Zuma pledges more transparency

2011-09-22 07:36

New York – President Jacob Zuma has committed himself to an initiative started by US President Barack Obama in which governments pledge to be more open and transparent.

40 heads of state gathered at the plush Waldorf Astoria hotel for the launch of the Open Government Partnership, with Zuma as part of the steering committee.

“We commit to promoting increased access to information and disclosure about governmental activities at every level of government,” the declaration reads.Four African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Liberia and Ghana joined South Africa in signing the declaration yesterday.

This comes only a few days after the Promotion of Access to Information Bill, aimed at curbing the availability of information especially to the media, was pulled in Parliament for more consultation.

Observers commented that it would have been difficult for Zuma to sign the declaration with a straight face knowing such a law, which opposes that which the Open Government Partnership seeks to promote, is being enacted in his own country.

In his remarks at the event Zuma pointed to the Public Protector and Human Rights commission as ways of showing how South Africa is fighting corruption.

Zuma also said he was proud of the freedom of expression and of the media being enshrined in the South African constitution.Obama told his counterparts: “We as heads of government tend to make mistakes, and when we make mistakes we want to hide it. But we must be careful of that.”

In the declaration signatories commit themselves to ensure better access to information about government activities on all levels.

“We pledge to lead by example,” it says.

It is understood that some countries like Sweden wants to use the gathering of heads of state at the United Nations to convince South Africa to either adapt the protection of access to information bill drastically or start it from scratch.

In diplomatic circles there was a sigh of relief when the ANC decided to withdraw the bill last week for further consultation.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.