Madonsela believes technology vital to increase inclusivity and accountability

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In case you were wondering what President Zuma’s most acclaimed appointment has been up to since she left the Chapter Nine institution that she made famous‚ former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has continued to promote the advancement of an inclusive and just South Africa‚ even after leaving office.

Madonsela spoke at the iDAfrica17 conference at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront on Monday. The event served as a networking platform in the information technology‚ big data and mobile and streaming television sectors.

Her address to the conference coincided with the first anniversary of the release of her final report as Public Protector‚ known as The State of Capture. Since then‚ various revelations have emerged regarding the overt influence of private individuals‚ like the Guptas and others‚ over government decisions.

The address also coincided with the release of journalist Jacques Pauw’s book The President’s Keepers‚ which implicates President Zuma and the South African Revenue Services (SARS) in a number of indiscretions‚ including complicity in Zuma’s alleged failure to submit any tax returns since he became president.

The book also claims that Zuma was on the payroll of businessman Roy Moodley during the first years of his presidency‚ being paid as much as R1-million a month. The State Security Agency has demanded the book’s withdrawal‚ and the retraction of some of its explosive chapters‚ while sales have soared and a PDF version has gone viral.

Madonsela said the advent of technological innovations on the African continent has served as a game changer in allowing societies to hold governments accountable‚ but that rural and poorer communities have struggled to access the net benefits of this impact.

“Those left at the edge of society are left further out of the grid because of the lopsided distribution of technology. People know about events around the world instantly because of technology‚” said Madonsela.

She added‚ however‚ that Africa has led the field in technological innovations that bridge the gap in access to amenities between the rich and poor. She mentioned M-Pesa‚ the mobile phone-based money-transfer system‚ as a prime example.

“Banking has been one area with groundbreaking inclusivity. M-Pesa is one example in which‚ instead of the mice complaining about who would eat their cheese‚ they moved banking to mobile phones. I do hope that developers will move the needle even further‚” she said.

“Banking has been one area with groundbreaking inclusivity. M-Pesa is one example in which‚ instead of the mice complaining about who would eat their cheese‚ they moved banking to mobile phones. I do hope that developers will move the needle even further‚” she said.

She said technology was instrumental during her investigations as Public Protector when testing allegations. “Technology is instrumental in getting to the bottom of allegations when they have not yet been tested‚ as technology does not lie‚” she said.

She added that South Africa could do more to use technology to fight crime and ensure administrative accountability. Her address also coincided with the release of the so called “Paradise Papers”‚ which expose the offshore investments used by powerful leaders and businesses to hide their funds.

By: Khulekani Magubane – TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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