Smartphone apps offer great features which can make our daily routines easier and more enjoyable.
Among their capabilities, they can let you order your favourite take-aways or book a lift to the airport in minutes.
Others can help you stay up to date with family and friends, or even keep up with Eskom’s complicated load-shedding schedules.
In South Africa, startups and well-established companies have rolled out numerous unique apps which cater to specific local needs.
Here are several of the top-rated South African apps available on either or both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Old Mutual’s 22seven app can link to banking, investment, stockbroking, loan, crypto, and rewards accounts from more than 100 providers.
This can provide South Africans with great insights into their purchases and spending habits, allowing for more responsible management of their money.
Users can also set up spending alerts to know when they have reached certain thresholds on their available cash.
The app is also capable of recognising purchases automatically and categorising them according to the expenses in your budget – such as groceries, rent, entertainment, and fuel costs.
The mess of Eskom and municipality websites, coupled with complex scheduling, often make it a challenge to know exactly when your home or office will be hit by load-shedding.
With more than 1 million installs on the Google Play Store alone, many South Africans rely on EskomSePush (ESP) for accurate load-shedding times.
The app delivers load-shedding schedules to over 50,000 areas in the country. You can see exactly which stage Eskom is currently load-shedding at and set up alerts so that you can plan your daily routine accordingly.
It now also comes with a community chat feature, allowing members of the same group to message each other over possible dangers and happenings in their area.
- Google Play Store – 4.4/5
- Apple App Store – n/a
Moya Messenger is a basic text messaging app similar to WhatsApp, Telegram, or Signal, but unlike them, it does not require the user to have data to communicate.
There are two major caveats to this capability – the inclusion of advertising and the inability to send multimedia like videos, images, or audio without using data.
Moya caters for the many South Africans who consider data to be an expensive or unaffordable luxury, but communication as a necessity.
There is also a page for accessing a range of platforms and websites which offer data-free access, including Wikipedia, YR Weather, GovChat, and various news sites.
In a country that is riddled with crime and road accidents, quick access to emergency services like the police and paramedics can mean the difference between life and death.
The Namola app allows you to press a button in the app in the event of an emergency. This sends a ping to a nearby responder with your location attached, negating the need for you to provide this at a later stage.
An operator will then call to confirm the details of the situation and dispatch the relevant emergency personnel to your location.
It also comes with a family safety feature which allows users to share their location with whom they choose 24/7.
Namola works anywhere in South Africa where there is network coverage.
Mr D Food
Long before UberEats made its debut in South Africa, Mr Delivery offered its food delivery service via telephone.
Many years and a Takealot acquisition later, the platform is now available as an app called Mr D Food.
Although its interface and performance cannot always match up to that of UberEats, it regularly wins on the wide range of restaurants which are available to order from.
From its high ratings on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store it is evident that many South Africans enjoy this app.
In addition, you can also order products like Rain SIM cards and medicine form pharmacies.
SweepSouth is the perfect solution for those who don’t employ a domestic worker but need to have their home cleaned every so often.
The app allows you to schedule housekeeping and other helpful services on demand, providing you with the option to specify exactly what you require and giving you the exact fare for the service upfront.
In addition to indoor and outdoor cleaning, you can also book someone to help with the heavy lifting of things around your house or organise for fixing and maintenance services.
Why go to the garage and spend hours waiting for your car to be washed when you can book it in and have it washed in your driveway as your work from home?
Mobeewash is effectively the SweepSouth of car cleaning services, letting you book and pay for a car wash at your preferred location and time.
Quench is an on-demand delivery service which mainly caters for liquor beverages, but also handles Woolworths food orders.
The former may be particularly useful for instances where everyone at the braai or party has already enjoyed a few drinks and should no longer get behind the steering wheel.
Animal lovers don’t like to leave their dogs or cats behind for long periods when they go away. Finding the right pet-sitter can be a challenge, however.
Minderz is designed to connect pet owners with reliable service providers who can offer overnight pet-sitting at your or their home, dog walking, grooming and other services.
In addition, it also serves as a type of social network for pet lovers, allowing users to upload images of memories with their furry friends.
SnapScan / Zapper
SnapScan and Zapper are QR-based mobile payment platforms that allow smartphone users to load their bank card onto the app and perform transactions securely at supported merchants by using their camera to scan a bar code.
This eliminates the need to carry a wallet or cash around, which benefits the customers, and also provides retailers with a way to allow purchases without requiring a point-of-sale device for a card or contactless payment.