#CodeBridgeYouth has had to adapt to operating entirely online and with some guidance from their leadership, they have managed to stay connected throughout lockdown

Hundreds of youth from all over the Western Cape make up the #CodeBridgeYouth community. Photo: Damian Pool

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the use of communications tools like Zoom, WhatsApp and Google Meet has soared. Communication is more important now than ever before. The situation we face based on the pandemic is changing so fast and is so uncertain, there is perhaps nothing more important than the way a team communicates.


In May, nearly 80 journalists, activists and researchers participated in a webinar where they learned how to monitor and report on the municipal finance in South Africa

The city of Makhanda is at the heart of the Makana municipality, and is where the water crisis has been centred.

In May this year, Makhanda suffered two big water outages as the town’s waterworks failed. Some areas went for days without water. This comes after countless efforts and millions of rands having been spent to fix the waterworks, after they were refurbished — at the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works — in January 2019.

Desperate, residents were forced to fetch water from the drains where their cattle were drinking. Meanwhile, close to 40,000 cases of Coronavirus and nearly 800 deaths have been confirmed in South Africa.


Evictions can be granted during level 3 but tenants will not be forced to leave their homes until level 2 lockdown

On 1 June, South Africa transitioned into level 3 of lockdown. While the curfew has been lifted, travel restrictions have lessened and more businesses are opening again, many people have lost their jobs, experienced salary cuts and are struggling to pay rent. With landlords demanding their money, eviction threats are on the rise. This, despite evictions remaining largely prohibited at this alert level.

It is important to remember that evictions without a court order are always prohibited and illegal. But, in short, under alert level 3, even a court order for eviction cannot be carried out by the Sheriff unless…


The online budget portal has contributed to South Africa ranking first in budget transparency and oversight

More than 2,000 South Africans — many of them young people — have participated in our in-person events, where they are encouraged to get involved in the budget process through Vulekamali. Photo: Damian Pool

In a time where our economy is more vulnerable than usual, it is important to reflect on our country’s processes of openness and transparency. How much information is the government sharing with the public? Does the public have access to this information, and what can we do with it?

One of the building blocks behind the online budget portal Vulekamali, was South Africa’s need to improve on public participation. The website was therefore designed to publish easily accessible data in a user-friendly format, to enable more effective information-sharing, analysis and research. With the support of National Treasury, civil society and…


Our new brand identity is so much more than just a new logo and colour scheme. It is also a rediscovery of who we are and why we do what we do.

On our quest to rebrand all things OpenUp, we came to understand how we want to be viewed by the rest of the world

Your identity is so much more than who you are. It is also about what it means to be you, and how this is linked to your values and beliefs. How do you view yourself and how are you viewed by the rest of the world? These were some of the questions we started with when we first began our journey to a new identity at OpenUp.

Last week, we launched our new website and while this is just the first phase of our rebranding journey, new and exciting features will continue to be rolled out over the next few…


OpenUp’s JD Bothma teaches the team a thing or two about using agile in the civic tech space

In April this year, we held a screencast for the whole team on agile and scrum at a small scale, focusing on how to use these principles and methodology in the civic tech space.

Recently, we’ve gone through some changes. From a reduction in team size to a new brand identity and website, OpenUp is quite different from what it was just a year ago. As our organisation has changed, we’ve adapted the principles of agile to our way of working.

Quite simply, agile is a manifesto and a set of principles that attempts to minimise risk. It comes from…


Vulekamali encourages users to engage with the data available on the budget portal, and offer analyses of their own

This year, the first part of Vulekamali, our budget portal project with National Treasury and civil society coalition IMALI YETHU, came to a close. Project manager Adrian Kearns has already spent some time reflecting on all that has been achieved over the past two years, since Vulekamali was first launched.

Engaging with communities around the country was one of the highlights of the project, and the team has already interacted with close to 2,000 individuals through Civic Information Drives, Hackathons, DataQuests, a webinar and a data visualisation competition.

Participants were invited to use government in-year spending data to create visualisations…


This week we’re launching our brand new website and we couldn’t be more excited for what the future at OpenUp holds

Our new website is now live, with more of our brand being rolled out over the next few weeks.

The next time you go to openup.org.za, you might be surprised to find that things look a little different. There’s a new logo, the layout has changed and we’ve incorporated a bit more colour into our world. This is our new website and we’d like to take a minute or two to introduce you to it, in all its glory.


Open Courts provides the public with access to high court records from around South Africa

We all have the right of access to the courts, to observe how matters will be decided, and to obtain court documents relating to those cases.

The South African court system sees thousands of cases every year and each of these is made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of records. Despite the importance of these records and access to the courts in general, they are mostly only made available in paper format. Part of this is because the court process itself is…


The CodeBridge Youth Participation Guide aims to get young people more involved in by encouraging digital participation in events and communications

Even though the rules around lockdown eased on 1 May 2020, it is likely that things won’t go back to ‘normal’ for the foreseeable future. One of the biggest adjustments made by a large portion of the population has been learning how to work with other people from a distance. For some, this means attending meetings over the phone and for others, this means embracing the offerings of the digital world.

The CodeBridge Youth Participation Guide is just one…

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