Tuesday

The open-door policy

One of the basic tenets of good governance is the open-door policy. It is valid for home, school, work-place and national government. If you are a supevisor or part of an elected governing body, then you'd better make sure your door is, indeed, open. If not, you should start thinking about packing. Of course, as we've seen many-a-times on our continent and elsewhere, there are ways of keeping the door shut and keeping the position of power, all at the same time.

Closed doors in a home usually spell doom for the family. A kid who has a problem, a lad who has been unceremoniously jilted by a girl, a lass who thinks she's fallen pregnant, must be able to talk it over with their folks without the fear of being thrown to the dogs. The same holds true at work and at the national level.

This, however, implies that... well... that the door is open. It implies that the government is reachable, for instance, and that it, the government, has made it possible for the person in the street to reach it. It means that phone numbers, fax numbers, postal addresses and, more than anything else in this day and age, e-mail addresses are available and functional. It means that there is an online form on every government website for the purposes of feed-back, that all-important piece of information without which a government becomes less efficient.
The South-Africans provide the following means:

Mail: Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Union Buildings, West wing, 2nd Floor, Government Avenue, PRETORIA
Tel: (012) 300 5200
Fax: (012) 323 8246

Mail: Private Bag X1000, CAPE TOWN, 8000
Street: Tuynhuys Building, Plein Street, CAPE TOWN
Tel: (021) 464 2100
Fax: (021) 462 2838

President
Mr Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki
Mail: Private Bag X1000, CAPE TOWN, 8000
Street: Tuynhuys Building, Plein Street, CAPE TOWN
Tel: (021) 464 2100
Fax: (021) 462 2838

Mail: Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Union Buildings, West wing, 2nd Floor, Government Avenue, PRETORIA
Tel: (012) 300 5200
Fax: (012) 323 8246

Chief Director/Presidential Spokesperson
Mr Bheki Khumalo
Mail: Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Union Buildings, West wing, 2nd Floor, Government Avenue, PRETORIA
Tel: (012) 300 5436/ (021) 464 2100
Fax: (012) 323 6080/ (021) 462 2838
Cell: 083 256 9133
E-mail: bheki@po.gov.za

Director: Media Liaison
Mr David Hlabane
Mail: Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Union Buildings, West wing, 2nd Floor, Government Avenue, PRETORIA
Tel: (012) 300 5438
Fax: (012) 323 6080
Cell: 082 561 9428
E-mail: davidh@po.gov.za

Deputy President
Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma
Mail: Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Union Buildings, West wing, 2nd Floor, Government Avenue, PRETORIA
Tel: (012) 300 5200
Fax: (012) 323 8246
E-mail: Deputypresident@po.gov.za

Spokesperson and Chief Director: Communication
Ms Lakela Kaunda
Mail: Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Union Buildings, West wing, 2nd Floor, Government Avenue, PRETORIA
Tel: (012) 300 5316/ (021) 464 2100
Fax: (012) 326 3010/ (021) 464 2171
Cell: 082 782 2575
E-mail: lakela@po.gov.za

Director: Communications
Ms Zanele Mngadi
Mail: Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Union Buildings, West wing, 2nd Floor, Government Avenue, PRETORIA
Tel: (012) 300 5312
Fax: (012) 326 3010
Cell: 082 781 9332
E-mail: zanelem@po.gov.za
[ Source... ]
That's plenty. One can phone them, at the office and on their mobile phones (probably off), write them, fax them, and e-mail them messages. That's plenty. They have provided what's necessary for communication; whether they actually do communicate or not is a different matter. I'd be interested in hearing from South-Africans who may have tried to contact their government. Is your system efficient? Or does it just look nice on a webpage?
Here's what the Swazis have:

Prime Minister: His Excellency, Mr Absalom Themba Dlamini Secretary to Cabinet/
Head of the Civil Service Mrs Futhi Hellen Mdluli
Principal Secretary Mr David M Lukhele
Under Secretary /
Administration Vacant
Under Secretary/
Communications Mr. Mbongeni Simelane
E-Mail address:msppcu@realnet.co.sz
Senior Government
Security Officer Mr. Patin Nxumalo
Physical Address Hospital Hill
Off Mhlambanyatsi Road
Mbabane
Postal Address P O Box 395
Mbabane
Swaziland
Telephone Number: (268)404 2251/3
Fax Number (268)404 3943

E-mail (Secretary to Cabinet) sec-tocab@realnet.co.sz
Public Policy Coordination
Unit (PPCU) Director Dr. Vincent Matsebula
Telephone Number +268 404 3993/ +268 404 1432
Fax Number +268 404 4073

If you have any suggestions, contributions or questions about this site send your comments E-Mail to: simelanemb@ppcu.gov.sz
[ Source... ]
Two e-mail addresses and three telephone numbers. That's not quite enough for a nation, I dare say. Why doesn't everyone have a postal address, a phone number and an email, at the very least? While South-Africa is a much bigger and richer country than Swaziland, an e-mail address is free. The Swazis did have a nice online feedback form. Any Swazis out there? I'd be happy to hear how wide the door is open in your country and whether you are able to easily walk in and out.
And here's what we have in Lesotho:
1.
Ministry of agriculture and food security
Hon. D. R. Phororo
P. O. Box 24 Maseru 100
22-316407
2.
Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology
Hon. M. Khaketla
P. O. Box 36 Maseru 100
22-323864
3.
Ministry of Defence and National Security
Rt. Hon. P. Mosisili
P. O. Box 527 Maseru 100
22-311000
4.
Ministry of Education and Training
Hon. A. L. Lehohla
P. O. Box 47 Maseru 100
22-312849
5.
Ministry of Employment and Labour
Hon. C. Machakela
P/Bag A 1164
22-322602
6.
Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation
Hon. R.L. ‘Mokose
7.
Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
Hon. T. Thahane
P. O. Box 395 Maseru 100
22-310826
8.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hon. M. Tsekoa
P. O. Box 1387 Maseru 100
22-311150
9.
Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation
Hon. M. Lepono
P.O. Box 10993 Maseru 100
22 314763
10.
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Hon. M. Phooko
P. O. Box 514 Maseru 100
22-314404
11.
Ministry of Home Affairs and Public Safety
Hon. M. Thabane
P. O. Box 174 Maseru 100
22-323771
12.
Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
Hon. R.M. Masemene
P. O. Box 402 Maseru 100
22-322683
13.
Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs
Hon. R.M. Masemene
P. O. Box 402 Maseru 100
22-311160
14.
Ministry of Local Government
Hon. P.M. Sekatle
P. O. Box 686 Maseru 100
22-325331
15.
Ministry of Natural Resources
Hon. M. Moleleki
P. O. Box 772 Maseru 100
22-323163
16.
Ministry of Public Service
Rt. Hon. P. Mosisili
P. O. Box 527 Maseru 100
22-311000
17.
Ministry of Public Works and Transport
Hon. M.S. Moerane
P. O. Box 20 Maseru 100
22-311362
18.
Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture
Hon. L. Ntšinyi
P. O. Box 52 Maseru 100
22-313034
19.
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing
Hon. M. Malie
P. O. Box 747 Maseru 100
22-312938
20. Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
P. O. Box 527 Maseru 100
22-311000

Assistant Ministers
22.
Hon. Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning
Mr. Popane Lebesa
P. O. Box 395 Maseru 100
22-310826
23.
Hon. Assistant Minister Justice, Human Rights and Rehabilitation
Ms.Mpeo Mahase
P. O. Box 402 Maseru 100
22-322683
24.
Honourable Assistant Minister of Education and Training
Mrs. ’Malijane Norah Maqelepo
P. O. Box 47 Maseru 100
22-312849
25.
Honourable Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Security
Mr. Molise Paul T'seole
P. O. Box 24 Maseru 100
22-316407
26.
Honourable Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing
Mr. Mothejoa Metsing
P. O. Box 747 Maseru 100
22-312938
27.
Honourable Assistant Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation
Mr. Hlonepho Nt’sekhe
P.O. Box 10993 Maseru 100
22 314763
[ Source... ]
Beautiful, easy layout (that actually uses tables), plenty of post office box and phone numbers, but not one e-mail address. There are two, to be sure, but they belong to the webmaster and the editor. There is this feedback form, but I remain saddened by the absence of e-mail addresses. And I feel, as a result, that there remains work to be done in terms of leaving the proverbial door open enough for us to be able to walk in and out. I'd have liked to have looked at what Botswana has on its pages, but access was not possible at the time of writing. Good governance is fragile, and requires non-stop pampering by the both the governed and the governer. Otherwise it goes to pot. Contacting someone in government is hard enough; getting a response is next to impossible. It shouldn't be.