SALGA joins forces with an NGO to find municipal digital solutions
Kutlwano Chaba, digital director at SALGA.
The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) has partnered with a nonprofit tech organization Empire Partner Foundation (EPF) in the search for digital solutions that can improve service delivery in municipalities.
The two entities, supported by Tshepo 1 Million – a Gauteng government youth empowerment initiative – wants developers to look for solutions that will speed up and streamline services at the local government level.
SALGA says it aims to provide people with the best solutions for their daily needs, and technology is the catalyst to make it happen.
“Technology is important for economic development. Most importantly, technology is the way to solve the country’s problems. The country faces various problems; there is desperation and technology can be used as a tool for intervention – a way to solve the problems facing the country, ”says Kutlwano Chaba, chief digital officer at SALGA.
Chaba believes that if digital solutions come from communities, it will help local authorities cope with high levels of unemployment.
“The largest population in our country are young people. We have a lot of technological innovators; young people studying technology; young people who are trying new solutions but who have no outlet or space to apply the solutions they have. Thus, by using hackathons and by associating ourselves with foundations like EPF, we thought, as SALGA, that it would be very important to work on a desire to provide solutions to young people to the problems posed by local governments. . This is how we can close this gap.
A recent unemployment report published by Statistics SA shows that there were 20.4 million young people between the ages of 15 and 34. These young people represented 63.3% of the total number of unemployed. The unemployment rate among this group was 43.2% in the first quarter of 2020.
Khutso Ntsewa, regional coordinator of Tshepo 1 Million, also believes that technology can be harnessed to tackle high levels of unemployment.
“Youth unemployment is a sad reality because every year a number of young people are unemployed. After finishing school, I think young people should have the initiative to do things; we can’t constantly rely on government to create jobs, ”he said.
The organizations hosted their first in-person and virtual hybrid hackathon event over the past weekend.
“The hackathon was a great success this weekend; we had a total of 44 participants divided into eight teams and we had three teams that participated in our virtual hackathon ”, explains Mikhial Mariemuthu, manager at EPF.
“We were focusing on Youth Month, and the topic of the hackathon was to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment and create digital solutions for local government procurement opportunities for young people. “
The foundation seeks to bring together developers with scalable ideas to create new solutions using technology that impacts social change and increases sustainability.
To date, EPF has worked with 237 young developers, organized seven hackathons and scheduled 12 for the coming months.
The organization has so far incubated four winning teams, which have designed solutions for water, SASSA grant payments, healthcare and education.