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Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective. Winner: Best Political Blog 2012.

Tag: Transparency

ERROR: ANC-run provinces do not compute


FEATURE: Some four months ago – more than 120 days past – I documented how the websites for 18 ANC-run provincial departments were broken. I recently revisted them all again, to see if anything had changed. Nothing had. In fact, 19 are now broken and, of them, 15 have been broken since April (possibly longer). As in April, the only exception was the DA-run Western Cape Government. Its websites not only worked perfectly but were the most user-friendly. That tells you much about the attitude of those governments to transparency and accountablity; for access to government information is your right. To see which didn’t work and why, read on. [GRAPHIC included]

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How the WC Office of the Premier scored best in PSC report


FEATURE: The Public Service Commission recently published a report assessing the performance of the nine Offices of the Premier. The only Office of the Premier not run by the ANC – in the Western Cape – came out on top. What follows is a summary of that report and a more detailed look at how the DA-run Western Cape Office of the Premier faired. There is some critical information in this article and some invaluable statistics. All in all, further proof that, where the DA governs, it delivers better services than the ANC, to more people.

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How parliament misunderstands accountability


ARTICLE: Parliament has produced a guide to help Members better understand committees, how they work and what their purpose is. Central to that is, obviously, the idea of accountability and being able to ensure it takes place. Unfortunately, the guide’s defintion of the concept fundamentally misunderstands what accountability is and so renders the whole exercise somewhat redundant. Read on to see Parliament’s definition of accountability and why it is wrong.

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On consequences


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. When corruption takes place, much focus is given to seeking an explanation, much less to ensuring the appropriate consequences follow. Why is this? The answer lies in ones understanding of accountability. In order for the idea to work properly, it must be defined by both things – explanation and consequence. Indeed, each ensures the other has the proper effect, in order to ensure transparency and clean governance. In the short article below I explore why consequences are so important and what happens when they are overlooked in favour of explanation.

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Why ANC provincial departments have contempt for you


FEATURE: Annual Reports go directly to accountability and transparency. If they are produced by a government timeously and made easily available to the public and press, it says something about that government’s commitment to those two principles. What follows is an assessment of the extent to which annual reports are available on provincial department websites. In undertaking it, it became apparent that not only were the reports scarce, but that some 18 websites just didn’t work at all. To find out which ones, read on.

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Was Shiceka fired for promoting the DA?


FEATURE: As part of the speculation preceding President Zuma’s decision to fire former co-operative governance minister Sicelo Shiceka it was reported the ANC was unhappy with the way his department kept highlighting in its reports how well DA governments were performing. Since he has been fired, the national department has produced none of the comparative statistical information it did in the run-up to the 2011 election. So, was the way the minister’s department promoted the DA a contributing factor to his removal from office? And, more to the point, will the ANC government ever make that kind of comparative data available again?

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On secrecy


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Secrecy is often thought of as something involving the withholding of information but, in contrast, equally it can be understood as the management and control of information. In turn, secrecy has a certain kind of relationship with trust and, depending how it is used, it can either enhance it or undermine it.

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A known unknown?


SERIES: Hundreds of thousands of words are printed in South Africa’s mainstream media everyday, so many that the occassional perculiarity often passes by unnoticed. Take a moment to think about it though and the perculiar can be quite revealing. Between the Lines highlights the odd and incidental in the news. We ask the questions, you provide the answers.

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