The “suggestion tweets” for South African president Jacob Zuma’s recent State on the Nation address seem to have been well received by the presidency. The South African government is set to spend US$3-million to fix potholes after complaints to the president made on social networks. This undertaking will create 70 000 jobs for the country’s unemployed.
Zuma urged South Africans to use Twitter and Facebook to suggest what his annual state-of-the-nation speech last week should focus on.
Two major issues resonated in the tweets — plugging potholes and the country’s rising unemployment status.
South Africans worked hard on Twitter to get their views across to the presidency. The State of the Nation address hashtag SONA2011 trended around the world.
Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele said a pothole hotline would be launched for road users to report problems. This pothole hotline is not the first at solving the issue of potholes in the country. There is budding social media platform that was created by South Africans to gather information such as this and get the government fix them.
Mobilitate is a platform that allows an individual to coordinate a response using various social media tools to make a real difference and mobilise their online followers and friends. The Pretoria-based project focuses on service delivery and encourages individuals to report such issues.
In the United States San Francisco was the first city to encourage its citizens to post information relating to public works on Twitter in 2009. Citizens can send tweets to the SF311 Twitter account and get progress reports on public works .
Social networking and other online tools to give customers better, faster, and more satisfactory results from governments and corporations.
South Africa’s social media landscape seems to be expanding rapidly, and now it has reached all the way to the eyes of the president.