New app hopes to identify where and when racist incidents happen
Incidents of racism can now be reported with a few clicks via cellphone‚ using a new app launched by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation on Thursday.
The Zimele Race Report app is being tested in a pilot phase to identify trends reflecting where and when racist incidents occur across the country.
Launched to coincide with Anti-Racism Week from March 14 to 21‚ it was developed in collaboration between the foundation and the Innovation Hub. Foundation spokesperson Zaakirah Vadi said the app was free but only available for Android devices.
"The idea behind the app is to aggregate data around hot spots or trends of racism‚" she said. "If there is a school in a certain area where we get five reports from‚ we know there is something really serious going on at that school. We will then send in facilitators [to resolve the issue]. What we are doing during the pilot phase is engaging with a range of organisations, such as the South African Human Rights Commission … so that they can deal with some of the complaints as well."
Depending on where a racist incident is reported‚ the foundation will request the assistance of local organisations to help resolve the matter.
Vadi said the foundation was well aware that some people could lodge fake complaints, but cautioned that people who did so would not go unpunished.
"Through this app, we hope to get in touch with various organisations and strengthen networks around anti-racism. People could say something happened when it did not. It will require investigative capacity and legal capacity in some instances. The legal resources unit is one of the organisations that is coming on board to assist with some of the complaints and will be following up on them."
SA is still plagued with incidents of racism, more than two decades after the birth of democracy. Many of these are shared on social media. Earlier this week, the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department said it was concerned at the "growing racial and ethnic intolerance" at schools in the province. Learning at Queensburgh High School was halted after a fight between groups of black and white scholars. There were also disruptions at the Parkhill Secondary School after claims of a racial attack on a teacher.
The app can be found in the Google play store under the name Zirra.
The foundation was formed to continue the legacy of anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.