Govchat said that they are very encouraged by the thousands of users that have registered and sent messages. Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Govchat, a citizen engagement platform in partnership with GCIS, CoGTA and SALGA, said that they were very encouraged by the thousands of users that had registered and sent messages. 

"We are excited by the growth of our community, this is considering that GovChat launched without any marketing. In the first 72 hours govchat saw more than 8 000 engagements taking place" said GovChat chief, Eldrid Jordaan.

Last week, Deputy Minister Andries Nel of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), told the media about the aggressive awareness campaign and rollout Govchat had been engaged in. 

The rollout has been launched in these four provinces: Northern Cape, Free State, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.

Minister Ayanda Dlodlo of Public Service and Administration has also tweeted her congratulations to Jordaan. 

The Minister was speaking from the Innovation Lab Conference in Singapore. 

As part of the launch, Minister Dlodlo invoked significant interest in govchat, by participants ranging from Minister’s, Public Sector Innovators and Technology Investors. 


At the 1st Nationals public Service Hackathon sponsored by govchat, Minister Dlodlo proposed that govchat expand quickly to support the work of the National Assembly.

Jordaan said: “Innovative partnerships that take our context and lived experiences into account will be the winners at the end of the day. We are grateful for the fantastic partners that we have, not only in government, but private sector as well. As an African platform, built for Africans, by Africans we see the benefit of working closely with partners and appreciate the support from both Minister Dlodo and Deputy Minister Nel for believing in the power of transformative African technology."

The govchat platform has three citizen facing components:

Rate and Report the quality of service and facilities across 30 000.

Submitting service requests directly to the appropriate unit at the right right municipality 

Giving to your community allowing for aggregating donations in communities for partners to help the vulnerable.

Chief data officer Goitse Konopi, has also discussed the importance of data-driven decision-making.

He stated that, “govchat is a tool that helps government to seamlessly disaggregate data and to ask the right questions with the right context."

"Instead of ‘where, why, & how’ issues escalate, governments across the continent are now able to ask ‘who & what’ is responsible."

A WORLD FIRST 

Govchat is said to be the world’s first citizen engagement platform that allows citizens to chat with politicians using the popular messenger app WhatsApp. 

In September, when the portal was launched, Nel said the platform was the world’s first citizen engagement platform with inbuilt communication tools on WhatsApp. 

Nel said for the first time, citizens would be able to access more than 10 000 public representatives supporting more than 30 000 public facilities and services in communities nationwide. 

“The collaborative effort makes the South African government the first in the world to create a digital communication tool where government becomes instantly accessible to over 16 million people,” Nel said. 

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