Dear SA is a network of online public participation platforms designed to encourage the public to participate in government decision-making process at SOE, municipal, provincial and national levels.
The main site dearsouthafrica.co.za focusses on national matters while the local sites, dearcapetown.co.za, deartshwane, dearjoburg, dearekurhuleni, dearethekwini, deareden and others, focus on local municipal and community matters.
In a short amount of time, DearSA has gained a substantial following and attracts an enormous amount of high-quality internet traffic. Visitors are attracted to the site after receiving an email notification or social media message to participate in a campaign which is relevant to them. Once landing on the campaign page, they are presented with a summary of the matter and encouraged to complete a survey/petition. Once completed, the visitor is directed to a thank-you page and encouraged to participate in other campaigns elsewhere on the site. The user receives an email thanking them for their participation and is added to the active citizen database.
benefits over other platforms
- targeted and focused campaigns; as any government decision must be published, each public participation campaign is highly focussed towards a business or industry sector and attracts an emotionally connected audience. Campaigns could appeal to different demographics depending on the sector involved.
- engaged users; spend time on the sites, reading comments from others or document summaries. Visitors also interact by completing forms, and visiting other pages within the site. Engaged users visit on average 4.5 pages.
- high value traffic; visitors are concerned citizens, well educated and aware of community, social, economic, political and environmental issues.