Company’s website and app are empty shells

Environet can also be reached via USSD on *120*7737#, but attempts from multiple networks generated errors, indicating that it does not exist. (Paul Botes/M&G)

Environet can also be reached via USSD on *120*7737#, but attempts from multiple networks generated errors, indicating that it does not exist. (Paul Botes/M&G)

To the average customer visiting the Enviro Mobi website, it is unclear what its primary focus is. Click on the “About” icon to read the company’s official introduction, and you’re bound to remain bewildered about what the company actually does: “ENVIROMOBI is an innovative environmental information and service delivery management platform designed to enhance and improve service delivery through rapid response infrastructure,” reads the first sentence.

“Our various services together provide an integrated and robust framework or model of managing information and service delivery, as well as generating jobs.”

And so on and so forth. The badly designed homepage makes up the entire website, with hyperlinks from the top menu taking you further down the page for each subsection. A photo gallery appears from an event that took place in the Free State in 2015, according to the time stamps visible on each photo.

The “About” section also directs you to a short video, which gives a slightly better understanding of what Enviro Mobi does. The idea is to assist people to dispose of their waste in a way that is environmentally responsible, creates jobs, builds industrial hubs and helps government achieve its National Development Plan.

The video explains how a rapid-response agent visits houses to gather information for its “mass direct” questionnaire and, once the information is loaded on to the system, the customer will receive confirmation of this. They will also receive information about how to download the Environet app, which, according to the video, will allow users to request help with topics such as waste, energy, water and recycling.

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An example of a customer who needs their bins collected is described as follows: Log on to the system and send a query from the app directly to a call centre (it is unclear how the query reaches a call centre without a call being placed). The query is sent to the relevant service centre and, “moments later”, a garbage collection vehicle will be dispatched to the household.

Then, in conjunction with a local municipality, the waste is sent to an industrial hub. The customer will then confirm via the app that the matter has been resolved.

The app seems to be at the heart of it all. But there is no mention of it elsewhere on the site. Customers aren’t even directed on how to download it from an app store.

A search on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store yielded no results for “Environet”, which I typed in various forms, including using a hyphen or a space. Same thing with a Google search: it did not bring up relevant results for the Environet app, even in cached form, should it have existed previously or been pulled from the store.

For customers who do not watch the video but wish to send a query, a contact form appears at the bottom of the website. Attempts to send a query using the form on different browsers proved fruitless. It appears the “send message” button is not functioning.

Environet can also be reached via USSD on *120*7737#, but attempts from multiple networks generated errors, indicating that it does not exist.

An attempt was then made to phone the company on the number listed on the site. A woman answered, saying she first needed to see to a customer and would call back. There was no call-back.

SovTech, the company behind the Mvest app (which M&G reported on back in May), appears to be behind the Environet app, as seen at the 0:36 mark of the video, which states: “Application by SovTech.”

Chief technology officer Jamie Chennells said SovTech developed the app in 2015. It “was specifically built as an android application with a web portal back end. The app was built and licensed as a suite of apps under Software as a Service. This was specially designed as per the client’s requests and specifications.”

He said the app was live for a few months, but the client then wanted the project to be reconfigured and the app suite to change. “This was not possible as the software was developed for a specific purpose. The client then stopped paying us, so we stopped licensing the app and took it down, which is why you can’t find it.”

Chennells said SovTech was not involved in the development of the website, “nor did we authorise the use of our brand name on the site in that video”.

​Nafisa Akabor

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