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Yesterday (8 May) South Africans took to the polls for the 2019 national and provincial elections.
Results of the elections, the country’s sixth since 1994, are still trickling in with the ANC having polled 56.52% of the vote as at 3pm (see this story).
Yet citizen engagement doesn’t have to end with voters casting ballots. Tech is making it possible for citizens around the world to actively become involved in how their countries are run and South Africa is no exception.
The Johannesburg based Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN) maintains a quarterly updated database of civic tech initiatives in South Africa. The database is managed by Wits’ Journalism and Media Lab (JamLab).
The Civic Tech Innovation Database lists active SA civic tech initiatives
Ventueburn highlights some SA civic tech projects and innovators that stood out. The seven initiatives we’ve listed do everything from tracking the national budget, providing information on service delivery, to helping improve governance and accountability.
Municipal Barometer (municipal data): Want to keep an eye on your municipality or looking to make sure your elected municipality delivers on its mandates? The SA Local Government Association’s Municipal Barometer provides information on on local demographic trends, social development, economic growth and development, environment and municipal finances. The portal was developed by Monkey and River and Urban-Econ.
Vulekamali (budget): Vulekamali is an online budget data portal aims to make government budget data and processes accessible to all citizens and interested parties. The portal was developed by The National Treasury in partnership with Imali Yethu, a coalition of civic society organisations.
People’s Assembly (Parliament): The People’s Assembly website helps users find out who their representatives in parliament, as well as track what they have been up to in parliament. The website relies on the Parliamentary Monitoring Group and is funded by the Indigo Trust, a grant making UK foundation that create a world of active, informed citizens and responsive, accountable governments.
Amandla.mobi (community advocacy): Amandla.mobi wants to turn every cellphone in South Africa into a democracy tool. The platform uses SMS, USSD, Whatsapp and social media to run multi-issue and multilingual campaigns that call for action from government and other institutions. CTIN states that 244 866 had joined the platform by November last year. The platform was founded by executive director Koketso Moeti.
Grassroot (community advocacy): Grassroot‘s civic tech platform — accessible via USSD, Whatsapp, web and social media — enables users to organise meetings, take votes, mobilise and create actions lists. CTIN states that the platform had a total of 18 433 groups and 169 000 users as of October last year.
GovChat (government communication): GovChat enables citizens to connect and communicate with government representatives in real-time through chatbots, Whatsapp and via USSD. The civic tech initiative was founded in 2016 and launched last year by CEO Eldrid Jordaan. The initiative has received nods from the EU and the AU.
Feature image: Etereuti via Pixabay