South Africa’s Presidential Hotline is Finally Going Live

Jacob Zuma’s campaign promised to make the South African government and presidency more accessible to the public. One of his many proposals was a presidential hotline that would allow citizens to call a special number with questions and complaints about government projects.

The 4million rand hotline is set to go live today, with over 40 public liaison officers tasked with following up with citizen calls. The liaison officers are placed in all departments of the government at the national level. Zuma has announced that after the first few weeks of testing and debugging, he expects the provinces to establish similar hotlines. From the press release:

"The provinces are expected to establish similar services, and to create a forum that includes liaison officers for each municipality so that the service is taken to local government level, including rural municipalities and districts."

The aims of this public service were to encourage an all-round improvement in citizen care and liaison, "and to introduce a culture of putting the citizen first in all government departments as well as municipalities".

"This is part of the President’s directive to create an interactive, accessible and responsive government."

Vusi Mona, Deputy Director General in the Presidency expects the hotline to receive 1,500 calls a day, in several languages. Calls will be recorded and tracked for quality purposes as well as to gather statistics on which governmental departments are receiving the most complaints.

The hotline can be reached toll-free at 17737.

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About the author: Theresa Carpenter Sondjo is an entrepreneur and web developer. She lives in Cotonou, where she and her partner run People Online. Their mission is simple: la mise en ligne du Bénin. Follow her on Twitter at @theresac.
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