The Johannesburg Roads Agency’s innovative Find & Fix mobile app – which enables residents to report potholes, faulty traffic signals, leaking storm water drains, missing manhole covers and other infrastructural defects using their cell phones – has won three prestigious awards at the 2014 Microsoft Partner Network Awards.

The smartphone app – one of many initiatives aimed at transforming Johannesburg into a smart city – scooped the Microsoft Application of the Year Award, Managing Director’s Award and Public Sector Industry Award. The recognition came only four months after the app, the first of its kind in South Africa and Southern Hemisphere, was launched.

Coincidentally, the awards were bestowed on JRA at the start of this year’s Transport Month, during which the City highlights its achievements in improving the public transport system and showcase initiatives aimed at taking public transport in the city to a higher level.

As part of its journey to turn Johannesburg into a smart place, the City recently launched another ground-breaking app, POC, which is downloadable on smart and low end cell phones to provide residents with easy access to services using technology.

The Citizen Engagement Mobile Application, as it is sometimes called, makes it easy for residents to log faults, chat with agents, send feedback or receive messages targeted only for their suburb.

Reacting to the accolades, City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Councillor Christine Walters said this was a demonstration of the City’s commitment to delivering solutions that enhance residents’ experience on the city’s roads.

“I would like to congratulate the developers of the Find & Fix app for their innovation and their commitment to strengthening a culture of an engaged active citizenry,” Walters said.

Interaction via the app is a fraction of the cost of making a phone call or sending an SMS. Significantly, it is also far cheaper than travelling to a customer service centre.

Walters said the development of the app formed part of the JRA’s turnaround strategy and service delivery drive.

“The City is committed to becoming more accessible to citizens and road users and to developing itself into a centre of engineering excellence with enhanced service delivery and satisfied customers,” she stated.