Address by the Deputy Minister For Public Service And Administration, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, MP, at the Third OGP Country Action Plan, Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town, 5 May 2016Date: 5 May 2016
We launch South Africa's 3rd Open Government Partnership, OGP, Country Action Plan at a time when the nation is gearing for the 5th democratic local government elections. There is no better expression of the will of the people, no better tool for giving a voice to the people, than through elections.
During the past four years of South Africa being a member of the OGP, we have created a constant linkage between the priorities of the partnership and government's programme as mandated by our people.
Our priorities are to accelerate growth, create decent work and promote investment in a competitive economy and by an administration that is people-centred and people driven.
The production of the 3rd Country Action Plan speaks to South Africa's commitment to engage every citizen, even in the most remote areas, in the decision-making processes of government.
This is evidenced in the number of complimentary methods we utilised to collect inputs. As part of this process we requested inputs from government departments on commitments.
As a collective with civil society, we undertook community-based consultations in various provinces, conducting stakeholder workshops with civil society, and using surveys in order to assess the level of citizen's satisfaction with the provision and delivery of services.
The survey which was conducted during the month of September 2015, covered three of the nine provinces of South Africa, namely Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo. The survey was also published online to increase its reach and coverage and reached a total of 2 230 members of the public.
In line with the "Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", South Africa's 3rd Country Action Plan links the OGP and the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, in its commitments.
In this ambitious plan, South Africa commits to:
1. Strengthen citizen-based monitoring.
2. Open Budgeting.
- This commitment led by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, the DPME, is in response to the weak accountability mechanisms, particularly at the point of service delivery and the insufficient feedback from community and frontline staff in the mechanisms for allocating resources and setting targets and measuring performance.
- The DPME will support departments to strengthen the citizen voice in monitoring service delivery.
- The department commits to working with 3 service delivery departments to strengthen the voice of citizens in their monitoring and planning.
3. Back to Basics Programme.
- We all know that South Africa is highly ranked in the world in terms of budget transparency. The vast amount of budget and reporting information available has however generally not equated to an equally high level of citizen participation in budget processes.
- Led by the National Treasury. This commitment involves civil society in various aspects of the budget process from planning to implementation and monitoring and evaluation, enabling them to have a firmer grasp of how national resources are generated, distributed and reported upon.
4. Develop an integrated and publicly accessible portal of environmental management information.
- Led by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs 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.
- The commitment seeks to increase public confidence in local government; entrench a culture of good governance and instill a new morality of service and integrity in local government; and implement initiatives to improve financial sustainability, revenue management and audit outcomes in Local Government.
5. Institutionalise Community Advice Offices as part of a wider Justice network.
- This initiative led by the Department of Environmental Affairs will allow easy and unrestricted access to spatial environmental data.
- The technology that will be deployed will, for the first time, allow government officials and the general public to see on a map where major developments are being proposed or have been approved.
- Citizens will be able to determine if such developments have the potential to impact negatively on their environment, or if it supports or compromise environmental sustainability and livelihoods.
- This commitment establishes the linkage between the action plan, the OGP Declaration and the broader SDGs as specifically relating to Goal 16.
- It seeks to make advice offices a permanent feature at grassroots level in communities as a means to advance access to justice at the coalface and frontline of community engagement.
6. Develop Pilot Open Data Portal for South Africa.
- This commitment sponsored by the National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices, NADCAO, is the first civil society led commitment in South Africa's national action plans.
- As government, we are encouraged by this commitment from civil society as it gives affirmation that we are equal partners in the processes of the Open Government Partnership and more so, in putting in the work to implement the national country actions plans.
7. Roll-out Open Government Awareness Raising Campaign.
- Launched in October 2015, the pilot open data portal led by the Department of Public Service and Administration speaks to our resolve to improve citizen access to information, data and services offered by government.
- The portal currently hosts 667 datasets across the themes of government transparency, human settlements, healthcare for all, environmental sustainability and resilience, nation building and social cohesion, economy and employment, South Africa in the region and the world; education, training and innovation; nation state building; and community safety.
- In addition to the consolidation of various government datasets onto a single portal, the OGP has hosted a number of hackathons and data challenges across the country. These are designed to showcase the value of publishing open data and to better understand how citizens will use government data to innovate.
- The Government Communication and Information System will lead this initiative which will research into what information citizens would like made available to them and create awareness of the OGP by using their communication platforms.
8. Implement South Africa's action plan on the G20 High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership.
- Improving the transparency of legal persons and arrangements is important to protect the integrity and transparency of the global financial system.
- Preventing the misuse of these entities for illicit purposes such as corruption, tax evasion and money laundering supports the G20 objectives of increasing growth through private sector investment.
- The G20 considers financial transparency, in particular the transparency of beneficial ownership of legal persons and arrangements, as a high priority.
- During the meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Sydney 2014, the body agreed that G20 countries will lead by example by developing G20 High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency.
- These are concrete measures which the G20 will take to prevent the misuse of and ensure transparency of legal persons and legal arrangements.
- As a G20 member, South Africa commits to take concrete action and to share in writing by means of developing, publishing and reporting regular processes on a Country Implementation/Action Plan regarding the various steps to be taken to implement these principles and improve the effectiveness of their legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks with respect to beneficial ownership transparency.
We launch an extremely ambitious Country Action Plan this morning. The plan ensures new and innovative solutions to governance through its presentation of new commitments aimed at strengthening open government and improved service delivery.
This is a plan that has been developed through an extensive consultation, and therefore reflects the will of the people of South Africa.
We have gone into the heart of the communities, to get to the crux of the issues that communities want us to resolve. From this exercise, we are challenged over the next two years of implementing this plan to ensure that what we deliver, will not fall short of the aspirations of our people.
We have had a vibrant and a robust civil society as our partner and as a collective we reveal to you this plan this morning.
Ladies and gentlemen, find this, South Africa's 3rd Open Government Partnership Country Action Plan.
I thank you.