Cape Town is testing a new identification system for townships – what you need to know

The City of Cape Town has announced a new pilot program in which urban communities will be marked and numbered with a unique QR code and colored markers to improve data collection and planning.

In the first phase of the project, 1,000 buildings in the Mfuleni area were marked and numbered with a unique rapid response (QR) code and city-specific paint in just five hours. Field maps were created to indicate the corresponding number of each structure.

In the next step, departmental staff will return to the numbered structures to obtain consent and proceed with the electronic collection of survey questions. While this is going on, survey data will be displayed in real time on the dashboard with immediate access to individual information.

“To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first metro project of its kind in South Africa,” said Malusi Bui, a member of the Mayor’s Committee on Human Settlements.

“The expected outcome of this pilot project will be direct interaction between the city and informal settlement residents, providing up-to-date data for planning and budgeting.

Most importantly, each building owner will be issued a Certificate of Residence linked to their respective Identity Document (ID), Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, electricity meter number, name, address and QR code. It is important to note that this entire process complies with the Personal Information Protection Act (POPIA).”

Bui said the project will greatly improve his socio-economic research.

“We are adapting to and using new technologies in even the most vulnerable communities to continue providing the best possible service to our residents. The goodwill and cooperation of the residents is evident and appreciated.”


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