OGP Country Action Plan

The submission of South Africa’s second national report coincides with a number of self-assessments conducted by the government. Key among these is: the 2012 National Planning Commission’s (NPC) Diagnostic Report which informed the first country action plan and paved the way for the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP identifies specific targets that South Africa must achieve by the year 2030. An equally seminal document is the 2012 Census conducted by Statistics South Africa (STATSSA).

1. Introduction

The submission of South Africa’s second national report coincides with a number of self-assessments conducted by the government. Key among these is: the 2012 National Planning Commission’s (NPC) Diagnostic Report which informed the first country action plan and paved the way for the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP identifies specific targets that South Africa must achieve by the year 2030. An equally seminal document is the 2012 Census conducted by Statistics South Africa (STATSSA).
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 An unpublished study titled: The Review, Consolidation and Repositioning of the South African Public Service made similar findings in consultations throughout the nine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 is underway. 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.

2. Methodology

In preparing this second action plan careful consideration was given to the methodology. The plan was to ensure that the methodology will open an interactive process between government and civil society allowing for a continuous process of engagement in the intervening two years of implementation. Given the short period within which the plan was crafted it was accepted that for this period the emphasis with respect to the proposed methodology would be to give this process a kick-start.
The research tools envisaged are; review of administrative documents and reports, in-depth interviews, consultations and a survey. An extensive consultation process accompanied the craft ing of both the OGP plan and Reports.
The Research Tools are as follows:

  • In-depth interviews will be conducted with key respondents, using both structured and open-ended questions.
  • Consultations in this phase were held in three provinces instead of the focus groups. The time did not permit the sampling procedure required for this process.
  • An opinion survey was administered to gauge satisfaction levels against South Africa’s performance on the OGP principles.
  • Document content analysis of government administrative and research reports, speeches and programmes to determine progress in the Grand Challenge but also to track policy positions in this regard.

The study utilised a quantitative instrument in the form of a survey to measure the level of satisfaction against government performance and to inform the focus of government going forward. The survey questionnaire was utilised for data collection purposes and it comprised of 15 closed-ended questions and 1 open-ended question. The matrix approach focusing on “Importance” and “Satisfaction” was utilised for data collection and analysis of the 15 closed ended questions. As such, each question assessed both the level of importance respondents attach to the issue at hand and the resultant level of satisfaction against the same issue.

The survey questionnaire was administered through the face to face interviews by Community Development Workers (CDWs), 3 368 surveys were administered to citizens/respondents residing in three selected provinces (North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga). These interviews were household based in that they were conducted in the respondents’ homes and only one eligible respondent per household was chosen to participate in the survey. The eligibility criteria used was that respondents should be 18 years of age or above.
The study also made use of qualitative measures in the form of consultation meetings with civil societies in two provinces (Northern Cape and Western Cape) and a nationwide call for public comments relating to the principles of the Open Government Partnership.

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