The idea behind this new app is to capture vehicle collision data by the driver, ultimately to be in future submitted online and prevent taking up the SA Police's time in recording each of these collisions (over 1 million pa) manually when people come in - see https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/technology/new-data-free-mobile-app-called-smashd-42141709
. No-one can argue the excellent idea that has been actioned, but the tragedy of it is we are seeing more and more separate apps that citizens would need to have installed. There was already a new SA Police app launched in 2019 and seeing SAPS captures this info one would expect that app to cater for this, or easily allow this app to integrate with it using the same framework standards.
The South African Government has an e-Services portal at https://www.eservices.gov.za
but it is an initiative that has been going on for over 10 years (policy was developed in 2001 with a 10-year implementation plan), including at least two revisions to the vision. The newer strategy and roadmap was Gazetted in 2017 at https://www.dtps.gov.za/images/phocagallery/Popular_Topic_Pictures/national_e-Gov_Strategy.pdf
with provisions for a "Mobi site" and mobile apps, and outlines on page 22 what some of the portal functionality must be, as well as establishing a national e-Government Steering Committee. The vision and policy hits all the perfect notes but one needs to ask then where is the published standard framework on that portal for citizens to develop apps that can be easily integrated into government services? The original vision for e-Services stated it was going to open source the framework (at a date long past) so that industry and citizens could develop solutions that could be integrated, freeing up the State IT Agency from having to develop each application themselves, and of course to speed up service delivery of app development too.
The e-Services portal does have some information about open data and API's at https://www.eservices.gov.za/tonkana/opendata/home.jsf
but there is not a single API or data set published there yet. These should have been published as the first applications went live a few years ago.
So for Smash'd there should have been a secure API for them to submit these reports directly. The world, especially the youth, are going mobile, and we need to ask how many mobile apps do we have for government services in South Africa? How many are owned and published by SA Gov versus by private initiatives. How many of them integrate with government data? Is our e-Services portal a single portal into all government services and mobile apps? Is the portal geared to advise young developers how to go about communicating with government for their app to integrate?
SA has some of the most progressive and best policies and legislation in the World (our Constitution, Minimum Interoperability Standards, Policy on Open Source) which are intended to speed up service delivery and facilitate innovative solutions from industry that can be used freely for government and citizens alike.
I logged a ticket on the e-Services portal (ticket #1250082)
to find out how this developer can make use of an API or data set to integrate with government. Interestingly Annex A of the Gazette above does not list submission of collision reports to SAPS as one of the identified e-services, but the portal is supposed to make allowance for anyone to submit new ideas for e-services.
I just hope that 4IR focus is not going to put e-services on the back burner. Personally I think governments should set standards and put enablers in place for innovative solutions to be produced by industry and citizens.
#digitalgovernmentNew data free mobile app called Smashâ€™d | IOL Business Report
Smashâ€™d allows users to collect and capture information at the accident scene and seamlessly completes the official Accident Report Form.