Data science project to address service delivery problems

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Data science students from around South Africa have developed a new dashboard that could provide a solution to the government’s service delivery challenges.

The dashboard aims to assist with identifying challenges and establishing an early warning system for issues such as service delivery complaints, budget appropriations and expenditure, 30-day payments and vacancy rates, among others.

The idea is to enable government - especially the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) which has been tasked with carrying out this analysis - to tackle issues before they escalate into larger problems that could trigger service delivery protests.

The students are part of the annual Data Science for Impact and Decision Enhancement (DSIDE) programme funded by the Department of Science and Technology.

“The programme aims to solve real-life problems using multiple technical disciplines, including computer science, analytics, mathematics, modelling and statistics,” the department said on Wednesday.

Today the 16 teams comprising of 65 students will gather in Pretoria to display their DSIDE projects, assisted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is implementing the programme.

The event will be the culmination of an intensive 12-week mentor-guided and learn-by-doing training programme.

Other projects this year include the Western Cape Water Allocation and Registration Project. This is part of a larger study to verify and validate the usage of water in the water-stressed Breede-Gouritz water catchment area in the province.

Another project involved the Presidential Hotline. The students are exploring a solution that will help match the cases reported via the hotline to the appropriate departments, thereby cutting down on the number of unresolved cases. -