Tracking innovation helps community combat crime

Tumi Matshego.
Tumi Matshego.

Johannesburg - Tumi Matshego has come up with an innovative tracking solution which is now helping the community in his crime-ridden hometown of Sebokeng near the Vaal Dam.                  

Matshego told Fin24 that a simple, but reliable solution was needed to combat the high theft rate in surrounding communities. 

“Electronic equipment from schools was being stolen. Child abductions were taking place, vehicle thefts, cellphone robberies and business robberies were taking place in our community. 

“We saw a gap in the telematics domain with simple, cheap tracking solutions that would solve such issues,” Matshego told Fin24.

READ: SciTech department to invest R23bn in innovation

With the gap in the market and the need for such a solution, Matshego invested time and his own funding into developing his system from scratch. 

“This required experience from various individuals, hence our team comprises people with a wide range of IT, electronics and electrical experience.

“This also gives us the edge as maintaining the system is done locally and gives us flexibility, which in turn benefits our customers as their needs and requirements differ,” Matshego said.

Matshego's company Legratron started off by tracking computers, laptops and smartboards, which Matshego said were constantly being stolen from local schools. The business later branched out into tracking motor vehicles and other machinery as clients enquired about customised tracking solutions.

“The market was full of software apps but if the device was off, then application was useless. So we investigated hardware solutions that would have a backup battery which enabled us to track the machine in question, even though it was off, or even after the software had been flushed. It was not easy but we eventually cracked it,” Matshego told Fin24.

Today Legratron is even able to track loved ones through its recently launched kiddies' GPS watches, which allow the tracking of individuals wherever they are.

READ: 3 innovations that could drive energy revolution in Africa

Matshego said innovation out of necessity was paramount to solving the real issues that faced their society. 

“You provide required solutions to a market that is already hungry for a service or product,” he added.

Petra Rees, managing director for business support and shared resources project Lean Enterprise Acceleration Programmes, which assists Legratron with business support, said that over the past decade South Africa has seen great examples of what is called “reverse innovation”. 

“This is when the developing world is coming up with solutions (adopted) for solving problems they never even knew existed. Legratron is a fantastic example of that."

Rees told Fin24: “We need entrepreneurs like Matshego to think of solving unique constraints local African communities face, by linking these to the best breed in technology globally."

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