The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) has launched a new app that will help facilitate communication between residents and ward councillors.

By now you should know who your ward councillor is (if you don’t, you can look them up). As these are people we’re to take up any service-related issues with, it’s important that they’re readily available to hear us out and answer any questions we have.

GovChat was created exactly for this. The app was officially unveiled yesterday at SALGA’s its councillor induction programme yesterday.

“Through daily usage of this platform, local government service will improve for the better as councillors will be at the front line of providing instant and credible information to the people they serve. It aims to break barriers of communication and supports civic engagement,” the Department of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said in a statement.

“GovChat allows citizens to engage councillors on issues including housing, access to water and electricity, safety and job creation initiatives in their areas,” GCIS Acting Director General, Donald Liphoko, said yesterday.

Although the app is currently only available as a web app, you can send images, photos, videos, public and private messages in real time.

You can sign up by visiting the GovChat site, entering your name and surname, email address, neighbourhood and create a password.

GCIS said it will be supporting the integration of GovChat into other government service programmes in support of government’s “Back to Basics” approach that ensures communities receive quality services.

GovChat will be available for Android and iOS mobiles in the near future.