OR Tambo district executive mayor Nomakhosazana Meth.
Umtata - The OR Tambo District Municipality in Umtata in the Eastern Cape has become the first in the country to implement a new system by Vodacom to improve the reporting of service delivery issues.
A new platform, Thetha Nathi - meaning "Talk to us" - was launched by the municipality and the mobile network provider on Thursday.
The solution provides the municipality with an omni-channel system through which citizens can access services and engage the municipality.
For the first phase of deployment, the municipality has prioritised the management of water and sanitation.
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Through the solution, residents will be able to engage the municipality through multiple channels such as voice, a mobile app, USSD and email, through the use of their cellular phones.
The District Municipality will use the same platform to respond to any queries logged by residents to dispatch water management technicians.
OR Tambo district executive mayor Nomakhosazana Meth said that the municipality wanted to take a 'radical' approach to service delivery this year, to coincide with its 10-year partnership with Vodacom and the centenary of the birth of struggle stalwart Oliver Tambo, after which the municipality was named.
"If there is an issue within the municipality, residents can now easily report it. There is no space for half-done jobs," Meth said.
"If a pipe is burst and the issue is not resolved, residents now have a way of escalating the issue," she added.
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Meth said the municipality's previous call centre could not cater sufficiently for all calls related to service delivery issues experienced by residents.
Vodacom further equipped the municipality with internet connectivity at the revamped call centre.
In addition to the service, Vodacom also announced the launch of a new a app, Link - a general community app that allows communities to report service delivery issues such as blocked drains, burst pipes, electricity outages, missing manhole covers and refuse issues.
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Vodacom Business chief officer Vuyani Jarana said the company is trying to use mobile technology to bring about administrative efficiency and enhance communication between government and citizens, in an effort to support service delivery.
"We are essentially bringing government to the people and providing an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in the process," Jarana said.
"As a corporate citizen, Vodacom is responsible for helping government deliver services as efficiently as possible and we are excited to see the positive change which the Thetha Nathi and Link solutions will bring to communities across the country,” he added.
How to access Thetha Nathi
The Thetha Nathi platform is available for use on feature and
smartphones, through a USSD service on *134*606# or by downloading the
app from the iOS App store or from Google Play store, which accommodates
various languages including English and Xhosa.