By Dr Paul Kariuki (DDP Executive Director): In 2018, civil society observed a rise in civic activism, a spirited effort by ordinary citizens that challenged the status quo in many ways, demanding better services from government at all levels of governance as well as holding it accountable for its actions and decisions.
As result, the nation saw numerous Cabinet reshuffles and resignations, the establishment of commissions of enquiry, as well as a scrutiny of government promises and decisions on politically sensitive issues such as the land question.
This year is a critical one for the country; there are expectations for the government to deliver on last year’s promises concerning job creation and the promotion of good governance in the public sector, including municipalities and state-owned enterprises.
Civil society expects speedy implementation of policy decisions that were promised last year, especially with regard to the Public Audit Amendment Bill 2018, which gave the auditor general Kimi Makwetu authority to act against public officials implicated in the misappropriation of government resources.
In his report, Makwetu noted that government’s irregular expenditure had reached R50-billion, five times more than the total in 2017. The nation has hailed the Bill as an extraordinary step towards fighting corruption, and its implementation may turn the tide of state misappropriation of finances, providing a glimmer of hope.
The media played a significant role of enlightening South Africa’s citizens on several such issues. It is prudent to expect the media to sustain its citizen education project with responsible and ethical journalism.