New online platform gives South Africans true involvement in government decisions

New online platform gives South Africans true involvement in government decisions

- A new online platform will enable South Africans to be part of governmental decision making

- The platform is supported by the Thuli Madonsela Foundation

- This platform will keep records of everything to ensure no facts can be skewed or ignored

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It has always been a problem for South Africans to feel like they are part of the decision making in South Africa, even when our country is strongly democratic.

South Africans have often felt like their voices are not being heard. That could all change with the new Dear South Africa platform.

According to how our government works, every decision that the government makes must be published in the Government Gazette and the publication must include evidence of the general public's participation.

Then, when the public does not participate by either agreeing or objecting, the non participation is taken as "an agreement without being stated", basically it is then assumed that the public agrees with the decision made by the government.

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This was a flawed approach as most of the public never got to see the Government Gazette, while many aren't aware of its existence.

This is where the Dear South Africa platform comes into play. Dear South Africa runs PDPs - Participative Democracy Projects on their website. These PDPs are stronger than mere petitions.

This is according to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act that was enshrined in the South African Constitution.

Petitions are taken as one single objection even if a petition has millions of signatures. In the case of PDPs, every comment will be considered individually.

Every comment from a PDP on any of Dear South Africa's websites are immediately sent to the government representative handling the relevant project through a unique email.

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Record is kept of every submission so that there can be no denial or "messing up of figures" in the future.

Dear South Africa will also give the government printed evidence of every comment that was made with a collated summary in specific cases that calls for the need of such proof.

The comments by the public will form the basis of a legal framework that can can serve as a good foundation for a legal case if it ever comes to that.

The Dear South Africa platform is not affiliated to any government organisation but has joined forces with the Thuli Madonsela Foundation, and funding has to come from their own wallets. Any additional funding comes from anyone who is willing to support the platform.

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The result of public involvement in decision making can help towards finding and implementing more 'forward and outward-looking' solutions, ensuring the legitimacy of any proposed regulation and the decrease of costs as parties can contribute with their own resources.

The platform will also help promote partnership, responsibility and ownership in any implementations as well as help create fair laws and policies that reflect the needs of South Africa.

With the Dear South Africa platform democracy will be more attainable for the general public.

Conflict can be prevented if the government and the public are united in the decision making processes that effects every South African.

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Dear South Africa will make it possible for every citizen to be a part of what happens in his or her country. They refer to this as being part of a "Participative Democracy".

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.

With this new platform South Africans have better hope that their opinions will matter and that they will have a say in what happens in South Africa's future.

Watch Top Model South Africa: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Melissa Magiera and other videos on Briefly South Africa's very own YouTube channel.

How do you feel about this new platform? Let us know on our Facebook page and we could be sharing your opinion.

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