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South Africans Use Community Monitoring Tool to Promote Gov't Accountability

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 15 2013

Screenshot of the Lungisa Facebook page

Citizens in South Africa have taken community monitoring into their own hands – and onto their social networks. Using a tool called Lungisa, they can report problems with water, sanitation, electricity, schooling and health care and the nonprofit that operates Lungisa, Cell-Life, reports the problem to the appropriate authorities. Even better? The issues are getting resolved.

Locals in the Cape Town region have filed more than 3,000 reports using Lungisa, which means "fix it" in isiXhosa. The channels for reporting are numerous: SMS, Twitter, Mxit, email and online. One citizens submit a complaint they can share their report on social media networks like Facebook, Mxit and Twitter to gain support from friends and followers for resolving the issue.

After receiving a report, Lungisa will file them via email, fax or Twitter to the relevant government officials.

In the interest of transparency, they list all of the complaints on their website.

One report, sent via SMS on August 12, follows up on a previous report:

My previous reported issue (PLT-19636) was intended more for the rubble dumping. People are dumping all sorted of things on the field.

Could you please request that the CCT put some sort of barrier around the field to avoid this issue from occurring in the future. [sic]

Another from earlier this month read:

i am staying in nyanga east,zwelitsha drive block we have problem of darkness at night becouse in our street the lights are not's more than five years now staying without street-lights in this village.and in top of that we can't go to shop after 8pm becouse we scared.When you work till late you have to ask your family to come fetch you at bus stop becouse you will be robed [sic]

Both problems are listed as in progress. Many older submissions are listed as “resolved.”

Lungisa is funded, via Cell-Life, by Freedom House Southern Africa and receives additional funding from the Indigo Trust.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.