Mar 2019 2nd Edition

Using technology to monitor service delivery

Written by: Silusapho Nyanda

Imagine a computer programme that can predict service-delivery protests before they happen! Thanks to the digital age, tools such as these are becoming a reality.

Three young people are leading the charge of the 4IR.

The students have developed a technologically advanced dashboard that will assist government in ensuring efficient and effective service delivery.

A dashboard is an information management tool. It visualises, analyses and displays the data gathered.

It also uses statistics to collect data that will enable government to monitor service - delivery projects and identify delays. This will enable government to intervene in time to avert protests related to  service delivery by members of communities.

One of the inventors of the technology, Zinzi Villo, who is a Master of Commerce in Information Systems candidate at the University of Cape Town, said the dashboard would allow for an increase in productivity, effectiveness and efficiency.

“What the dashboard does is visualise government departments' performance and gives one an idea of how each department is performing. Also showing how people are feeling about the service provided in different provinces. It also shows the budget allocated for each department,” Villo further explained.

Villo developed the dashboard in partnership with Thembela Daphula (22), a BSc Honours student in Data Science at the Sol Plaatje University, and Maria de Wet, a chemical engineering student at the University of Pretoria.

The students used data from Statistics South Africa, the Presidential Hotline, the South African Police Service, the South African Social Security Agency and the Department of Health. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) supplied the students with software and hardware.

“We used Python programming language for coding and other libraries needed to get the project going,” said 33-year-old Villo.

The students came up with the concept after their project leader challenged them to use data to find solutions and create insights on structured and unstructured issues.

“Based on the data that we were given by our project leader, we decided to create a dashboard to visualise and understand data,” explained Villo.

The dashboard was created over an intense two-month period at the CSIR. 

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