South Africa: how technology can bridge the divide between people and their governments

That there is a growing gap between ordinary South Africans and their elected representatives is no surprise. As one global organisation looks to bankroll ideas that may plug this gap, former minister Jay Naidoo believes a civil society movement that actually caters to the needs of communities - and not the other way around - is what will help South Africa close the distance.

Jay Naidoo was the keynote speaker at a “Making All Voices Count” event at the University of Witwatersrand on Thursday. “Making All Voices Count” is a global initiative that aims to use technology to bridge the divide between people and their governments, particularly in the developing world. It also aims to enable citizens to engage and make their governments more accountable.

Thursday’s event was meant to be a call for innovators to submit ideas on how best technology could plug the gaps between the masses and the elites that govern them. And in a rousing address Naidoo demonstrated why such measures are urgently required.

As South Africa gears itself for another round of electioneering - and several more years of frustration - few will argue with the country’s credentials as a democracy. But as service delivery protests increase, bringing violence, destruction and often death, the hollowness of that democracy is becoming more apparent.

“Democracy and all the formal trappings of democracy are insufficient to guarantee the rights of people,” Naidoo said.

Read the full article at Daily Maverick

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