The South African OGP country action plan, which was developed in consultation with civil society organisations from across the country; including citizen and business sector inputs through the National Planning Commission`s Diagnostic Overview consultation processes, identifies Service Delivery Improvement as the country`s grand challenge.
The South African action plan further identifies seven commitments as concrete steps towards addressing the grand challenge of Service Delivery Improvement. These seven commitments are:
- Developing citizen participation guidelines for government departments.
- Establishing Service Delivery Improvements Forums.
- Implementing a “Know Your Service Rights and Responsibilities” campaign.
- Capacity development of anti-corruption officials.
- Developing guidelines on sanctions for corruption related cases.
- Involving civil society in the budget process in order to enhance the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights and enable citizens to track public expenditure.
- Developing a portal for environmental management information.
The implementation of these seven OGP commitments over the past twelve months have not only contributed towards ensuring Service Delivery Improvement in South Africa in a meaningful way; it has also contributed to the promotion of greater transparency, citizen participation, accountability, and innovation in keeping with the core open government principles as enshrined in the South African Constitution and articulated in the OGP Declaration of Principles.
The practical integration of Service Delivery Improvement and the core open government principles (transparency, citizen participation, accountability, and innovation through technology) is reflected in the South African country action plan commitments as follows:
- The development of citizen participation guidelines for government departments gives direction to government departments on how to operationalise citizen engagement and participation in service delivery planning, implementation and monitoring through, among others, the use of direct forms of engagement such as government-community meetings and online and mobile technological platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Citizen participation and accountability to the public regarding service delivery performance is enhanced through the establishment and functioning of Service Delivery Improvements Forums (SDIFs).
- Citizen awareness and knowledge of legal frameworks for accountability, transparency and citizen participation in public service delivery matters are enhanced through implementing the “Know Your Service Rights and Responsibilities” campaign.
- Capacitating anti-corruption officials ensures that officials have the necessary competence (i.e. skills, aptitude and attitude) to discharge their functions thereby enhancing accountability, intensifying the fight against corruption and strengthening public trust.
- Developing guidelines on sanctions for corruption related cases reflects government`s commitment to root out corruption and transparency is enhanced if public officials and citizens are aware of the scope of sanctions for corruption-related cases in the Public Service.
- Civil society involvement in the budgetary process enables citizens to inform the strategic priorities of public budgets, thereby ensuring transparency, accountability and participation every stage of the process.
- Transparency and accountability are enhanced if citizens have access to secure technological innovations that provide reliable and accessible data on environmental matters.