By-laws on the Indigo Legislation Platform

The Indigo Legislation Platform now powers Open By-laws South Africa, a big jump forward for re-use, free access to law, and open source legislation software.

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Mariya Badeva-Bright recently wrote that access to the law is key to Africa’s future. So it’s not surprising that we’re really excited to announce that our local legislation website OpenBylaws.org.za is now powered by our open source Indigo Legislation Platform.

This is a big step forward in empowering communities to make local legislation freely available and indicates the level of maturity that the Indigo platform has reached.

Many steps towards change

We’re building the Indigo Platform for AfricanLII under a grant from the Indigo Trust and taking an agile, iterative approach like we do for all our projects. Publishing legislation is not simple; the documents are large, correct structure is import and attention to detail is critical. While Indigo does make it easier, it’s going to take time for AfricanLII and their partners to capture and publish African national legislation.

Local by-laws are shorter and simpler than national legislation so we’re using them to put Indigo through its paces and ensure it has everything required to be a useful platform. We’ve taken our learnings from porting the OpenBylaws.org.za website over to use Indigo and fed them back into the platform.

Indigo has made it significantly easier and faster to publish new by-laws to OpenBylaws.org.za so users of the website will benefit from that immediately. Over time they’ll also benefit from the additional features that we’re building into Indigo, such as downloading by-laws in eBook form.

Taking it forward

We’re looking for community volunteers to help keep the by-laws on OpenBylaws.org.za updated and to add more municipalities to reach our goal of all by-laws for the whole of South Africa. If you’re interested, please get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Both Open By-laws and the Indigo Platform are open source projects that anyone can re-use. You can read about installing and using the Indigo Platform at indigo.readthedocs.org and you can find the OpenBylaws.org.za website on GitHub.

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