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Student app to tackle corruption in South Africa

Student app to tackle corruption in South Africa

Four Honours students at the University of Johannesburg's Academy of Computer Science and Software Engineering (ACSSE), from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, have developed an app to help combat corruption in South Africa.

The Kriterion app, developed by Rito Vukela, Chukwudi Obodoekwe, Kennedy Sigauke and Vuyane Ngwenya, secured first place in the 'World Citizenship' category at the global competition.

Team leader Obodoekwe, from Anambra State in Nigeria, says the original idea behind the innovation came from his uncle and it was the desire to address a shared problem that helped give rise to the solution. "We believe the diversity of the our team played a major role in the success of the project. We are four students from three different African countries but we found out that we faced the same problem in terms of tender corruption."

How it works

The application integrates tender management processes into one system. It covers the entire spectrum of tender applications, evaluation and bid management based on complex criteria in algorithms published by the South African government. This includes the awarding of tenders and post-project or post-milestone delivery ratings.

The team also built in a 'reality-check' feature which subject matter experts can use to submit estimates of what a realistic bid for a tender should amount to.

In this way, estimates can be accurately assessed and any irregularities immediately identified.

According to the University of Johannesburg "Kriterion project added a layer of 'triple-blind' functionality: the bidders on tenders, the industry experts and the government officials are all completely anonymous to each other on the system, to reduce influencing of the tender award process."

The team used Microsoft Visual C# for the backend, Microsoft SQL for the database communication, Angular JS and HTML for the front end and SignalR for the real-time updates of a chat forum for each tender project. The mobile application was developed on the Android platform.

Obodoekwe says the team wanted to do something different and make a small impact in society. "People talk about making changes, or just criticise the government, but you need to ask what role you play in making the country better. We believe that a change can start from individuals. That's why we identified the need to address problems with tenders and procurement systems. If this is implemented we believe it can go a long way to curb tender corruption,"

Frans Blauw, a lecturer at ACSSE and coordinator of student teams for the challenge, confirmed that Team Kriterion will compete in the MEA regional semi-final in May for a chance to participate at the World Finals in Washington this July.

"We are very proud of all that our students have achieved by winning the final round of the Microsoft Imagine Cup South Africa. With 75 teams entered from all over the country, it is no mean feat."

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