Get on the bus! The Democracy Bus embarks on a service delivery journey


Get on the bus! The Democracy Bus embarks on a service delivery journey

Pretoria, 21 June 2024 – In celebration of 30 years of freedom and democracy, the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) has donated a fully kitted coach to provide citizens in the furthest corners of the land with an opportunity to engage all tiers of government through various activations.

The coach – a type of bus built for long distance service – was used from the day of the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa – 19 June – by different departments to hold community engagements designed to foster dialogue and increase citizen participation in shaping government’s service delivery programmes.

The launch event, held a day before the inauguration, was attended by, among others, the Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni; Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga; Director-General of the Department of Transport, Advocate James Mlawu – who was the Programme Director; SANRAL Board chairperson, Themba Mhambi; SANRAL CEO Reginald Demana and members of his senior management team, as well as senior public officials from the Presidency, Department of Transport and Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

Handing over the freedom and democracy bus to Ntshavheni at the SANRAL Central Operations Centre (COC) in Centurion on Tuesday, Chikunga explained that the term ‘bus’ was short for omnibus, which means “for everyone”.

“It often symbolises taking a journey,” she said. “So, it fits well with the idea that we should all embark on a journey to commemorate the arrival of democracy and freedom. This bus will travel the length and breadth of our country until April next year, spreading the message of what the government has delivered to bring a better life to the people of South Africa over the past 30 years.”

The bus will be managed by Government Communication and Information System but is available to all government departments for various campaigns.

“As you will see when you board the bus, it is fully kitted out to ensure that public servants continue their work while travelling on the long road,” said Chikunga. “We urge all government departments to take ownership of the bus, as we will also do as the Department of Transport.

Chikunga added that South Africa had emerged “unified” from the recent elections. “We continue to put people first as we celebrate 30 years of democracy and freedom. From the dawn of democracy in 1994, to date, we stand more committed to bring a better life to all citizens of this glorious nation.”

The 27 April 2024 marked 30 years since the advent of democracy in South Africa, a historic milestone in South Africa as all adults were allowed to cast their votes, for the first time, a free and fair democratic election.

The bus is going to criss-cross the country’s nine provinces while engaging South Africans through various activations and showcasing the government’s programmes and achievements over the past 30 years.

As part of commemorations for the 30 Years of Freedom campaign, government will reflect on the nation’s history, celebrate its accomplishments and inspire citizens to continue contributing to its progress.

It will be part of a host of exciting events throughout 2024 to celebrate the state of readiness of public transport, 30 years of national roads infrastructure and 30 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa.

The government intends sending the bus to rural areas and public spaces across South Africa to raise all the departments’ profiles while offering interactive and high-tech information about how democracy works, said Ntshavheni.

The press briefing was preceded by a ceremony in which Chikunga officially handed over the colourful bus to Ntshavheni.