Vodacom has launched a SmartCitizen app to support service delivery and active citizenry in South Africa.
The new Thetha Nathi – Vodacom’s SmartCitizen app for the OR Tambo District Municipality – was showcased at the SALGA Municipal Innovative Infrastructure Conference, which took place at Emperor’s Palace from 13-15 June 2018.
OR Tambo District Municipality, through its partnership with Vodacom, is now fully equipped with Internet connectivity and a specialist call centre established to support the app’s deployment.
The platform is available for use on feature and smartphones, through a USSD service (*134*606#) or by downloading the app on smartphones.
The smartphone app allows people to track government performance through a secure mobile application by reporting service issues, such as water or sanitation, and monitoring their resolution in real time.
It also provides a platform for greater citizen engagement and communication with the district municipality, allowing users to search for local representatives and contact them directly, and accommodates various languages including English and Xhosa.
Features of the app
The app allows OR Tambo residents to:
- Bypass the queues by reporting blocked drains, burst pipes, electricity outages, missing manhole covers, refuse issues, and other service delivery issues.
- Track the progress of issues reported and receive notifications on progress.
- Find and engage ward councillors.
- Find local government facilities.
The municipality will use the accompanying web-based management and reporting portal to receive incident reports from different channels (lodged through the mobile app, via the USSD platform, by municipality walk-ins or via the call centre), allocate reported incidents for resolution, track the time taken to fix reported issues, set and review incident status and pull management reports.
Vodacom plans to introduce the solution to other municipalities across the country.
The need for broadband infrastructure
To enable smart governance, however, broadband infrastructure is needed in local communities, said Dr Ronn Mulea, Vodacom Executive Head of Department Business Solutions Architecture and Systems Integration, who spoke at the conference.
“Optimal communication channels are integral to improving service delivery – channels unlike those that exist in our current government municipalities – which is why we need to improve on the existing infrastructure,” said Dr Mulea.
“The opportunities that lie at the end of this digital rainbow have the potential to further propel the country towards a world-class economic standing.”
Broadband infrastructure development in rural villages, small towns, and the provinces at large is the key to unlocking economic freedom and connecting South African citizens to better service delivery, he added.
“The key to overcoming the hurdles that stand in the way of our country’s progression lies in linking citizens to connectivity solutions,” said Dr Mulea.
“We, as a country, are headed in the right direction, despite the work that needs to be done and the hurdles that still need to be scaled. Private sector players, such as Vodacom Business, and government municipalities still have quite a journey to travel, but together the challenge of connectivity can be overcome.”
For more information, visit the Vodacom website.