The Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE) will this week launch an online platform for tracking service delivery in Bulawayo, a development aimed at improved services in the city that prides itself as the best run in Zimbabwe.
Residents and ratepayers expect the best from the local authority even at a time when the country is experiencing an economic meltdown.
The platform titled FixMyCity can be accessed via http://fixmycity.co.zw/ . You can also use the Whatsapp number +263 (0)77 970 3682 to submit your report.
CITE director, Zenzele Ndebele, said the service delivery tracking platform would be operational by the weekend.
“We expect the application to be up and running by the end of the week,” he said.
“This is a service delivery application that helps residents to identify problems in the city and report them immediately so that they can be addressed. You will realise that Bulawayo is one city that many people pride themselves in for being clean, for being the city with order and the cleanest water.”
Ndebele said despite the challenges that Bulawayo has had the city has managed to provide water even during times of drought.
“We still have water compared to other cities,” he said.
“If you look at Harare, the problem is not water. They have water but they cannot manage the water. In Bulawayo, we do not have the water but we manage it. So, what we are saying is that most of the times because the infrastructure is now old a lot of water is being lost and sometimes it takes a long time before someone can actually notice that there is a pipe that has burst and make a report to the authorities so that they can come and fix it.”
CITE director said the platform would enable residents to help the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in maintaining the city’s infrastructure by immediately reporting faults and other anomalies.
“What we are going to do with this platform is that people are going to report on our platform and then we are going to immediately forward the reports to the City Council; their service centre and we then monitor to see whether the reported incident has been attended to,” he said.
“This can be about blocked sewer pipe, malfunctioning traffic and street lights. We also need to know how many broken lights we have in Bulawayo, how many blocked sewer pipes or how many leaks we have.”
Ndebele said in the long run that would help the City Council to plan and also react efficiently to reports.
“The platform benefits Bulawayo and its residents because the City Council will be able to know whenever there is a problem as fast as people report and in turn the people of Bulawayo are also going to be able to see these problems fixed in the shortest possible time,” said Ndebele.
“Our ideal situation is that when someone reports that there is a broken pipe the City Council will come and fix it before we lose a lot of water, which is water that we do not have. If people report that there is a street light that is not working, the City Council will come and fix the street light as fast as they can before someone is mugged.”
He said effective use of the platform could see residents coming up with community initiatives in which they partner with the local authority in fixing the city’s infrastructure.
“This is an approach that we are trying to use to get citizens to be involved in improving service delivery in their areas,” he said.
The platform would in a way complement BCC’s call centre.
“This actually complements what the call centre has,” Ndebele elaborated.
“What we are saying is that someone can use WhatsApp, someone can use online platforms that they have to report to us and we will forward to City Council at the Call Centre. So we are actually complementing what the City Council already has in trying to make sure that we improve service delivery. We are not reinventing the wheel; we are not competing with them but we are helping them to improve their service.”