ONE OF the better entrepreneurial ventures of 2010 was the launch of the Mobilitate platform which allows you to report service delivery problems such as pot holes, uncollected garbage and robots that aren't working.
Complaints are prioritised and hopefully pushed to council members who can act on them.
The payoff line is "You're not alone anymore" and while it's early days it does appear to be working. As of Wednesday morning it has 3 751 members, 1 197 reported issues and 225 issues which they have fixed. No great shakes but definitely a start.
This got me thinking. South Africans spend millions each year voting for their favourite pop star or the kid with a dancing third nipple on a talent show, why can't the same technology be used for real issues which affect them daily?
Why can't I vote on an issue I feel strongly about?
For instance I think that Dan "Schumacher" Kgothulethe, the speeding Free State MEC for Arts & Culture should be treated the same as an ordinary citizen who breaks the speed limit.
His colleagues in government have said that speeding kills and there will be zero tolerance for it, so why isn't there a follow through in terms of the punishment?
Hear me out.
If there are some entrepreneurs within the SABC they should picture the scene: Kgothulethe is shuffled on to a stage for an hour. Proverb
and Colin Moss
stroll on to the stage amidst some fancy pyrotechnics and they start going over his career.
There would be the voice overs giving us his thoughts on his career, what it was like to be an MEC, how sorry he felt for endangering the public and why he should be treated differently to ordinary South Africans.
Maybe Proverb could do a bit of a walk through the MEC's house while conducting an impromptu "lifestyle audit". Then the camera will cut away to Colin in a Free State township discussing the improvements the MEC has brought to the community.
Obviously the SABC needs to make money out of this, so perhaps they could have a sponsored slot where Gugu Zulu takes the minister's car around a race track and they punt its superior handling at high speeds and relative comfort.
The clip can fade out with the MEC holding hands with a few white tannies and the Parlotones crooning away in the background with their song "colourful".
Then voting would open to the general public who could suggest punishments by SMS and at the end of an hour the lights would be dimmed and an auditor would hand over the envelope with the sanction.
"The General" loves his PR so he could stand on the side of the stage ready to swoop in and pose with the prisoner if that's what the public voted for.
This could be a hit ... heck I might not even need to pay my TV license if this thing takes off and there are plenty of opportunities to make it sustainable.Winnie Mandela
versus traffic officer Jannie Odendaal, trade unions versus Standard Bank CEO Jacko Maree
, the Sheriff versus Julius Malema
- we could be onto something here.
The suggestions are tongue in cheek but the point is that drastic action needs to be taken in South Africa and its time to let those who are making a positive contribution have more say on the growth agenda.
It is acknowledged by businesses and policy makers that our growth and job creation strategies are flawed by our insistence on creating a regulatory environment which is protecting the lowest common denominator.
In contrast Mobilitate is great because it uses technology to empower me as a taxpayer.
It is asking: "where is the problem and where do I direct the resources?".
It makes me feel like action is being taken to reward me for being a positive contributor to South Africa and this is something that ordinary taxpayers, entrepreneurs and small business owners feel very often.
People are tired of pushing against a system which does not provide incentives or reward them.
Just like the MEC is not going to see too much of the Free State's arts and culture when he is hurtling by at 235km/h, the government is not going to reach its jobs targets while it is busy cutting off its innovators at their knees.
Put the power back in the hands of the innovators and you'll look good in the eyes of your voting electorate.