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SA internet pioneer helping us all have a say in Zuma’s looming No Confidence vote

By Alec Hogg

It’s coming up for 20 since my unsuccessful audacious plan to combine and list a group of then new internet businesses. Among the potential partners was Kevin Davie, creator of SA’s pioneering news portal Woza and the man who came up with the name Moneyweb. Another was Dale Williams, an online veteran back then having been on the internet since 1991.

Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

We never did get that motley crew into a single unit – Dale helped the eData beat us all to the JSE and Kevin’s Woza was another victim of the roadkill which followed the dot.bomb crash in 2000. But both are still active in the sector. Especially Dale, who has spent the past 14 years as a top level executive coach, but remains as passionate as ever about the web’s ability to democratise information.

Dale dropped me an email yesterday about his latest venture, a democracy-enhancing non-profit called RSA Voices. The website provides South African citizens with a way to connect directly to those who represent them in Parliament. Among its features is a downloadable list of every MP, complete with email addresses, many with cell phone numbers.

The site’s first initiative is to encourage citizens to contact their MP (or one drawn randomly) to inform these worthies how they stand in the No Confidence vote on president Jacob Zuma. Dale is targeting a total of 658 messages for each MP, reminding them they are representatives of the people, not of a plundering elite. Long live RSAvoices.org.za. Long live.

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