Imali Yethu is a coalition of civil society organisations working with the South African National Treasury to make budget information more accessible, user-friendly and empowering. We are committed to exploring co-creation to achieve open, accountable governance. Our work is inspired by the standards of co-creation and participation envisioned by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) that state;
“Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process”
We believe the same is true of decision making within the budget process.
The Coalition is representative of a unique group of civic actors. Our Secretariat is currently comprised of a diverse range of South African organisations; the accountability ‘watchdog’ types (the Public Service Accountability Monitor), the accountability ‘civic-tech’ types (MobiSAM), the public interest ‘legal-eagle’ types (Equal Education Law Centre and Section 27), the ‘democracy builder’ types (Open Democracy Advice Centre), the edgy, radical activists (R2K and Social Justice Coalition) and the ‘research think-tank’ types; (Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute). Our adventure has just begun and we’re eager to grow.
In 2017, the organisation OpenUp were contracted by the National Treasury to develop an online budget data portal. The portal – later named vulekamali through a process that involved hundreds of South Africans was intentionally designed using an agile approach. Through extensive consultation with and input from the public – one of the core objectives of vulekamli is to ensure user friendly, credible and accessible budget and planning data.
So what’s the fundamental thread that connects us?
It’s a deep conviction that open, transparent public budget processes and meaningful public participation are integral components of any democratic society. We aren’t interested in transparency for transparency’s sake. We aren’t interested in participation for participation’s sake. We’re invested in ensuring that fiscal transparency and public participation contributes to the social change we are working towards. What connects us? Consider any single social justice problem faced by the majority of South Africans today and there your answer is!
Our main objectives are to:
- Promote open and accountable governance through support for South Africa’s commitments in the Open Government Partnership
- Promote an equitable and development orientated allocation of public resource
- Promote meaningful participation in budget prioritisation by marginalised communities
- Contribute to the iterative development and sustainability of the online budget portal www.vulekamali.gov.za by facilitating and coordinating inputs from civil society during the development of the portal and prioritising input from marginalised groups
So join us. Join the Imali Yethu network and contribute to making this online budget portal everything it should be. Come along on this adventure!