The Open Government Partnership South Africa (OGP SA), Open Data Institute (ODI) and a number of local partners are running an open data challenge on the theme of Responsive Cities. The specific challenge questions for each city are described in the tabs below and you can ENTER your proposal by 28 October 2016.

The aim of the Responsive Cities challenge is to encourage developers, designers, researchers and entrepreneurs to use available open data from various cities across South Africa to develop applications, stories and visualisations that can help residents work better with local government.

Between September and November 2016, participants will have a chance to work with city representatives, technical mentors, other teams and ODI specialists to build out their value proposition and workable prototypes. Winners will receive cash awards, incubation and/or seed funding up to R300,000 to develop their solutions further.

To the Winners

National winners


Regional Winners:


How can we use open data to reduce cable theft in Tshwane?

1st Visibiliti

2nd Siyza Tsoti



How can eThekwini Municipality use open data to better connect government to citizens?

1st JIMA Run

2nd Solar Go

3rd Book & Design Fair


How can we use open data to improve water management in Northern Cape cities and towns?

1st AguaContada

2nd Moringa Barkly

3rd Nyakallo Motsoari


How can we use open data to assist residents that are at risk?

1st APEX

2nd My City

3rd iTechHubSAE


Winners of the Responsive Cities Challenge will be eligible for awards as follows:

Overall Winner: One overall winner will be selected from participating cities and receives a R50,000 cash award sponsored by ODI for further development of their open data innovation.

City Winners: Three winners will be selected from each city and receive cash awards sponsored by ODI and local partners.

  • First place: R10,000
  • Second place: R4,000
  • Third place: R1,000

In addition, city winners and finalists will be awarded top-up awards by local partners depending on solution potential and available budgets. For Gauteng-based participants, up to R300,000 in seed funding will be provided by The Innovation Hub to support piloting of projects selected for implementation by a city partner.


Social Impact

Projects will be judged on the extent to which they can demonstrate how they would have a concrete social impact in relation to the challenge problem. Projects will need to:

  • Be able to give an account of the likely impact on the specific city questions (or another need/ opportunity identified in the city); and
  • Ideally gather data openly to demonstrate the analysis, story or application making an impact

Market & Sustainability

Projects will be judged on how well they have tailored their product or service to a potential market and how well they have understood the opportunities in this market (whether consumer market or government as the target customer).

The extent to which teams can show the potential and/or specific opportunity for growth and the development of a sustainable business model will also be considered. Whether the solutions are easy to understand and affordable for consumers will also be taken into consideration.

Use of Open Data

Projects will be judged on their use of open data, in particular:

  • the extent to which it is incorporated into their product / service; and
  • how effectively it is used in the service and whether this is an innovative use of open data
  • the extent to which new open data sources are generated as a (by)product of their project

You must also include at least one source of city, provincial or national government open data in your submission.


Projects will be judged on whether they offer something novel in terms of application of data to a new challenge or unmet need within the host city. We are looking for completely new products, technologies, or services or improvements to existing solutions, combining or implementing these in new ways.


If you’re interested in city open data and considering participating in the Responsive Cities challenge these local and international examples may inspire you:


Cities across the world are opening up public data and getting entrepreneurs and researchers to help solve social and economic challenges. This helps cities be more responsive to change and increasing demand for services. The inaugural Responsive Cities Challenge is implemented by a network of South African and international partners.

Partners include OGP SA, Open Data Institute, Open Data for Development, Code for South Africa, The Innovation Hub, Open Data Durban, Geekulcha, Centre for Public Sector Innovation, Codebridge Connect and Department of Public Service and Administration. Select from the list of key partners to learn more about them!

Open Government Partnership South Africa

South Africa was one of the founding members of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) when it was formally launched in 20 September 2011, and has made a number of commitments that seek to build on existing government and citizen-led initiatives related to open government in the country. From the South African perspective, OGP commitments must be aligned to the five year national priorities which are, in turn, linked to the targets identified in the NDP and which are derived from the assessment of South Africa’s achievement of the national vision as stipulated in the Constitution. That is the achievement of a non-racial, non sexist, united, democratic South Africa.

Open Data Institute and Open Data for Development

The Open Data Institute (ODI) was co-founded in 2012 by the inventor of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee and AI expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt to address today’s global challenges using the web of data. We bring together commercial and non-commercial organisations and governments around specific sectors to address today’s global challenges. Driven by needs, and focused on timely challenges, we help people identify and address how the web of data will impact their businesses and their sectors. Together, we will build a strong data infrastructure that delivers open innovation at web-scale.

ODI’s involvement in the Responsive Cities Challenge is enabled by Open Data for Development (OD4D), a program which brings together a network of leading implementing partners who have a wealth of experience in developing countries. Together, they are harnessing open data initiatives to enhance transparency and accountability, and to facilitate public service delivery and citizen participation. The goal of the OD4D program is to scale innovations that are working, and to strengthen coordination among other open data initiatives to ensure they benefit people in developing countries.

Code for South Africa

We love data. We live it, eat it, drink it and dream about it. We believe that data (especially government data) should be open. Not just for personal use. Data should be shareable, mash-able, available for commercial use. Our goal is to promote the release of data under an open data licence to make it available to everyone who wants it.

The Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub is sub-Saharan Africa's first internationally accredited and leading science and technology park. Established by the Gauteng Provincial Government in 2001, The Innovation Hub has created initiatives that support innovation; enterprise development and development for over 14 years. The targeted sectors are in ICT and advanced manufacturing, green economy and biosciences in order to contribute towards the growth of the economy, creation of decent jobs and poverty reduction in Gauteng. Strategically located in Tshwane, South Africa's executive capital and 'smart' province, The Innovation Hub has become a regional centre of innovation and knowledge creation, linked to the fast moving world of global interconnectivity.

Open Data Durban

Open Data Durban is a civic technology lab that implements and advocates for open data, open government, and civic technology through projects, events, workshops, and dataquests (hackathons for everyone, especially non‐techies). We work with civic society, the media, government and interested and engaged citizens to democratise knowledge and enable informed decision making and evidence‐based planning in all sectors of society.


Geekulcha is where the young, skilled, creative and ambitious tech minds meet to connect with each other, share knowledge, collaborate on projects, network with industry leaders, obtain training to further improve and enhance their skills and to put that newly acquired skill to work. Established 15 March 2013, our focus is on empowering young geeks through ICT skills development and training while giving them a taste of what awaits them in the big world through industry exposure.

Centre for Public Service and Administration

The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) was established in 2001 by the Minister for Public Service and Administration. In 2008 it was re-launched as the first Government Component to be established in terms of the Public Service act as amended in 2007. The CPSI is mandated to develop innovative, sustainable and responsive models for improved service delivery. The work of the CPSI is guided by an understanding of innovation in a public sector context as “the creation and implementation of new and service delivery solutions (systems, processes, methods, models, products and services) resulting in significant improvements in outcomes, efficiency, effectiveness and quality”.

Department of Public Service and Administration

The South African Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) draws its mandate from Section 195(1) of the Constitution which sets out basic values and principles that the public service should adhere to, and the Public Service Act (PSA) of 1994, as amended. In terms of the PSA, the DPSA is responsible for establishing norms and standards relating to:

  • The functions of the public service
  • Organisational structures and establishments of departments and other organisational and governance arrangements in the public service
  • Labour relations, conditions of service and other employment practices for employees
  • The Health and wellness of employees; Information management
  • Electronic government in the public service
  • Integrity, ethics, conduct and anti-corruption
  • Transformation, reform, innovation and any other matter to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the public service and its service delivery to the public