Hundreds of historical grassroots democracy documents from the past 29 years have been made public in a bid to empower South Africans and assist them, alongside activists, to hold government to account.
The online archive is supported by the European Union-funded Enhancing Accountability programme, which came about following an agreement between the European Union and the South African Government, signed in 2020.
The 223-document archive includes a range of materials that were produced by non-government organisations and government departments, with many of the historic documents having being digitised.
The Stellenbosch University archive of the former Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa was also one of the main sources of information for the archive.
Veteran democracy activist and archive contributor Paul Graham said while the archive is open to everyone, it is aimed at researchers and civil society organisations, and hopes to empower citizens to better interact with municipal councillors, community police forums, school governing bodies, ward committees and local government planning processes.
“We have identified and curated an important collection of civic and public education materials to support people and organisations working towards greater accountability, public participation, active citizenship and democratic governance,” he said.
He further stated that South Africa’s democracy is under attack and corruption is threatening the stability of the State, however, he noted that a new generation is working to ensure institutions and political structures more accountable.
Graham hopes that the archive will strengthen democratic participation and anti-corruption initiatives amid a new appetite for local activism and democracy.
Access the archive here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Mqbto4HSfzITKk8rgAWou6ebE5HLW-nZ