South African Cities Open Data Almanac (SCODA)

by  Majaha Dlamini
29 June 2022

What is SCODA?

The South African Cities Open Data Almanac (SCODA) is a city-centric data portal that provides evidence, analysis, and insight into current and comparable information about South African cities. SCODA was established with a partnership between municipalities, South African Cities Network (SACN), Open Cities Lab (OCL), SALGA, StatSA and other interested partners. The first version of the portal was first launched in 2016 and included features such as interactive visualisations and downloads supported by a deployed CKAN data management system. The current version, version 3, now consists of the Codebook Explorer – a tool to search and view data and metadata on indicators commonly reported by cities. This latest version was first deployed in November 2021 and is due for a public launch on the 5th of July 2022.


What does SCODA aim to achieve?

The portal aims to support cities’ planning, management, monitoring and reporting needs – and to realise more efficient and effective data systems and processes. SCODA contains data and indicators organised according to key thematic areas: Productive cities, Inclusive Cities, Sustainable Cities, Well-governed cities, and City demographics.


How does it achieve its objectives?

The SCODA portal builds upon an initiative that began in 2008 through a cities’ Urban Indicators Reference Group, attempting to adopt a systematic approach to addressing city-data challenges. Through compiling a list for the State of Cities Report (SoCR), the SACN used available outcome indicators and data that were already being collected through its projects, as well as linked with existing data and indicator projects and programmes such as the StatsSA, CSIR (StepSA), National Treasury, and the World Council for City-Data.


Why do we need SCODA?

Cities require a broad range of data and information to enable city planning and management. This is coupled with the significant legislative reporting burden. On an annual basis, cities use their data, national data such as StatsSA, and data from private vendors and projects to report on outcome indicators, which are required to monitor and evaluate several national departments, agencies, and regulators. Many of these requirements are legislated and required for compliance. In addition to the reporting burden, lack of capacity and adequate data management systems renders it difficult for many cities to provide data readily. Beyond these requirements, cities need sub-metro level data from their departments for planning and management purposes. Often this data is unavailable to them at the level and format required.

The SACN is interested in addressing these shortcomings and developing a set of indicators that provides the evidence base for city performance and reporting, allowing cities to benchmark and learn from one another.


What is next for SCODA?

SCODA version 4 is coming in the second half of this year, and this will be the dashboard version where the SoCR landing page will have associated themed dashboards.


To register for the SCODA V3 The Codebook launch, please click on the button below.

Majaha Dlamini is the Urban Data Manager at the South African Cities Network. To contact him email