22 November 2017

South Africa: Minister Lindiwe Zulu Expresses Well Wishes and Encouragement to Govchat

press release

Minister of Small Business Development Ms Lindiwe Zulu has expressed her well wishes and encouragement to South Africa's largest civic engagement platform GovChat, on being invited by the European Union (EU) Commission Vice-President, H.E. Andrus Ansip and African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, to join them at the "High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Digital Economy" at the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum on 27 November 2017, in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

The forum takes place prior to the AU-EU Heads of State and Government Summit which is scheduled for 29th-30th November 2017.

GovChat, as a civic engagement platform in partnership with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) enables Government to send messages to the public at no cost and receive service delivery related messaging in return.

Together with all its partners, GovChat has developed a pilot platform, which enhanced the levels of engagement between citizens and councillors.

Minister Zulu further said; "We congratulate the GovChat team for their tremendous success, which demonstrates the high levels of social entrepreneurship that exist in our country. GovChat is a good example of the potential within our country's technology industry especially amongst our youth. The acknowledgement by multilateral partners has also confirmed the enormous opportunities that exist in the ICT sector."

We believe in open government partnerships and working with all partners to improve communities and look forward to the launch of the GovChat Android and iOS Apps in the first quarter of 2018.

Background

GovChat, South Africa's Largest Civic Engagement Platform in partnership with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) enables Government to send messages to the public at no cost and receive service delivery related messaging.

All interactions on the platform are stored in a database, which is then used to create real time visual dashboard when Government uses to craft content, and engage the community on.

The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and GovChat have been successfully working together since the 20th of April 2016, when a Memorandum of understanding was signed.

Some of the partners on this programme include SALGA and COGTA, as part of the implementation plan. Together with all its partners, GovChat has developed a pilot platform, which enhanced the levels of engagement between citizens and councillors. We have also developed a four-year roadmap highlighting innovative features we will be building.

Six months after the soft launch GCIS received the State IT Agency (SITA) Award for Local Government innovation at the annual GovTech awards. SALGA included GovChat into its Ward Councillor Induction program and provided 10,000 Councillor information Data to integrate into the GovChat Platform so that citizens can immediately find their councillor and related content.

To date, COGTA's Public Participation National Committee has requested for the platform to be implemented in all provinces. Recent requests have come from the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and Free State provinces.

During October 2016 GovChat was invited by the African Union Commission to represent South Africa and Government Communications at the AU ICT Week in Abidjan, showcasing how the GovChat platform enables real time engagement between government and communities.

Issued by: Department of Small Business Development

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