South African civic engagement technology platform GovChat and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) have entered into a partnership to support the digitisation of the Covid-19 social relief grant application process.
Sassa’s partnership with GovChat enables millions of unemployed citizens to access electronically, including via mobile devices, what is considered to be the largest social security programme on the African continent.
The partnership is consistent with the digital agility objectives adopted by the South African government. The automation of processes, using the GovChat artificial intelligence tools, enhances Sassa’s productivity and enables it to respond to more applications more quickly.
GovChat’s platform – accessed through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS and USSD channels – provides a secure application portal for pre-qualifying citizens, and automates the filing, verification and applicant assessment.
The technology platform supports the seamless transfer and verification of data securely and in real-time in a way that integrates with Sassa’s existing internal approval and disbursement infrastructure.
GovChat founder and CEO Eldrid Jordaan says the core purpose of the platform is to “facilitate government−citizen engagement through efficient and user-friendly digital interfaces”.
GovChat was founded in 2016 and launched in 2018 as the official citizen engagement platform for the government. The platform also strengthens citizen-government engagement through a number of its natural language ChatBot features available to citizens via their mobile devices and messaging applications.
Government, in return, receives real-time, comparable and holistic data insights and service delivery performance metrics.
GovChat was introduced in partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the Independent Electoral Commission.