Webinar: Civic Tech for Cities World Cafe
10:00 to 12:00 - 30 Jul 2020
Zoom, https://zoom.us/


Civic Tech for Cities World Cafe

The South African Council for City Data (SACCD) in partnership with the Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN) will be hosting an online World Cafe to showcase South Africa’s civic tech innovation capacities to city officials. This virtual session is intended to enable South African city officials and public practitioners to engage face to face with civic tech doers and enablers/connecters, to learn about innovations, tools and techniques, to share experiences, and to meet potential collaborators.

The session aims to showcase examples of civic tech as an opportunity for cities to see the civic tech sector’s capabilities and innovative tools, and to begin exploring how they could leverage these to support their work and organisations. The underlying question is how clever uses of tech and existing capabilities could add value to cities, and how can such opportunities be pursued or enabled?

Why Civic Tech?

South Africa has a lively and growing community of civic tech practitioners – activists, innovators, developers, entrepreneurs, etc. who are interested in using technology for public good. Civic Tech initiatives around the world have effectively demonstrated how new technologies can be used to improve governance and accountability by bridging digital divides, supporting or transforming service delivery, monitoring and providing feedback to government on public services, and generally making cities work better.


As a community of practice, the CTIN hosts the continent’s premier database project on tracking civic tech initiatives in SA and Africa. SACCD and CTIN are using this to invite some of South Africa’s cutting edge civic tech innovators to showcase and share about their work and experience at the webinar. The innovations could range from govtech tools, citizen participation tech tools, smart cities innovations and more. The innovators are invited to exhibit their initiatives digitally and then to engage directly with participants to explore opportunities / implications.

For Whom?

The event will bring together key city practitioners, primarily comprised of key city practitioners from SACCD and S A Cities Network’s Reference Groups from across 8 cities the country, as well as supporting actors such as from OGP, CSP, SALGA, COGTA, CPSI, provincial government, etc.

The webinar aims to achieve successful outcomes for both local government practitioners and the civic community.

Benefits for city practitioners:

  • Exposure to civic tech capabilities in SA
  • Understanding of how civic tech and successful collaboration can positively impact cities

Benefits for civic tech community:

  • Identifying issues for attention by the key actors and their partners / enablers
  • Understanding of working environment of local government and efficient means for collaboration
  • Benefits for both city practitioners and civic tech community
  • Building new networks and connections
  • Mutual learning between “supply” and “demand” side about opportunities to leverage civic tech in local planning, management and governance
  • Initiating an interrogation about the means and barriers to leveraging these opportunities



Citizen-Government engagement technology
Representative: Goitse Konopi


a nation self-organizing from the ground-up
Representative: Katlego Mohlabane

GovChat was founded in 2016, GovChat’s is a citizen-engagement platform that enables Citizens to speak directly to the Government. The data generated creates real-time insights that inform service delivery and support the speed at which decisions are made. GovChat is an Open Government Partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Department of Health (DoH).

GovChat Website Link: Website

Type of civic tech
GovChat is cross-platform technology that integrates into existing applications to support the users interaction with government.

Aim and objectives
Govchat’s aim is digitising government services for the citizen’s benefit.

Grassroot is a mobile organising tool that was used by community leaders for free over ussd to call meetings, after the success it had in communities, Grassroot decided to embark on a task to offer community leaders a leadership and organising curriculum that could be delivered on their devices without the need to upgrade.

Grassroot Website Link: Website

Type of civic tech
Grassroot’s core civic tech innovation was the mobile organising tool but for this particular project, it was creating a first of its kind, e-learning curriculum over the commonly used instant messenger, WhatsApp.

Aim and objectives
Grassroot’s aim is a deep strategic review a year ago found that greater citizen action was not leading to government response, and fell apart quickly for deep structural reasons so we changed focus to trying to build organizers’ ability to lead long-term, non- transactional action, through courses delivered via WhatsApp.

LUMA law

Access to justice
Representative: Grace Gichanga

Open Up – Municipal Money

Making Municipal Finance information accessible & understandable
Representative: Adrian Kearns and JD Bothma

LUMA law has been conducting legal literacy workshops for the past 5 years, what became apparent was that many of the questions and statements were similar, such as: I didn’t know that I was allowed to do that? Where do I go to report? Which forms should I fill in? Which supporting documents do I need? Etc.

As an attorney, Grace Gichanga found this lack of basic legal literacy together with a fear of engaging the justice system as the primary factor that led to many people not enforcing their rights.

LUMA Law also realized that chat is a primary mode of communication and delivering information. This is why they utilize chat platforms such as facebook messenger as a delivery point due to its immense reach.

LUMA Law Website Link: Website

Type of civic tech
LUMA Law is an initiative which uses tech to enable access to equitable and affordable justice. This will contribute towards an active citizenry as well as a smart city as our platform is chat based which many citizens have access and are familiar with.

Aim and objectives
LUMA Law’s objective is to increase access to legal information that is simple, practical and user friendly. They hope to guide the user through the legal processes and procedures, while saving them time and opportunity costs such as transport.

Municipal Money is an initiative of the National Treasury, which hosts extensive amounts of municipal financial data, submitted by municipalities. In order to share this data with the public, National Treasury has enlisted the help of an external partner, Openup – an NGO that promotes informed public decision-making using technology.

Municipal Money is a free, impartial, politically neutral, online tool to find out about how municipal funds are spent. Our aim is to help citizens understand where public money is spent and whether this is within acceptable norms, not to comment on how it is spent. In doing so we hope to empower our citizens, strengthen civic oversight and promote accountability. We hope that Municipal Money will be a useful tool for everyone, regardless of their political persuasion and their views on public spending.

Open Up Website Link: Website

Type of civic tech
Municipal Money is a web-based tool designed to inform citizens on their local authority’s financial performance and allows comparisons between municipalities.

The website is designed to present key municipal financial information to a general audience, who do not necessarily have any financial background or knowledge. This is done by using a variety of visual elements and tools – including interactive maps, charts, graphs and short videos. We have also provided different levels of detail in explaining key financial concepts, so our audience can select the amount and level of information they want access to.

This tool draws on the raw data from the Municipal Money API website – www.treasury.data.gov.za — and is a clear example of how that raw data can be utilised to enhance civic education and oversight.

Aim and objectives
Municipal Money’s aim is to simply make municipal finance data simple and accessible to all South Africans.

Coronavirus COVID-19

Data Repository for South Africa
Representative: Dr Vukosi Marivate


Personal safety and emergency response
Representative: James Bell

The Data Science for Social Impact research group at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, has worked on curating and applying publicly available data on COVID-19 in a way that is computer-readable so that information can be shared to the public – using both a data repository and a dashboard. Through collaborative practices, a variety of challenges related to publicly available data in South Africa came to the fore. These include shortcomings in the accessibility, integrity, and data management practices between governmental departments and the South African public. In this paper, solutions to these problems will be shared by using a publicly available data repository and dashboard as a case study.

To update the public, especially in South Africa, announcements are made by the minister of health daily. These announcements narrate the confirmed COVID-19 cases and include the age, gender, and travel history of people who have tested positive for the disease. Additionally, the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases updates a daily infographic summarising the number of tests performed, confirmed cases, mortality rate, and the regions affected. However, the age of the patient and other nuanced data regarding the transmission is only shared in the daily announcements and not on the updated infographic. To disseminate this information, the Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Data Repository for South Africa was created.

Data Repository for South Africa Website Link: Website

Type of civic tech
Collaborative Open Data Portal

Aim and objectives
Collaborative Open Data Portal for COVID-19 in South Africa

As a result of an initiative with Tshwane Police to enable the public to request help simply and quickly and for Police to communicate with and navigate to the member of the public. It soon became evident that there was a drastic need for it nationally and across all emergency

Namola Website Link: Website

Type of civic tech
Namola is an app based on geolocating, contacting and despatching of emergency services.

Aims and objectives
Namola’s aim is to provide a simple and seamless way for members of the public to summon emergency help to their exact location.


Event Blog published on Medium, click link below

Three key points from our recent virtual World Cafe


Other Organizer(s)


  • 10:00 - 12:00 : Webinar

    Civic Tech for Cities World Cafe


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