Rhodes University’s PSAM to discuss open data and social justice

Rhodes University’s Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) will be hosting members from the National Treasury, the Legal Resources Centre, Afesis Corplan, and open data activist organisation, OpenUp, to discuss the accessibility and transparency of budget dataon 04 July 2018.

“Opening up budget data is central to promoting social justice and socio-economic rights,” explained Zukiswa Kota, from Rhodes’ PSAM. “The panel will discuss the significance of opening public budgets. Panellists will share opportunities for partnerships between government and civil society.”

In particular, the group aims to explore a recent innovative partnership between the South African government and IMALI YETHU, which resulted in resulted in the development of an online budget portal, vulekamali, which was officially launched by the Minister of Finance in February 2018.

Amongst the founding partners of the IMALI YETHU coalition are PSAM, Mobile Social Accountability Monitoring (MobiSAM), Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), Section 27, the Right to Know Campaign (R2K) and the Social Justice Coalition (SJC).

“In addition, we will be sharing from the tapestry of our own experiences in engaging with public budgets, access to information and particularly within the context of our theme Using open budgets to change lives,” Kota said.

The panel will include Andisile Best (National Treasury), Kirsten Pearson (Open data activist/OpenUp), Lindokuhle Vellem (Afesis Corplan), Cecile van Schalkwyk (Legal Resources Centre), and Zukiswa Kota (PSAM).

More information on the discussion can be found in the National Arts Festival Programme or at the following link: https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/vulekamali-using-open-budget-data-to-change-lives/

“We acknowledge that transparency is not an end in itself but that it constitutes a vital step towards achieving the goals of greater accountability and improved public resource governance. As proponents of both fiscal transparency and public participation, we aim to progressively gobeyond transparency.” Kota explained.

PSAM forms part of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. Its vision is to ensure that the right to social accountability is universally realised. PSAM’s activities include research, monitoring, advocacy and capacity building. Working through Sub-Saharan Africa, PSAM generates and shares knowledge about the right to social accountability and the monitoring tools necessary to give effect to this right.