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Black Agenda on Democracy and Technology

CHAPTER 14 of the BLACK AGENDA on democracy and technology promotes the idea of full participatory democracy by SMS, via the use of the mobile cellular phone. To this end the people get to vote on all the crucial issues confronting society instead of leaving their fate in the hands of the 400 members of the national assembly each of whom owes her/his allegiance first and foremost to her/his respective political party. Please read and let’s engage. Send your questions, comments, feedback, etcetera to the following email address: [email protected]

The key problem in South Africa is that democracy does not serve the people, it serves the elected politicians. Cell phones, the internet, and other associated technologies are already greatly affecting people’s participation in decision making processes regarding issues of governance and quality of life. In the hands of the black majority and their revolutionary leaders, these tools can help address resource challenges relating to full participation of the people in the political decision making processes of the government.

Within the medium of elections and political processes Black Agenda recognizes the following areas of practice that needs to be brought in tune with full participatory democracy via the cell phone, internet and related technologies: legislative development, constitutional reform, public integrity and local government.

BLACK AGENDA advances the idea of democracy by SMS (via cell phone), where the citizens can vote on all major questions instead of relying on the 400 members of the national assembly, who are beholden to their political parties. To this end public discussions and assemblies will precede the actual voting.

A little bit of research has shown that in SA 44,5 million people used cell phones by 2011 and 59,474,500 cell phones were in use by 2014. This means almost every adult person already has a cellphone.

Secondly, in Estonia a law was passed some five years or so ago to allow citizens to use cellphones to vote! So this is not some fairy tale. If we want to stop politicians doing what they like with our natural resources and how they run the country, then we must take advantage of technology to maximise participation in democracy.

Yes, we need to frown on voting once in five years! Also, an even more interesting development is that in Iceland the citizens had kicked the politicians out of a constitution rewriting process.

In this regard they had appointed a team of 25 people to help draft the constitution. The ordinary people in turn participated directly via webpage, Facebook and SMS to pass the constitution. No secrets, no deals, everything is transparent and everyone can see what is going on.

Right now the constitution says we are all equal but we know that in fact this is not true. The politicians and rich have separated themselves from the public through increasingly creating a parallel country for themselves within South Africa.

This is the working country of private education, private health care, police and so on. The majority is left in the public sector to rot without services. The ANC promises the National Health Insurance in some 10 years or so from now – in the meantime the poor will remain trapped in the dysfunctional public sector.

Real equality must mean that all, from Zuma and Zille to the ordinary person, should enjoy equality, not only on paper.

BLACK AGENDA promotes the use of cell phones to facilitate full participatory democracy as a viable means of compelling all politicians and public servants to use public services by law!

Imagine how rapidly the quality of our schools, hospitals, public transport and public houses would improve the day our politicians and public servants are compelled by the people – sitting in their homes or where ever they may be – to use these instead of the private sector services.

We must insist on equality for all in reality to give meaning to freedom and democracy! Cell phone democracy is the most user friendly, appropriate and cost effective method of realizing full participatory democracy in the interests of blacks.

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