A new way of providing public services
Belgium has invested 11 million euros in better public services in South Africa.
Since the end of apartheid and the first democratic elections, South Africa has undergone a successful transition to a stable democracy. Yet the country still faces high unemployment, poverty and extreme inequalities. Better governance can make the difference.
However, public services in South Africa still leave much to be desired. That is why Belgium decided to support initiatives that aim to improve the quality of the direct services provided to the population. For this purpose, our country has invested 11 million euros over a period of six years, starting in 2014. The emphasis is on the innovative approach of the initiatives, hence the name given to the programme: 'Tirelo Bosha' or 'a new way of doing things'.
Public services at all levels – national, provincial, local – could submit proposals with regard to the better use of information technology, good governance, water leakage, waste management, sound financial management, household registers, platforms to get the population involved in the decision-making process, …
One of the selected projects was aimed at improving the quality of mathematics and science training. To this end, four mobile computer units, each with 40 computers, were installed that allow both teachers and pupils to improve their knowledge by making exercises and studying theory. Even students in rural areas are given the opportunity to learn how to use a computer. Coaches were trained to assist the students.
Another project was aimed to improve the registration of households in informal housing in the province of Western Cape. Even GPS coordinates were added to the database. Thanks to this innovative approach, the vulnerable population occupying informal housing is no longer excluded and the government gets a better idea of their needs and questions.
A total of 68 projects could be financed. Several projects gained the attention of senior civil servants and politicians who wanted to apply the innovations on a large scale.