Exco meets the people in the Free State: a window dressing exercise?
The new democratic political dispensation has posed numerous challenges and opportunities to both the government communication system and government communicators specifically. The democratic breakthrough of 1994 signaled, among other matters, an ANC government commitment to create space for members of the public to participate in building the new democratic South African state. Communication has thus been viewed as a strategic element of service delivery. Government has created a number of opportunities and structures to pursue the commitment that this accountability and interaction takes place. These include the Presidential Izimbizo and Exco Meets the People (sometimes referred to as the Provincial Izimbizo). For the purpose of this article, the concept of Exco Meets the People is used interchangeably as meaning a communication method by the Free State ANC government as well as referring to a provincial gathering organised by the Directorate of Policy Unit in the Office of the Premier. The article uses field research as the main historical research methodology. This method was helpful to ascertain the impact of Exco Meets the People to the targeted communities, and to determine the views of such communities with regard to this communication method.