Like other African states, South Africa is facing several challenges in respect of democratic culture and democratic consolidation. The collapse of ethical leadership and good governance, a rising lack of transparency and accountability across government institutions and state entities, as well as inequality and poverty, threaten to erode access to fundamental human rights guaranteed in the constitution.
Adherence to the rule of law, a pillar of good governance, is waning, and individuals and communities are beginning to reject or bypass formal legal processes of conflict resolution. Violence especially, the scourge of gender-based violence is making the lives of women and children in the country unbearable. The results of the local government elections on 3 November 2021 reflected a trend of disengagement of voters, as the low turnout figures show – a trend also seen in the 2019 general elections.
As an instrument geared at strengthening and promoting democracy and good governance, the ACDEG could and should be used to promote democracy domestically in South Africa. Civil society, and local organisations, in particular, are instrumental in this process. Civil society can play a crucial role by identifying and addressing the lack of transparency in the governance of public affairs, the lack of political ethics, growing corruption, the closing down of civic space and by calling and advocating for accountability measures.
Therefore, this Call for Expressions seeks South African civil society to raise awareness about and utilise the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance to
- Promote, monitor, and assess democratic consolidation and democratic culture
- Strengthen engagement with SADC and the AGA.
The mobilisation of citizens’ groups at the various national, sub-regional and regional levels in an inclusive and multi-stakeholder approach should allow for the construction of consensus positions within civil society on the ACDEG and to share them among CSOs and citizens in South Africa as well as with national, sub-regional and regional institutions.
About the Civic Tech Fund
The Charter Project Africa is a pan-African project that focuses on the commitments contained in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) – the African Union’s principal policy document for advancing democratic governance in the African Union member states. The project promotes the use of civic technology to amplify citizens’ voices. It does this by providing financial resources, through grants, as well as technical help, through expertise, to civic initiatives aimed at promoting democracy, particularly those led by under-represented groups. This support is provided in eleven African Union member states – Botswana, Benin, Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia – as well as at regional and continental levels.
The project also opens spaces for collaboration between citizens, civic initiatives and African Union decision-makers at national, regional and continental levels – focusing on digital formats. Particular attention is given to the role and mandate of the African Governance Architecture (AGA). In addition, the role of the ACDEG in bringing about positive change in AU member states is monitored, analysed and promoted. A dedicated secretariat in Addis Ababa helps to strengthen the links between pan- African civil society and African Union policymakers.
Applications and Support Offered
Applicants are to submit expressions of interest in the form of a comprehensive concept note for the following support:
- Financial support
- Technical support
- Thematic support
- Marketing, communication and development support
- Peer learning and networking
For more on how and why to apply, please download the Guidelines and visit civictechfund