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Four years after the Mobile Communication Services contract was established and awarded to Vodacom Business in 2016, National Treasury has chosen to retain the services of Vodacom, awarding the company with a new mobile communication services contract. This after government technology expenditure had been significantly reduced, using innovative digital solutions within several departments and municipalities through the first contract known as the RT15-16.
“Truly, we are excited to continue our partnership with government for another five years and we will deliver to accelerate its digitalisation programme through the new RT15-2021 transversal contract. Through the previous contract, we successfully delivered significant financial benefits in costs savings, expedited and streamlined procurement of services and ushered unprecedented digitalisation of government departments, agencies, State Owned Entities and municipalities, said Chief Officer for Vodacom Business, William Mzimba.
The RT15 served as a platform for Vodacom Business to support government and amplify their productivity while increasing efficiency. To achieve the expected results, Vodacom Business provided IT and business solutions and increased the number of mobile lines available to them.
Mzimba adds: “In particular, our partnership with government resulted in the improved delivery of education using digital technologies during COVID-19 lockdowns, enhanced citizen engagement and revenue assurance in municipalities through smart metering technologies and IoT (internet of things) solutions for smart asset management and fleet management. Our solutions demonstrated that mobile applications are core to the acceleration of Government to Citizen (G2C) digital service delivery. We are excited to once again have the opportunity to do more together with government”.
Enhancing communication between government and citizens
Digitisation does not only relate to things, but to processes and people. Digital services and platforms such as the Citizen Engagement Platform have proved to be powerful tools in the public sector’s quest to improve and manage service delivery. The platform is designed to automate, enrich and streamline interactions between citizens, government contact centres, field workers and senior officials.
To enable better communication between citizens and the South African Police Service (SAPS), Vodacom launched the MySAPS app. The app enables citizens to search for the nearest police station, submit a tip off and call the crime stop number. The introduction of the app highlights how technology can be used to support national police efforts and connect communities in a collective effort in the fight against crime. Since the launch of the app in 2019, the SAPS has received 6700 tip offs from community members.
In 2019 the Gauteng Department of Health was seeking a way to strengthen the patient-care experience within their facilities. Vodacom Business supported the department’s objective by creating the Mpilo app, a smart and interactive mobile communication platform which enabled users to report waiting times in facilities, safety issues, staff attitudes, and cleanliness of facilities.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mobile app was further enhanced when the department introduced a new feature to help increase public education and awareness on COVID-19, but more importantly provide a self-screening feature option for patients.
Within the Buffalo City Metro Municipality (BCMM), legacy infrastructure posed challenges for the municipality regarding water and electricity revenue collection. Manual processes of meter reading and incorrect tariffing were some of the many challenges for a municipality of that size. Vodacom Business’s Smart Electricity Metering solution vastly improved revenue collection within the area, supported bill verification from bulk suppliers such as Eskom and supplied and installed 63 000 meters over a period of three years.
Vodacom Business further helped primary healthcare clinics to eliminate medical stock shortages through medicine monitoring measures. By implementing a Stock Visibility Solution (SVS), the Department of Health (DoH) was able to monitor critical supply chains and compare centrally purchased volumes of medicine that are available on the shelves of dispensaries.
The DoH was also able to monitor stock levels of critical vaccines across the 4 100 clinics across the country. Real-time access to stock level information from medicine dispensaries allows low-stock clinics to be pro-actively replenished and out-of-stock facilities to receive priority attention, ensuring that citizens can access the healthcare they require without delays.
Implementing technology within education
The Gauteng Education Department was using a legacy school admissions system that was plagued with technical issues, resulting in slow admission processing. For the admissions system to operate efficiently and handle the volume of applications, Vodacom needed to upgrade the system and install functionalities that aligned to the legal prescripts.
Six weeks after the project began, Vodacom Business managed to redevelop the eAdmission system to include the latest technologies and provide the best user experience. The system was hosted on Microsoft Azure within the Vodacom Datacenter. Since then, the admissions system has received over 255 000 applications and processed over 1 000 applications per minute during peak times.
Within the Eastern Cape, Vodacom Business aimed to deliver ICT-enabled teaching and learning. Through the contract, the Eastern Cape Department of Education received laptops for all foundation phase teachers, tablets for all school principals and digital solutions which enabled the department to better manage the learning process throughout the province.
The solutions Vodacom Business provided included the School Management System, Vodacom Secure Device Manager and The Citizen Engagement application. Vodacom’s comprehensive and easy-to-use web-based School Management solution captures the daily data requirements that the education department needs for visibility at all their schools.
“Throughout the duration of the RT15 contract, we have demonstrated the value and effectiveness of smart technologies within several different government departments, SOEs and government agencies. We partnered successfully to address multiple challenges government had previously encountered. These digital solutions contributed to inclusive growth, enhanced education and good governance within South Africa, by not only improving efficiency, but also doing it in the most cost-effective way. We would like to thank all those that participated in RT15 over the past four years and look forward to your continued confidence in Vodacom to partner with you again for the next coming five years. Our gratitude goes to the National Treasury team that partnered with Vodacom to deliver on the objectives of the RT15 contract. We’re ready to go even further together in the next five years”, adds Mzimba.