5 Young Local Innovators Showcase Products That Tackle Crime, Disabilities, Amongst Others

Digital Creatives

June 30, 2021, 4:29 p.m.

Five young local innovators launched and showcased their market-ready products during a virtual event on Tuesday.

The innovators are supported by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). TIA acting CEO Patrick Krappie said the products showcased provide practical solutions to real-life and common problems in the country.

The products tackle response to crime, sanitation, education, e-commerce as well as solutions to challenges faced by people with disabilities.

These are the products that were launched:


Ownedby is a majority Black youth-owned startup focusing on ensuring that buyers are connected to rightful sellers within a second-hand marketplace.

It is an asset management tool for home and business devices that digitally links these to owners and was presented by co-founder Phila Bongo.

It ensures that valuables exist online, with a unique and traceable identity. Once owners link their valuables, they will have the ability to assign Digi-tags that let people know whether the item is for sale, lost, or stolen. If sold or gifted away, only the owner can transfer.

Appliances and devices are also searchable online. This is possible as Ownedby enables this by using the valuable’s international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number.

Bongo said the theft of devices was rampant on the second-hand marketplace. Therefore, Ownedby wants to prevent theft and crime by allowing owners and buyers to know whether an item is for sale, lost, or stolen.

It has so far had 4 500 Quickchecks, where potential users have searched for their devices using the unique IMEI on the platform.

Prev Leak

The Prev Leak is a smart polymer manhole cover made from plastic composite material and was presented by Technological Plumbing Solution, CEO Thulani Khumalo.

This solution was aimed at reducing the effects of sewage pollution. This smart manhole cover boasts an ultra-sensor that uses sound waves to detect wastewater levels.

It also has a threshold to detect when a sewer is blocked. If a sewer is blocked, it reports it to the relevant authority. It features a battery with a five- to ten-year life.

Technological Plumbing Solution aims for this smart polymer manhole cover to be used to replace existing steel covers.

In its first year, the company hopes to sell 120 smart manhole covers in Gauteng.

Anathoth Solutions wheelchair integrated umbrella holder

The third innovation, presented by Anathoth Solutions’ Siphiwe Zuma, is a retractable umbrella that can be fitted to a wheelchair for protecting its user from the rain or harmful ultraviolet rays.

Zuma had an accident at age of nine that resulted in an amputation. Due to his hands being occupied with crutches, he was unable to use an umbrella. This inspired him to design this retractable umbrella.

Users can easily open the umbrella and adjust its position, as well as close and retract it when it is not needed. Anathoth plans to undertake further product development.

Plans to develop a backpack with an umbrella integrated into it are also in the pipeline.

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The fourth innovation is the S-Store, an online grocery shopping platform targeted at university students. S-Store drivers go to the store to collect and deliver the goods to the customers.

Customers use the S Store app and website to purchase essential items and other products (much needed in times of lockdown) from a variety of stores within your city.

The orders are matched with an S Store driver once it is ready and prepared. The app is currently in the development stage.

Sisanda App Universe

The final innovation was Sisanda App Universe, which was presented by Mbangiso Mabaso.

The innovation offers a host of science apps that help learners to do science experiments by using the camera of their smartphone or tablet.

The target market for this product is Grade 4 to Grade 12 learners. Sisanda App Universe aims to make science engaging, fun, and accessible to all learners on the African continent.

The Grassroots Innovation Programme (GIP) is aimed at supporting and commercializing local innovations from ordinary citizens. A grassroots innovator is an individual who undertakes innovations to solve local challenges using local resources and capabilities through working outside the realm of formal innovation institutions.

GIP aims to enable innovation that solves local challenges at the grassroots level through enhancing the capacity and capability of the innovators, assisting them to commercialize their innovations.


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