Vodacom partnering with government, once again, on its digitalisation journey
In 2021, National Treasury elected to retain the services of Vodacom, awarding the company with another five-year mobile communication services contract. Government had initially turned to Vodacom in 2016 ahead of embarking on its digitalisation programme to boost productivity and streamline service delivery. This extension recognises Vodacom’s great work in the first five-year contract, implementing innovative digital solutions within several departments and municipalities to significantly reduce government technology expenditure.
“We’re honoured to continue our partnership with the government as they use technology to amplify their productivity while increasing efficiency to serve and uplift South Africa’s citizens. Through the previous mobile communication services contract, we successfully supported various government departments to leverage digital tools that enable economic development and social progress, while improving living standards of communities through accountable, efficient, and sustainable management of public finances,” says William Mzimba, Chief Officer for Vodacom Business.
How we’ve enhanced communication
In partnership with the government, Vodacom created several application platforms designed to automate, enrich, and streamline interactions between government departments and the public. These platforms include the Citizen Engagement app, the Mpilo app, and the MySAPS app.
The Citizen Engagement app has streamlined interactions between citizens, government contact centres, field workers, and senior officials, while the MySAPS app enables citizens to search for the nearest police station, submit a tip-off, and call a crime-stop number. The introduction of MySAPS highlights how technology can be used to support national police efforts and connect communities in a collective effort in the fight against crime. Since the launch of the app in 2019, the SAPS has received 6 700 tip-offs from community members. Mpilo is a smart, interactive mobile app that allows users to report waiting times and cleanliness in health facilities and flag any concerns over safety or staff attitudes at these facilities. In the wake of the pandemic, the app was enhanced with new features, including a self-screening Covid-19 option for patients.
How we’ve streamlined service delivery
Manual processes in legacy infrastructure at the municipality level have caused administrative headaches for government staff tasked with water and electricity revenue collection. This was the case for the Buffalo City Metro Municipality. Vodacom Business’s Smart Electricity Metering solution vastly improved revenue collection within the area, supported bill verification from bulk suppliers such as Eskom, and supplied and installed 63 000 meters over a period of three years.
Another example of how government administration was streamlined for better service delivery is the Department of Health’s implementation of Vodacom’s Stock Visibility Solution. Subsequently, the government could monitor stock levels of critical vaccines across the 4 100 clinics using the solution across the country. Real-time access to stock-level information from medicine dispensaries allows low-stock clinics to be proactively replenished and out-of-stock facilities to receive priority attention, ensuring that citizens can access healthcare without delays.
How we’ve digitised education
Vodacom Business solutions have also been a critical driver of the government’s goal to digitise the education sector at every level, from administration to access and teaching. Redeveloping the Gauteng Education Department’s legacy school admissions system into a digitised eAdmission system has drastically sped up processing. Since then, the admissions system has received over 255 000 applications and processed over 1 000 applications per minute during peak times. Other solutions rolled out in the Eastern Cape to deliver ICT-enabled teaching and learning include the Vodacom Secure Device Manager, The Citizen Engagement app, and the easy-to-use web-based School Management System that captures data to give the education department real-time visibility at all their schools.
Through the contract, the Eastern Cape Department of Education also received laptops for all foundation-phase teachers, tablets for all school principals, and digital solutions that enabled the department to better manage the learning process throughout the province. In partnership with the Department of Basic Education, Vodacom also recently installed its Virtual Classroom Solution to deliver Wi-Fi over a secure cloud-based SD-WAN network at six rural schools across three provinces, providing students and educators with devices, and training educators to ensure learners benefit from the newly enabled connectivity.
The future is bright
“Throughout the many years that we have been partnering with the government, Vodacom has demonstrated the value and effectiveness of our IT solutions and smart technologies within several government departments,” notes Mzimba. “We managed to successfully address multiple challenges that were previously encountered. As such, our digital solutions have contributed to inclusive growth, while enhancing the quality of education and improving governance within South Africa. In doing so, we not only strengthened efficiency but delivered cost-efficiency, too.” DM
Author: William Mzimba, Chief Officer for Vodacom Business.