Hackers invited by Gauteng’s e-government to help improve services

The Artificial Intelligence Social Good Virtual Hackathon, also known as GovHack, calls on all computer whizzes to hack the government — to help them deliver better services. 

The hackathon, which will take place over two days this week, is a joint initiative between the Gauteng department of e-government and Microsoft.

“GovHack is an intensive competition of brainstorming, computer programming, engineering and innovative thinking that draws together the talent and creativity of people from different disciplines,” said the MEC for finance and e-government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko. 

She said the objective of the hackathon “is to facilitate the creation of innovative prototypes that will assist the government [to] deliver smart services”. 

In October 2019 the City of Johannesburg was hit by hackers, which forced the city to shut down its website and all e-services. A year later, Nkomo-Ralehoko was a victim when unauthorised access was gained to her personal email and social media accounts.

“We know that there are a lot of exciting innovators out there who can help [the] government come up with great ideas to help us deliver our services better. Therefore, we are giving them a chance in a highly innovative platform to show us,” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.

The e-government department was established in 2015 and is a mechanism to modernise public services by creating a network infrastructure that connects government facilities, including schools, hospitals, offices and economic zones.GovHack will take place online, on Microsoft Teams using the Azure Cloud facility on Wednesday and Thursday, 10 and 11 February.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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