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Open line to President Ramaphosa

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“It was important for us to understand that from a conversation point of view, the response has been phenomenal.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa won’t only be responding to points raised by members of Parliament in his State of the Address (SONA) reply today, he will also be responding to comments by ordinary South Africans.

This is all thanks to GovChat, the civic engagement platform which enables the government to send messages to the public and receive service delivery related messaging in return at no cost.

GovChat allows South Africans to visit the website, and leave their comments and responses, platform chief executive officer, Eldrid Jordaan said.

“It was important to understand whether there was appetite to engage with the president and government,” Jordaan said.

“It was important for us to understand that from a conversation point of view, the response has been phenomenal.”

Jordaan said that there were hundreds of comments left by many young South Africans on the website, and these comments have been noted by the presidency.

“The Presidency has been receiving daily reports about the activity and I can confirm that they will be replying to citizens in the SONA reply,” he said.

“Various conversations from citizens that had been put the GovChat platform.

“There are many issues like the healthcare system, public transport, and drought which are the majority of the issues that citizens want addressed by the new president.”

Besides allowing for citizens to post their comments on the website, the GovChat team was invited by African Union (AU) Commission to represent South Africa and GCIS at the AU ICT Week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in 2016.

“We got a standing ovations at that high level which included many world leaders, and we’ve been asked by many other countries if they could have in their’s.

“With help from the AU we could see it rolled out in the other 54 states within the continent.”

Jordaan said it was important that citizens know they know have a engagement space, it’s not a closed platform.

“We hope that they use the platform and report their concerns in a responsible manner.”