Open Government First Thursday by the numbers
Over 200 members of the public were able to hold face to face meetings with either Premier Alan Winde, members of his cabinet or senior officials during the October First Thursday event.
This month’s event, co-hosted by GreenCape, focused on green business and sustainable transport solutions.
The automated queuing system used to facilitate the one-on-one meetings is able to track the number of people assisted. For this month, 243 meetings were tracked between 5pm and 9pm across all Ministries, and the City of Cape Town desks.
Premier Winde and the Ministry of Economic Opportunities received the most queries, with each dealing with 44 meetings or queries. Transport and Public Works held 27 meetings, and Human Settlements held 18.
Premier Winde said: “Our vision for First Thursday is to make government accessible to people. Almost 250 people had an opportunity to meet with a minister or a senior official, and have their ideas or concerns heard this month. Unfortunately, there will be some queries that we will be unable to resolve, either because they do not fall into our sphere of government or mandate, or because they require resources we don't possess. However, we are committed to hearing what people have to say, advising where necessary and resolving what we can,” he said.
“The system shows that the average waiting time was over an hour, but I encourage those attending to use the opportunity to visit our exhibitors, and to network while they wait. First Thursday is not just about the meetings, but about showcasing local businesses, and getting people who may never have met, into the same room.”
“We have some amazing success stories stemming from previous First Thursday events held when I was in the Ministry of Economic Opportunities. From businesses finding funding or markets, to individuals helping each other out. This week, I received a message from the former British Consul General, Ed Roman, sharing with me how he met Luthando Kolwapi at a First Thursday event about two years ago. The two chatted about scholarship opportunities, and Luthando is now a scholar at the London School of Economics, on a Chevening Bursary. The two met again in London this week, proving that the connections established at an event like First Thursday, can have a lasting impact.”
The tracking system also allows members of the public to rate their experience of the event, via an sms sent to them afterwards. The majority of those who responded, rated the event positively. We encourage those who do attend, to take a minute or two to complete the survey and make suggestions to improve the event even further. We are already looking at ways to make the experience even more seamless for the next one, which will be held on 7 November.
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