OGP South Africa

South Africa was one of the founding members of the OGP when it was officially launched in September 2011, and has made a number of commitments that seek to build on existing government and citizen-led initiatives related to open government in the country. From the South African perspective, OGP commitments must be aligned to the five year national priorities which are, in turn, linked to the targets identified in the NDP which are derived from the assessment of South Africa’s achievement of the national vision as stipulated in the Constitution. That is the achievement of a non-racial, non sexist, united, democratic South Africa.

The findings of this census are critical since they reaffirm the findings made by the NPC Diagnostic Report which are that unemployment, poverty and inequality are triple developmental challenges facing South Africa that need urgent attention. An unpublished study titled:The Review, Consolidation and Repositioning of the South African Public Servicemade similar findings in consultations throughout the nine provinces. In addition there have been a number of key reports submitted such as South Africa’s Millennium Development Report (MDG) which clearly states achievements made.

A more comprehensive twenty year review that will assess government’s performance over the first two decades of a democratic government has been published. What is essential to note is that these reviews will interalia and address themselves to the Constitutional imperatives of equal access; development oriented public service; transparency through timely, accessible and accurate information; ethics; and accountability which coincide with the Open Government Partnerships (OGP) principles. It is for this reason that South Africa is participating in the OGP because by so doing it supports the implementation of its own good governance principles enshrined in the Constitution.

Therefore, it is essential that the OGP national plan take into consideration the national priorities while responding to the principles of the OGP. The commitments if they are to be effectively implemented must be in line with the national priorities as articulated in the above referenced documents.

To address the issue of service delivery particularly the delivery of socioeconomic needs is touted very high in the NDP. Consequently in focusing on service delivery the OGP will be addressing a pressing national need and will be able to implement and deliver through the strategies that are now underway.

Progress Made in Implementing Open Government Partnerships Principles.

At the dawn of a new dispensation, the ideal South African public service is described in the 1995 White Paper on the Transformation of the Public Service as one that:

  • Provides quality public goods and services to all
  • Is geared towards development and eradicating poverty
  • Facilitates inclusive economic development and growth; and
  • Is people-centred and people driven.

Section 195 sub-section (1) of Chapter 10 of the 1996 RSA Constitution of South Africa describes the principles under which the public service must operate. These are:

  • A high standard of professional ethics
  • Public administration must be development oriented
  • People’s needs must be responded to and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy making
  • Public administration must be accountable
  • Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.

The principles enunciated in the Constitution are the same as the OGP principles. Hence delivery against the constitutional imperatives will be delivery against the OGP principles.

Therefore, from the South African perspective commitments must be aligned to the five year national priorities which are, in turn, linked to the targets identified in the NDP which are derived from the assessment of South Africa’s achievement of the national vision as stipulated in the Constitution. That is the achievement of a non-racial, non sexist, united, democratic South Africa.

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