In Estonia, citizens are able to manage all their government related things on a single online portal, called E-Estonia. Here you can pay your taxes, get your passport, renew your drivers license and manage your social security details among other things. You can also register your business and do the relevant filings on the same portal. And you can use the site to vote.

As a bonus, the system is run on blockchain, making it really secure.

In South Africa, every single one of the above things I said are done through different departments. An error at the traffic department meant I couldn’t get a license for 8 weeks. Registering your business can take up to 4 weeks. It’s taken over a year to try to sort a tax issue out with SARS, which still hasn’t been resolved. And my ID documents took almost 3 years.

As a bonus, everything is done on paper, so you have to bring in certified copies of documents. And they are easily lost.

The difference of these two experiences is that in Estonia, they make it easy for citizens to do their government related activities. In South Africa, it’s a constant battle (where, for example, you’re struggling to get a tax payment to the government)

Building a new system takes time. But doing so can revolutionize the way the citizens interact with their government

Image is of the Cape Town traffic department

Blog: 318/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey
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