Citizen Activism 2.0 – Eskom and the Scorpions

The DA often comes up with ideas for initiatives (not only online) around issues and concerns that are at the forefront of the public’s attention. For example, we launched Victims of Crime at a time when crime was very much in people’s mind’s eye – shortly after some very high profile murders (a concern still very prominent in the public mind).

We don’t always think of those ideas first, though.

This week, trade union Solidarity launched Eskom Stories – a platform for people to share their experience of Eskom’s incapacity, to vent and perhaps offer suggestions about how to ameliorate the situation.

When the stories in the media are about the big picture, the stats, the cost to the economy, many people feel frustrated and ignored. This kind of site provides a platform for those people. It also really brings home the reality of the situation for ordinary people. If nothing else, Cabinet ministers and MPs should spend some time perusing it to stay in touch with the people they’re supposed to be serving.

Another civil society initiative, which draws on a quote by Helen Zille, is an online petition to stop the government from disbanding the Scorpions or incorporating them into the SAPS.

These are certainly big issues at the moment. Have a look at how many bloggers have tagged “Eskom” on Amatomu in the last few days (have a look at this one for a satirical take 🙂 ). SAfm dedicated three consecutive shows to the issue yesterday.

In comparison, the Scorpions barely features. A Search on “Scorpions” (it didn’t feature in the tag cloud) returned only 34 results. This is probably primarily because it isn’t directly impacting the average man in the street (or blogger) right now. But it does have serious implications for our criminal justice system and the fight against corruption.

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