The R2.6 Million Community App Question

South African entrepreneur Guss Davey, announced today the he will undertake the development of a new Community Watch application himself.

The application which will be available as a Progressive Web Application as well as native apps for iOS and Android focused on incident management for neighborhood watch communities. It promises to use state of the art technologies and a wealth of features. A pilot will be launch in South Africa in Q4 2020 and development has already started.

Guss: It’s the last effort in trying to make a difference in South Africa. South Africans should have the means of protecting themselves, as the police is failing in their primary task.

The team is meeting with successful community watch forums at the moment to gather additional features and requirements. Development is done in-house as several other mobile app development companies, ranging from South Africa to Czech Republic either failed to provide quotes, or could not get their heads around the full scope of the project and left too many “TBA”‘s in their proposals.

“Corporate like quotes” for R2.6 million with several lines that say “TBA”, and that is just for a minimum viable product. It’s ridiculous. Everyone is just in for making a buck and charging Silicon Valley rates in South Africa, with resources living is South Africa. I guess they want their bread buttered on both sides. The US$ income, but with South Africa cost of living.

Why only now?

Up to now communities mostly used Facebook or Whatsapp Groups to organise and manage themselves. Inherently these apps are made for social feeds and not very suitable for the purpose of community watch. You can not use it for analytics or stats and people tend to drift of using it for what it was made for, Chit-Chat.

Attempt to use apps targeted for other countries, like “Citizen” in USA, did not work out well. Its either country bound / purposely made for that country / locked down for specific country use, or just had the lack of features to fulfill the large task of proper incident management and reporting.

Witnessing the desperate attempts in some local communities to organize and manage themselves was the inspiration for this project.

What will make this product different?

First of all, we will be looking at the full scope of such an endeavour like Community Watch. How are people organized, how do they prevent the perpetrators from joining their groups or watching their activity, how do they interact or follow up with the local police and security companies and how do they capture and store their data.

Community Watch is much more than just a place / page where you report on some incident. This application will cover all aspect and will be a turn-key solution for communities.

In addition some high tech features will be included. A good example is not just the standard old Google Maps and Bubble Charts, but 4 dimensional (time based) moving heat maps that will help in Data Analytics and the prevention of crime.

Security is also important to us, so the app will include, in additional to app specific security features, some personal security features and integration to other systems (like your alarm and other home automation). Without revealing too much at this point, here is one more: With a press of one button, the app will stream a video recording into the cloud, in stealth mode. We did say it’s designed for South Africa.

What will it cost?

We wanted to make it free for all, but that is just impossible. So the price will be kept as low as possible. The current estimation is R10 per month, the price of a coke.

Managing all this data, including geospatial information, and serving it in an instant, and keeping all the past history, calls for huge expenses and big servers. We will be provisioning data server for each country deployment in an attempt to scale better, but also to manage costs for each country instance.

Guss: We recently re-investigated the cost model, and decided that South African is already stretched to their limits. The apps will be FREE and we will pursue other avenues for covering the operation cost of such a system.


Half of the income model will be allocated to sharing back to the community members that keep the system going. Several incentive schemas will be used, like when you refer a new community member, or manage one, or manage a whole province / state or country.

Guss: Even with the FREE to use model, we will still investigate how to channel money back into the community.


This company are free form the burden of venture capitalist or investors who’s bottom line is their return on investment. We will be making profits, but the vision is to keep on enabling the community and re-invest profits over and over again for YOUR BENEFIT.


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