The Power behind MobiSAM is YOU!

By Leroy Maisiri, Communications and Citizen Engagement Officer

When asked to write this week’s blog, I got my massive pile of notes out, that had meticulously tracked the numerous conversations around the water levels and the pending water crisis in Grahamstown. But I bumped into Ingrid in the passage at our offices who told me that we were well over 200 tickets reported via the MobiSAM system, granted the MobiSAM launch was only in March and we are already have over 700 registered citizens in 3 months and growing, I couldn’t help but get excited and change the topic of my Blog.

In a recent two day workshop held at BB Zondani Hall in Fingo village, I met Nomzamo Kiza and Noludwe Qina. It was during a quick five minute break that they asked me what the most important thing about MobiSAM was. With only five minutes to express this, I could not touch on the progress MobiSAM 2.0 had made or the overwhelming and exciting details about MobiSAM 3.0.  I couldn’t talk about MobiSAM in high schools or the increasing growth of MobiSAM both in Grahamstown West and East and so the best way to answer their question under such time constraints was: “YOU”, “you are the best thing about MobiSAM”, they both looked at me a little confused and I fortunately turned our five minutes outside to fifteen minutes.

MobiSAM is a tool, a very effective tool. You register for free which enables you to log your current service delivery issue/s. As soon as it’s done the system generates a ticket number for you. That ticket number becomes the citizens ammunition and evidence. The system is designed to avoid miscommunication, to avoid common human error like missed complaints because they were written on a piece of paper, information not passed to the next person due to change of shifts and so your ticket number stands as evidence and the basis of your claim for service delivery.

We are slowly starting to see citizens in Grahamstown grow into this realization and this is quite exciting:

Now citizen participation is citizen capacity; capacity to act, capacity to change things. It is argued that, while some participatory framework exists as a result of decentralizing some powers and functions to local government, the much more important structures are those built by ordinary citizens, be it belonging to a civil society group or simply being an active citizen.

Citizen participation in local governance involves ordinary citizens assessing their own needs, finding their voice and acting on it. It is important for improving public resource management and reducing corruption, by making public servants and political leaders in general accountable to the people. Something Makana desperately needs.

For citizen participation to work, transparency of government information is needed, as well as the inclusion of residents in decision-making from groups whose concerns are being addressed and at a basic level open clear lines of communication.

Over the past few weeks MobiSAM has slowly been integrating with the various communities that call Makana Municipality home, but also with local government. I came to the conclusion that the power, the real power behind MobiSAM is ‘you’, the ordinary citizen, who has taken the time to assess their own wants and needs found their voice and is now using it.

Every issue that is submitted to generates a ticket number, that ticket number as shown in the screen shots should be used to call up our local government as a reference point, for follow ups, for needed communication. MobiSAM is just a tool, an effective tool but it has to be used, used by you.

The power behind MobiSAM is you.

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