e-Participation pilot projects
The HSRC is the lead implementing entity on an EU-funded project under the Department of Science and Innovation which aims to pilot e-participation in six municipalities across South Africa.
Building a capable and developmental state is one of the six priorities outlined in the National Development Plan (Vision 2030). The realisation of this priority requires that the public sector, in particular municipalities, adopts innovations and uses technology to improve service delivery. The 2019 White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) echoes this call by proposing the creation of an enabling municipal/public sector policy environment for the adoption and upscaling of innovative technology solutions to improve the quality of basic services in government. The White Paper further recognises the need for an appreciation of STI in all spheres of government, and the use of STI in municipal planning, delivery and operational processes.
In response, the Viability and Validations of Innovations for Service Delivery Programme (VVISDP) has been established as a programme by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in partnership with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), with funding from the European Union Sector Budget Support Programme and the National Treasury. The programme is designed to help municipalities to pilot technology and innovations that could assist in improving the delivery of basic services and the functioning of municipalities through innovation. VVISDP comprises six, separate, innovation-enabling projects.
Project 5 of VVISDP, the e-Participation and Policy Modelling Platform for South Africa (ePPMOSA), aims to pilot e-participation and policy modelling technologies and methods in selected municipalities between 2022 and 2025, with the goal of supporting and enhancing existing local government public participation initiatives.
In August 2022, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) contracted the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) as implementing entities for the ePPMOSA project.
The ePPMOSA project started in late 2022. The current focus is on engaging with partner municipalities whilst conducting background research on e-participation approaches in South Africa and globally.
In October 2022, a workshop was hosted with municipalities as part of the Civic Tech Innovation Forum in Johannesburg.