public servants of:

a.Framework and implication to be developed

2.GCIS platforms used to create awareness:

Print: Vukuzenzele; Insight; Government Dialogue; My District Today; Public Sector Manager; SA News; Opinion Piece

·Joint collaboration with SABC / GCIS to run OGP information series or to include in already scheduled programmes

·Joint collaboration between GCIS / MDDA to prepare material for community radio to introduce OGP into communities using variety of languages

3.Research into what information citizens really would like made available to them

·GCIS to play a role in working with all government departments to introduce the OGP and what this is. Could also introduce the Citizen Participation Guidelines

·Pre budget (at least 2 months before the budget vote) start running campaigns to encourage citizens to put ideas forward for the budget

4.GCIS is providing technical support for the portal

5.Use of GCIS platforms: Series in Vukuzenzele; partnership with community radio; SABC interventions; social media campaigns

Responsible Institution: Government Communication and Information System

Supporting Institution: None

Start Date: None Specified

End Date: None specified

Commitment Aim

From the text of this commitment, it was unclear whether the activities specified related to awareness raising of the OGP initiative, or to the project of open government more generally.[81] Ms Qinsile Delwa, the interim OGP point of contact, confirmed that the commitment was formulated with the intent to raise awareness about South Africa’s participation in OGP.[82]

Status

Midterm: Not Started

By the midterm, this commitment was not started. With one exception, none of the GCIS publications listed in the commitment text published any piece relating to OGP.

End of term: Not Started

The commitment remained not started by the end of the action plan cycle, even though the South African government continues to actively participate in regional initiatives aimed at guiding the direction and development of OGP to ensure its continued relevance to Africa.[83] From 26 – 28 May 2018, the South African government participated in a workshop in Cote d’Ivoire to discuss collaboration between the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and OGP.[84] South Africa was identified as a primary country for purposes of piloting collaboration between the two governance platforms.[85]

Did It Open Government?

Civic participation: Did Not Change

Due to the lack of implementation, the commitment did not result in any change in government practice.

Carried Forward?

The IRM researcher does not recommend carrying forward awareness raising centred on OGP to the next action plan. Depending on the outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding setting out the basis and guidelines for prospective APRM and OGP collaboration, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) could conduct a broad-ranging awareness-raising campaign that extends to all segments of South African civil society.

[81] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): South Africa Progress Report 2016 – 2018, 59, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/South-Africa_MidTerm-Report_2016-2018.pdf.

[82] Qinsile Delwa, Acting Executive Director, Centre for Public Service Innovation, interview with IRM researcher, 8 October 2018.

[83] Qinsile Delwa, Acting Executive Director, Centre for Public Service Innovation, interview with IRM researcher, 8 October 2018.

[84] African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and Open Government Partnership (OGP) ‘APRM & OGP Collaboration: Concept Note’ (copy on file with IRM researcher).

[85] Ibid 2.


South Africa's Commitments

  1. Citizen-Based Monitoring

    ZA0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Open Budgeting

    ZA0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Back to Basics Programme

    ZA0018, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  4. Environmental Management Information Portal

    ZA0019, 2016, E-Government

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

    ZA0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Department of Public Service and Administration

    ZA0021, 2016, Open Data

  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, Beneficial Ownership

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

    ZA0009, 2013, Conflicts of Interest

  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, Conflicts of Interest

  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