In today’s fast paced world of instant communication and digital connectivity, it is fundamental that ICT be harnessed to assist government meet its service delivery needs. However, the fact is, most public bodies are still plagued by huge service delivery challenges, owing to sluggish responses to the adoption of relevant technologies.
The City of Tshwane is on the road to bucking that trend, as they continue to break new ground in using technology to address service delivery challenges, which has become clearly evident with the successful rollout of the largest government funded Public WiFi network in Africa. Improving service delivery through technology has become one of the cornerstones of the visionary Executive Mayor, Cllr Ramokgopa and the stewardship of the City Manager, Mr Jason Ngobeni supported in execution by the Group CIO, Mr Dumisani Otumile.
At the core of the City’s strategy to improve the delivery of basic services is the need to expand service delivery channels, thereby eliminating dependency on the availability of personnel at Municipal offices and increasing speed and efficiency for city officials and citizens alike. Developing a comprehensive e-services strategy is a must to aid in debt collection and improve slow turnaround times, among other challenges.
Under the banner of E-Tshwane (https://www.e-tshwane.co.za/), various online services are currently available for Tshwane residents to connect with their City and make municipal payments online. In the past, the City entered into agreements with third party payment channels such as Pick n Pay, Shoprite and Post Office to make life easy for ratepayers and assist the City’s collection processes. These channels are central to the collection strategies of the City as they collect millions on behalf of the City, but are not updated in real-time to the City financial system. E-Tshwane serves to address this issue and is on the way to reaching the approximately one million households who receive their statements every month.
Almost 200 000 accounts have already been registered on the E-Tshwane system in less than 2 years of its existence. Through this system, ratepayers are now able to receive statements and make payments online, resulting in real-time updates to the City’s financial system. This means that the City knows immediately that payment has been made and reconciliations happen without any delay. To this end, the City is currently finalising negotiations with third party payment platforms to extend the E-Tshwane system, thereby extending the real time functionality of the system to benefit of our customers
To further enhance the spread and impact of this digital approach, e-tshwane.co.za is available for unlimited access over ‘Tshwane Free WiFi’, the public access WiFi network which connects over 50 000 Tshwane residents every day in the Capital.
The E-Tshwane Portal, along with other key e-governmental, education and employment services can be accessed at the click of a button on the Tobetsa Portal, available for unlimited access beyond the 250MB daily cap, at all 705 Free Internet Zones (FIZ) across the city. The number of FIZs is constantly on the rise and by 2017, every citizen in Tshwane will be within walking distance of Free WiFi and thus the E-Tshwane Portal. The ability for citizens to interact with their city online has been further enhanced by the recent launch of WiFi Chat, a localized social network where citizens can discuss service delivery priorities as well as log service delivery faults across various City service delivery departments and link faults directly to their municipal account number.
Through these digital initiatives and the proliferation of the E-Tshwane Portal, the City will significantly improve service standards, consolidate collections, reduce the cost of doing business and create a more connected ‘Smart’ City says Mr Dumisani Outmile, Group CIO for the City of Tshwane.