Environmental Scan

Assessing the actual transparency environment in South Africa is a fundamental for gaining insight into actual progress on the OGP. It should inform the activities undertaken, and then be reviewed to monitor whether implementation of the Commitments – even if ‘completed’ – are effecting real change. ODAC advocates for evidence-based practice and policy-making; thus, in furtherance of this, we have compiled these resources on

As part of South African civil society’s drive to support South Africa’s involvement in OGP, a review of the general transparency environment in South Africa was compiled through a consultation process with civil society stakeholders. This overview seeks to provide a substantive backdrop for discussing the OGP commitments selected by our government, assessing the applicability of those feedbacks and their likelihood of success given the context, as well as for providing a tool for future planning around the OGP. The document represents largely a collection of the current transparency issues.

On paper, South Africa has arguably one of the most progressive access to information regimes in the world. Regardless, the generalised experience of civil society organisations (CSOs) has been marked by a serious gap between stated promise and concrete realisation. In order to drive the proactive dissemination of information through advocacy on the promotion of open data, ODAC has undertaken an assessment of the open data and information needs of the broader South African civil society.

The Right2Know Campaign’s 2013 Secret State of the Nation Report shines a light on the existing climate of secrecy in South Africa, and the need to tackle ugly practice of individuals and elements in the State security sector and private corporations who favour secrecy as a means to ensure that they enjoy a greater hold of power. It addresses several indicators, including the Protection of State Information Bill and implementation of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

This provides a detailed survey of the South African environment in relation to whistleblowing. This research assesses how far South Africa has progressed towards the realisation of a meaningful culture of disclosure. The realisation of a meaningful culture of disclosure requires an enabling whistleblowing legal frame- work, meaningful implementation and enforcement within all organisations of the practices and protections provided in terms of the enabling laws and a societal culture which is receptive to and respectful of whistleblowers.

This report, which was a cross-regional study that also investigated Uganda and Ghana, reflected on the transparency environment in relation to natural resources and sectoral laws in South Africa. While it looked at a plethora of indicators, the main conclusion is that – in order to counteract the problems of poor implementation in relation to various forms of transparency laws (and not just the Promotion of Access to Information Act) – government should be capacitated and advocated to proactively disseminate information.

One thought on “Environmental Scan

  1. Pingback: Monitoring SA progress: environmental research | Open Government Monitoring

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