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Vodacom is using technology to support service delivery in South Africa by developing mobile platforms to promote active citizenry.
Thetha Nathi, the recently launched citizenship platform for OR Tambo District Municipality, 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. OR Tambo is the first municipality to launch the solution, which is now available for use by local residents. Vodacom plans to introduce the solution to other municipalities across the country.
The second app, Link - Powered by Vodacom, is a zero-rated general community app that enables communities to report service delivery issues such as blocked drains, burst pipes, electricity outages, missing manhole covers and refuse issues. Link also offers additional services including the ability to connect to a variety of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices as well as follow community channels which allow users to report and view safety and security related incidents in their communities, view local job advertising and businesses.
Both Thetha Nathi and Link share the same back-end system, which makes the platforms interchangeable. This means that all reported information relevant to a particular geographic area is shared between the apps. Link also offers a full social media platform for users, including messaging and calling functionality, providing a single view for all messages and notifications on one screen. The app has a free service for all residents’ associations, safety and community forums to report security issues and community information. Link provides a platform for businesses, merchants and brands to promote themselves, enabling them to establish private communication channels with customers.
Better communication between government and citizens
Vodacom Business Chief Officer Vuyani Jarana says: 'Vodacom is using mobile technology to bring about administrative efficiency and enhance communication between government and citizens in an effort to support service delivery. We are essentially bringing government to the people and providing an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in the process.'
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 app accommodates various languages including English and Xhosa.
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.
How iThetha Nathi App works on a Smartphone:
• Download the App onto your Android/iPhone smartphone
• Use the App to send your councillor an email reporting any incident
• The councillor responds and works with you to resolve the incident
• Once the councillor believes the incident is resolved, it will be marked as pending closure
• You will receive an SMS asking you to confirm: Yes if the incident was resolved or No to keep the job open
If you don’t have a Smartphones:
• If you don’t have iThetha Nathi App, simply dial *120*4571# to report a new incident
• Then follow the same process as above, using SMS instead of email
The Link – Powered by Vodacom and Thetha Nathi apps are now available for download from the iOS store or from Google Play