This study investigated the factors that influence the intention of citizens to use their mobile phones
to increase their participation in local government. It examined whether gender and age can be used
to moderate the effect of these factors. The research was conducted in Buffalo City, a municipality in South
Africa. The research used a questionnaire survey to collect quantitative data and semi-structured interviews
to collect qualitative data. Data was collected from people aged between 18 and 55 who have no access
to fixed-line Internet at home but are instead primarily accessing the Internet via their mobile phones.
The study found that the acceptance of mobile phones as a means for public participation is largely a matter
of designing mobile participation solutions that support and enhance the performance of citizens. Citizens
are fairly accustomed to mobile technology, and this increases the likelihood that they would willingly adopt
mobile participation solutions if they offer tangible gains when compared to current methods. Older citizens
would require support in familiarizing with the new technology, while all citizens place the availability
of reliable organizational and technical infrastructure as an important predictor of their intention to use.
The influence of friends and family members was an important factor in citizens’ intention to use. Gender
did not have any significant effects on the factors that affect intention to use. Age was a significant moderator
with younger citizens requiring quick and convenient ways to interact with government while older people
looked for more efficient ways of reaching government which should in turn lead to improved quality
in services delivered.