By STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU City Council has launched a digital platform called G-City accessible through smartphones in an effort to improve engagement with residents and improve service delivery during the COVID-19 era.
The mobile platform was established by the Gweru Residents Forum (GRF) in conjunction with council.
GRF director Charles Mazorodze told Southern Eye that they got funding from the German Development Co-operation (GIZ) for the creation of the mobile application, which allows for engagement with council on numerous services, including enquiries on bills, payments made, and reporting errant council employees.
“One can actually make a report on issues of misconduct of council employees, and do a follow up on that report since the application has a tracking system which tracks all faults or acts of misconduct,” Mazorodze said.
“Residents can even book a venue, apply to be on the council housing waiting list using the application, and check the status of that application online. In short, the platform gives stakeholders easy and quick access to council services.”
Council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee said the innovation was a milestone for the city as the municipality endeavoured to minimise physical interaction between residents and council staff in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The G-City application enables residents to get real time information on service delivery,” Chingwaramusee said.
“Residents (also) have an option to enquire on billing information, be whistleblowers, talk to their councillors and get daily updates as they report on faults.”
Chingwaramusee added: “For the City of Gweru, this application helps us to go digital as we try to minimise face-to-face interaction due to COVID-19. Residents will access notices of meetings, view statements, pay bills online and check on water and refuse collection schedules using the platform among other service delivery issues.”
Residents welcomed the innovation, but bemoaned the cost of data to download the application as well as the costs to be incurred for using it.
“Honestly, data is very expensive and beyond the reach of many. This will heavily impact on the use of the otherwise noble mobile application,” James Chiseko, a mechanic from Ascot suburb, said.
Another resident Constance Mariko said: “Not everyone is techno-savvy, and we are likely to see the old school continuing to flock to council halls,” she said.