EskomSePush iOS interface (screenshot)
EskomSePush iOS interface (screenshot)
  • EskomSePush was suspended from the Google Play app store this weekend. 
  • This was partly due to the Covid-19 data it was sending subscribers.
  • The app is now available on Google Play again, but minus the Covid pushes.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The massively popular South African app, EskomSePush, was suspended from the Google Play app store this weekend.

The six-year-old app sends out load shedding alerts to 2.5 million subscribers.

It recently also started to send out South Africa’s latest Covid-19 data, including the latest vaccination statistics, deaths, tests and active cases. It sources the data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

This appears to have caused a problem for the Google Play Store, who informed EskomSePush that apps that provide information about Covid-19 will only be allowed if they are authorised by official government entities or "organisations deeply rooted in healthcare". Google Play is a platform where millions of Android apps can be downloaded.

Google Play also asked EskomSePush to change the wording on its feature to flag inappropriate users and content.

EskomSePush made the change, and suspended its Covid pushes on Monday. The app was restored on Google Play by lunchtime.

"I don't think we'll be able to push the Covid statistics soon," EskomSePush co-founder Herman Maritz told Business Insider. Some 100,000 subscribers received the Covid-19 data every day.  The app has asked the NICD for official authorisation.

"Like with load shedding, we strongly believe that information is power," says Maritz. "And getting more eyes on the right information is something we want to help with."

Maritz and Dan Wells founded EskomSePush in 2015 while they were building banking applications.

EskomSePush cofounders Herman Maritz and Dan Wells
EskomSePush cofounders Dan Wells (left) and Herman Maritz at the MTN App of the Year Awards in 2015 (Twitter, @MTNza)

It was an immediate hit and the app was awarded MTN's App of the Year in the same year.

READ | EskomSePush has exploded as SA's go-to load shedding app - it grew from 2,500 users to 400,000 in a week

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