Zinzi Villo, Maria de Wet and Thembela Daphula are three students, from three different universities, who are taking the fourth industrial revolution by the horns and applying it to where it matters. Between them, they have developed a computer programme – a dashboard – that can assist the government in ensuring efficient and effective service delivery. A dashboard is an information management tool that visualises, analyses and displays data, and in this case, it collects data that can monitor service delivery projects and identify delays. This will not only enable the government to improve service delivery, but intervene in time to avert community protests due to non-delivery. Three women with three different disciplines – information systems, chemical engineering and data science – came together to make this happen.
Villo (33), is a second-year Masters of Commerce in Information Systems at University of Cape Town student, Dapula (22) is a BSc honours student in data science at Sol Plaatje University and intern at Accenture South Africa based in Kimberley and Maria de Wet (32) is fourth-year chemical engineering student at the Pretoria University of Technology. The three are part of a group that was recruited by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Department of Science and Technology to create technological systems that use the date to help the government improve their decision making.
Their system was developed during an intensive training programme that aims to solve real-life problems using multiple technical disciplines. The three students used data from Stats SA, the Presidential Hotline, SAPS, the SA Social Security Agency and the Department of Health, while the CSIR provided them with software and hardware. After a two month development period at the CSIR, their dashboard became a reality. “We used Python programming language for coding needed to get the project going. What our dashboard does is visualise government departments’ performance, and gives one an idea of how each department is performing. It also shows how people are feeling about the service provided in different provinces, as well as the budget allocated for each department,” explains Villo. The idea is to ensure that each and every municipality can stay on top of their weaknesses by providing the area with the resource that is lacking, whether it is staff, electricity or water. The dashboard has been given over to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), though it is not clear whether they are putting it to use.