CitySpec: A Mobile Inspection Tool Improving Service Delivery

Access to Water is a Basic Human Right

“Human rights, like human beings, can’t be fragmented. All rights impact on each other. The lack of water and sanitation impacts negatively on health, housing, food, education, safety and security and human dignity. Water is life. Sanitation is dignity.”

South African Human Rights Commission


More than 10% of South Africans still do not have access to running water or sanitation. One in three South Africans are not provided with basic sanitation and 26% live with sub-standard services. With the CitySpec App, VPUU advocates for evidence-based urban upgrading strategies as well as local community engagement.

CitySpec is a mobile inspection tool improving the delivery of essential services. It also has upskilling and community participation components whereby local community members are trained to use this tool. The App is flexible to monitor a wide range of services such as taps, toilets or street lights. Furthermore, the app is customisable with specific fault report codes for different fault issues.

CitySpec CitySpec worker inspecting a tap in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, May 2019.

Replacing Paper with Digital

By replacing the paper-based system with this mobile technology, we open up a range of new possibilities. CitySpec allows us to gather higher quality and more accurate data as well as different varieties of data. Moreover, trained community workers can attach photos of faults to their reports as well as capture the exact GPS coordinates of faulty services. These fault reports are uploaded to an online database and subsequently sent to the City of Cape Town for monitoring and repairs.

CitySpec CitySpec worker inspecting broken toilet in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, May 2019.

CitySpec Workers 2019 CitySpec workers inspecting street light in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, May 2019.

Can you imagine a world without technology?

We are using it to make our voices heard. We use information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) to learn, educate, communicate, exchange knowledge, collect, store and explain information. CitySpec is an ICT tool that puts the power of knowledge into the hand of communities for practical conversations that lead to improved public services.

CitySpec Workers and MP CRO 2019 Our latest CitySpec Team (from left): Vonela, Anelisa, Zola, and Palama, photographed together with our Community Register Officers, Ntombenkosi and Lutho in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, May 2019.

How do communities report a broken toilet? Where has the App already been trialed and tested? How can I get involved? Download the flyer for more info here or contact us on Facebook @VPUUSA, email or call +27 21 447 0086. 

Cityspec Flyer

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