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Dear South Africa: A new platform bringing power to the people!

thuli madonsela

A new platform backed by the Thuli Madonsela Foundation has just been launched, and it is helping citizens participate in all government decisions.

 

Dear South Africa‘ is a new platform which has made it easy for you as a responsible citizen of South Africa, to influence government decisions which affect you. They call it being part of a ‘Participative Democracy’.

Participation in decision-making processes means a possibility for citizens, civil society organisations and other interested parties to influence the development of policies and laws which affect them.

“This isn’t about you, this isn’t about me. This isn’t about us, as an us creates a them. This isn’t about competing, fighting or a race to the top. This is about collaboration to reach a common healing goal – and beyond.

This is about using the word “we”. Together WE can achieve anything. 

We are Dear South Africa.”

Every decision the government make must be published in the Government Gazette and must include evidence of public participation. If the public do not participate by objecting or agreeing, their non-participation is deemed as a non-objection, a tacit agreement. But how would we know of the decisions, if they are not publicised.

That is where ‘Dear South Africa’ comes in.

‘Dear South Africa’ run Participative Democracy Projects (PDPs) on their website which are stronger than petitions – as laid out in the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) and enshrined in the South African Constitution.

Whereas petitions, even if they have millions of signatures, are considered as a single objection, a PDP ensures each comment is considered individually.

Each comment from a PDP on any of our websites is immediately sent as a unique email to the relevant government representative designated to a project.

“We then keep an accurate record of submissions sent so government cannot fudge facts and figures. In certain instances we will also provide government with printed evidence of each comment made as well as a collated summary.

These comments then form the basis of an essential and legal framework enshrined in our Constitution and forms a solid foundation for a legal case should the necessity arise.”

The new platform which has joined forces with the Thuli Madonsela Foundation are not affiliated to any government organisation and are funded out of their own pockets or by anyone who cares.

Specifically, participation in decision-making processes can help towards:

  • Creating fair policies/laws reflective of real needs enriched with additional experience and expertise;
  • Facilitating cross-sector dialogue and reaching consensus;
  • Adopting more forward and outward looking solutions;
  • Ensuring legitimacy of proposed regulation and compliance;
  • Decreases costs, as parties can contribute with own resources;
  • Increasing partnership, ownership and responsibility in implementation;
  • Strengthening democracy – preventing conflict among different groups and between the public and the government and increasing confidence in public institutions.

Be an Active Citizen, participate and take control of your democracy.


Sources: Dear South Africa
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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