MEDIA STATEMENTS: Media Statement: SA to participate in Open Government Partnership Events

Date: 22 Sep 2014

As South Africa's Special Envoy to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration Ms Ayanda Dlodlo will this week participate in a series of OGP Events scheduled to take place on the margins of the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York. The series of engagements will include a High-Level Event for Heads of State on 24 September 2014 which will mark the 3rd anniversary of the partnership. Led by President Jacob Zuma, South Africa will assume the position of Co-Chair of the OGP Steering Committee at this High-Level Event.

The Open Government Partnership provides an international forum for dialogue and sharing ideas and experience among governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector, all of which contribute to a common pursuit of open government. It is a multilateral initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make governments more open, effective, and accountable.

The partnership was formally launched in September 2011 when eight founding governments - Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States - endorsed an Open Government Declaration, and published national OGP action plans with specific open government reform commitments. In just three years since its launch, the membership has grown to 64 countries, with hundred of civil society organizations participating in the OGP process at the country-level. OGP countries represent one third of the world's population and have made more than 1,000 open government reform commitments.

To become a member, countries must first satisfy four basic eligibility criteria: fiscal transparency, access to information legislation, disclosure related to elected or senior public officials and citizen engagement. In line with criteria, South Africa boasts world acclaimed fiscal transparency consistently ranking 1st or 2nd in the Open Budget Index and being the highest ranking non-OECD country. The country is also represented in the International Accounting Standards Board as part of new membership of the Board as of July 2014.

Participating countries must also embrace a high-level Open Government Declaration, work with civil society to develop and implement a country action plan; and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward.

In compliance with the OGP requirements, South Africa developed a Country Action Plan with identified seven commitments as concrete steps that government will embark on towards addressing the grand challenge of Service Delivery. South Africa submitted its second national report at the London Summit. The Second Country Action Plan was prepared by engaging in a consultative process with participants across the spectrum. The principle adopted was that of progressive implementation which means that the developmental objectives will be attained as part of delivery against the National Development Plan (NDP).

South Africa's Country Action Plan for 2013/15 commits to Develop and implement an Accountability/Consequences Management Framework for public servants; Establish Service Delivery Improvement Forums; Mainstream Citizen Participation in the public sector; Develop an integrated and publicly accountable portal of environmental management portal; Development of an On-line Crowd sourcing tool that will allow the public to submit data on Protected Areas and Conservation Areas; Implement the Schools Connectivity Project; and Human Settlement project to be expanded.

The Action Plan is indicative of South Africa's commitment to good governance and an open society underpinned by values of transparency, accountability and participatory governance. The commitments listed seek to improve and reinforce the values enshrined in section 195 of the Constitution.

As an active participant in the Open Government Partnership, South Africa will serve on the Steering Committee as Support Chair from September 2014, and Lead Chair in September 2015. During the tenure as chair government South Africa will maximise the benefits by ensuring that the programme promotes domestic priorities that strengthen good governance initiatives.

Issued by the Ministry for Public Service and Administration

For more information, contact Lebohang Mafokosi on 0823124641

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