Empowering Communities and Improving Public Services Through Open Data: South African Local Government Perspective

  • Stella Bvuma
  • Bwalya Kelvin JosephEmail author
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 31)


The concept of open data has rapidly permeated the design and implementation of local government systems. Coupled with appropriate requisite and appropriate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), public services are delivered on open platforms and domains further opening up transparency and accountability. Embedded on Open Government Data and e-government, South Africa is pushing to mitigate corruption and inefficiency in its public delivery platforms, especially at the local government levels. Using extensive literature review exploring both scholarly sources, policy and strategy documents from both the public and private sector, this chapter aims to provide a deeper understanding of the role of open data by local municipalities in South Africa. It will briefly discuss the importance of open data to local government in order to benefit its community especially in the realm of contemporary public governance models, discuss ways of promoting citizen participation, and, most importantly, offer necessary aspects for municipal officials to consider before formalising transparency policies. It is intended to help local government officials take first steps in creating municipal transparency and openness policies.


  1. Alexopoulos, C., Zuiderwijk, A., Charapabidis, Y., Loukis, E., & Janssen, M. (2014). Designing a second generation of open data platforms: Integrating open data and social media. In M. Janssen, H. J. Scholl, M. A. Wimmer, & F. Bannister (Eds.), 13th international conference on electronic government (EGOV), Sep 2014, Dublin, Ireland (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, LNCS-8653) (pp. 230–241). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer. Electronic Government. hal-01401747.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, T. B. (2009). E-government as an anti-corruption strategy. Information Economics and Policy, 21(3), 201–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bagui, L., Sigwejo, A., & Bytheway, A. (2011). Public participation in government: Assessing m-participation in South Africa and Tanzania. In A. Koch & P. A. van Brakel (Eds.), Proceedings of the 13th annual conference on world wide web applications (pp. 5–26). Johannesburg: Cape Peninsula University of Technology.Google Scholar
  4. Bélanger, F., & Carter, L. (2012). Digitizing government interactions with constituents: An historical review of E-government research in information systems. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 13(5), 363–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benyon, S. Sam Qaqamba Beynon on Twitter. Twitter. Accessed 30 June 2018.Google Scholar
  6. Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P. T., & Grimes, J. M. (2010). Using ICTs to create a culture of transparency: E-government and social media as openness and anti-corruption tools for societies. Government Information Quarterly, 27, 264–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P. T., & Grimes, J. M. (2012). Promoting transparency and accountability through ICTs, social media, and collaborative e-government. Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, 6(1), 78–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bertot, J. C., Gorham, U., Jaeger, P., Sarin, L., & Choi, H. (2014). Big data, open government and e-government: Issues, policies and recommendations. Information Polity, 19(1/2), 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Birkinshaw, P. (2006). Transparency as a human right. In C. Hood & D. Heald (Eds.), Transparency: The key to better governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bonsón, E., Torres, L., Royo, S., & Flores, F. (2012). Local e-government 2.0: Social media and corporate transparency in municipalities. Government Information Quarterly, 29, 123–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bradshaw, P. (2014). Transparency opportunity: Holding power to account – or making power accountable? In N. Bowles, J. T. Hamilton, & D. Levy (Eds.), Transparency in politics and the media: Accountability and open government. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  12. Braunschwei, K., Eberius, J., Thiele, M., & Lehner, W. (2012). The state of open data: Limits of current open data platforms. (Accessed 18 March 2019).
  13. Chigona, W., Beukes, D., Vally, J., & Tanner, M. (2009). Can mobile internet help prevent social exclusion in developing countries? The Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries, 36(7), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chun, S. A., & Luna Reyes, L. F. (2012). Editorial – social media in government. Government Information Quarterly, 29, 441–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clarke, A., & Francoli, M. (2014). What’s in a name? A comparison of “open government” definitions across Seven Open Government Partnership members. eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 6(1), 248–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Conklin, A., Morris, Z., & Nolte, E. (2012). What is the evidence base for public involvement in health-care policy?: Results of a systematic scoping review. Health Expectations, 18, 153–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Criado, J. I., Sandoval-Almazan, R., & Gil-Garcia, J. R. (2013). Government innovation through social media. Government Information Quarterly, 30, 319–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davies, T. (2010). Open data, democracy and public sector reform. A look at open government data use from, from Accessed 30 June 2018.
  19. Davis, T., & Mintz, M. (2009). Design features for the social web: The architecture of Deme. In Proceedings of 8th international workshop on web-oriented software technologies-IWWOST.Google Scholar
  20. Dawes, S., Vidiasova, L., & Parkhimovich, O. (2016). Planning and designing open government data programs: An ecosystem approach. Government Information Quarterly, 33(1), 15–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dwivedi, Y. K., Weerakkody, V., & Janssen, M. (2012). Moving towards maturity: Challenges to successful e-government implementation and diffusion. ACM SIGMIS Database, 42(4), 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Emery, F. (1993). The agenda for the next wave. In M. Emery (Ed.), Participative design for participative democracy (pp. 30–39). Canberra: Centre for Continuing Education, The Australian National University.Google Scholar
  23. Florin, D., & Dixon, J. (2004). Public involvement in health care. British Medical Journal, 328, 159–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fung, A., Graham, M., & Weil, D. (2007). Full disclosure: The perils and promise of transparency. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  26. Harrison, T., & Sayogo, D. (2014). Transparency, participation and accountability practices in open government: A comparative study. Government Information Quarterly, 31, 513–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Huijboom, N., & Van den Broek, T. (2011). Open data: An international comparison of strategies. European Journal of ePractice, 12(1), 1–13.Google Scholar
  28. Janssen, M., Charalabidis, Y., & Zuiderwijk, A. (2012). Benefits, adoption barriers and myths of open data and open government. Information Systems Management, 29(4), 258–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Madumo, O. S. (2012). The promotion of developmental local government to facilitate a developmental state. Administratio Publica, 20(3), 40–54.Google Scholar
  30. Margo, M. J. (2012). A review of social media use in E-government. Administrative Sciences, Administrative Sciences, 2(2), 148–161.Google Scholar
  31. Meijer, A. J. (2012). The do it yourself state. The future of participatory democracy. Information Polity, 17(3–4), 303–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Meijer, A., Curtin, D., & Hillebrandt, M. (2012). Open government: Connecting vision and voice. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 78(1), 10–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Netswera, F. G., & Kgalane, T. S. (2014). The underlying factors behind violent municipal service delivery protests in South Africa. Journal of Public Administration, 49, 261–273.Google Scholar
  34. Noveck, B. S. (2009). Wiki Government: How technology can make government better, democracy stronger, and citizens more powerful. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  35. OECD, ISOC and UNESCO. (2013). The relationship between local content, internet development and access prices (OECD digital economy papers, no. 217). Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Open Government Partnership. Accesses 24 June 2018.
  37. Republic of South Africa. (1996). Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. As adopted on 8 May 1996 and amended on 11 October 1996 by the Constitutional Assembly. Pretoria: Parliament of South Africa Republic of South Africa. Accessed 12 July 2018.
  38. Republic of South Africa. (2000). Promotion of access to information act 2 of 2000. Pretoria: Parliament of South Africa, Republic of South Africa. Accessed 10 July 2018.
  39. Sandoval-Almazan, R., & Ramon Gil-Garcia, J. (2016). Toward an integrative assessment of open government: Proposing conceptual lenses and practical components. Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, 26(1–2), 170–192. Scholar
  40. Schuler, D., & Namioka, A. (Eds.). (1993). Participatory design: Principles and practices. Hillsdale, NJ: LEA.Google Scholar
  41. Shkabatur, J. (2013). Transparency with (out) accountability: Open government in the United States. Yale Law and Policy Review, 31(1), 79–140.Google Scholar
  42. South Africa. (1998). The Local Government Municipal Systems Act 117 of 1998. Pretoria: Government Printer.Google Scholar
  43. South Africa. (2011). The South African National Development Plan (NDP), (2030). Cape Town: Planning Commission.Google Scholar
  44. South Africa. Local Development Plan 2030. Accesed 18 March 2019.
  45. Srivastava, S. C. (2011). Is e-government providing the promised returns?: A value framework for assessing e-government impact. Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, 5(2), 107–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Srivastava, S. C., & Teo, T. S. H. (2007). What facilitates e-government development? A cross-country analysis. Electronic Government, 4(4), 365–378.Google Scholar
  47. Strömbäck, J. (2005). In search of a standard: Four models of democracy and their normative implications for journalism. Journalism Studies, 6(3), 331–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Teo, T. S. H., Srivastava, S. C., & Jiang, L. (2009). Trust and electronic government success: An empirical study. Journal of Management Information Systems, 25(3), 99–132.Google Scholar
  49. Thornhill, C. (1995). Local government: Government closest to the people. Pretoria: HSRC Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. Thurston, A. (2013). Transparency can “break cycle of poor governance” in developing world. Guardian Professional. Retrieved at 19 December. Available at:
  51. Ubaldi, B. (2013). Open government data: Towards empirical analysis of open government data initiatives. OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 22.Google Scholar
  52. Van den Hoven, J. (2005). E-democracy, e-contestation and the monitorial citizen. Ethics and Information Technology, 7, 51–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Van der Waldt, G. (2015). Unpublished draft UJ internal handbook. Local governance: Leading sustainable communities. Johannesburg: University of Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  54. Veljković, N., Bogdanović-Dinić, S., & Stoimenov, L. (2014). Benchmarking open government: An open data perspective. Government Information Quarterly, 31, 278–290. Scholar
  55. Verhulst, S., & Young, A. (2016). Open data impact, when demand and supply meet. Key findings of the open data impact case studies. Available at: Accessed 1 July 2018.
  56. Wijnhoven, F., Ehrenhard, M., & Kuhn, J. (2015). Open government objectives and participation motivations. Government Information Quarterly, 32, 30–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yu, H., & Robinson, D. (2012). The new ambiguity of “open government”. Princeton CITP/Yale ISP Working Paper. Available at: Accessed 2 July 2018.
  58. Zuiderwijk, A., & Janssen, M. (2014). Open data policies, their implementation and impact: A framework for comparison. Government Information Quarterly, 31, 17–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Johannesburg, School of Consumer Intelligence and Information SystemsJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations