[X]

New data science project could help stem South Africa's service delivery problems

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Media invite

Ongoing challenges in the delivery of basic services have prompted government to commission an intensive analysis of the performance of provincial government departments. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has been tasked with carrying out this analysis, as communities increasingly express frustration and impatience at the slow pace of service delivery.

Contact Person

Veronica Mohapeloa

083 400 5750

veronica.mohapeloa@dst.gov.za

Media invite

Ongoing challenges in the delivery of basic services have prompted government to commission an intensive analysis of the performance of provincial government departments. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has been tasked with carrying out this analysis, as communities increasingly express frustration and impatience at the slow pace of service delivery.

To assist the DPME, a group of data science students from around South Africa have developed a new dashboard that could provide a solution to the government’s service delivery challenges.

The dashboard aims to assist with identifying challenges and establishing an early warning system for issues such as service delivery complaints, budget appropriations and expenditure, 30-day payments and vacancy rates, among others.

The idea is to enable government to tackle issues before they escalate into a larger problems that could trigger service delivery protests.

The students are part of the annual Data Science for Impact and Decision Enhancement (DSIDE) programme funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The programme aims to solve real-life problems using multiple technical disciplines, including computer science, analytics, mathematics, modelling and statistics.

On Thursday, 31 January 2019, 16 teams comprising 65 students will gather in Pretoria to display their DSIDE projects, assisted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is implementing the programme. This will be the fourth time the DST is hosting the event, which will take the form of presentations and exhibitions.

The event will be the culmination of an intensive, 12-week, mentor-guided and learn-by-doing training programme.

Other projects this year include the Western Cape Water Allocation and Registration Project. This is part of a larger study to verify and validate the usage of water in the water-stressed Breede-Gouritz water catchment area in the province.

The project aims to determine whether customers in the area are using water lawfully or unlawfully and to classify them by location, economic sector and type (individuals or companies).

Information populated by customer and geographic information system (GIS) data was used to design a water management tool that will help water officials and managers to detect the unlawful use of water, monitor usage and plan for future demand.

Another project involved the Presidential Hotline. The students are exploring a solution that will help match the cases reported via the hotline to the appropriate departments, thereby cutting down on the number of unresolved cases.

Details of the event:
Date: Thursday, 31 January 2019
Venue: Department of Science and Technology
Building 53, CSIR (Scientia) Campus, South entrance off Meiring Naudé Road
Brummeria, Pretoria
Time: 09:00 – 14:00

Issued by: Department of Science and Technology

Enquiries:
Veronica Mohapeloa at Veronica.Mohapeloa@dst.gov.za or 083 400 5750
Thabang Setlhare at Thabang.Setlhare@dst.gov.za or 072 659 9690