Frequently asked questions

General

What is Namola?

Namola is a free mobile safety app that allows South African citizens to #GetHelpFast in emergency situations. Users can request assistance from public emergency services, such as the South African Police Services (SAPS), Metro Police, Fire & Rescue, and Ambulance.

How is Namola Free?

Namola is a free app with no hidden costs and no per incident fee. We are able to offer a free service, at this stage, due to our partnership with Dialdirect, who are passionate about the fight against crime in South Africa.

Namola is able to help you #GetHelpFast by making use of established public emergency services, paid for by the taxpayers of South Africa. Additionally, we work with existing community safety initiatives such as Neighbourhood Watch groups and Community Police Forums, who volunteer to keep their districts safe and are able to assist in emergency situations.

Is Namola available across South Africa?

Namola is available nationally across South Africa. Wherever you are, and as long as you can connect to a mobile operating network and have a minimal amount of data, Namola will work. Whilst Namola cannot guarantee emergency responder assistance, each call is personally handled by one of the Namola Response Centre Agents, which gives you the reassurance that help is on the way. Innovative technology helps Namola Response Centre Agents find the nearest and best suited emergency responder for your emergency.

Is Namola endorsed by the SAPS?

Namola is endorsed by the South African Police Services (SAPS).

Why would it take a long time for public responders to arrive?

It’s important to understand that Namola is not responding to the incident itself. Requesting Assistance through Namola is the simplest and fastest way to get help fast in any emergency. The Namola Response Centre Agents co-ordinate emergency services on your behalf, which includes public service providers as well as community safety initiatives like neighbourhood watches, who can assist users in their local communities.

Namola will only close an incident when you have the help that you need. Namola is here to make emergency responders accountable for attending to emergencies, and to hold your hand until help arrives.

Can I use Namola to Request Assistance for someone else?

Absolutely! As long as you know the location of the person in need of assistance, you can request help on their behalf. Just be sure to notify the Response Centre Agent that you are requesting assistance for another party.

How is Namola different from other communication safety groups?

We love that South Africans use communication tools like WhatsApp groups and CPF radio networks to keep their communities safe and we encourage everybody to join such groups.

Namola makes it super simple to Request Assistance at the touch of a button. This is especially important when you’re not near the area covered by your local group, such as when you’re commuting to work. We spend a lot of time away from home, and it can be difficult to figure out where to get to help. Namola makes that simple. It works everywhere and all the time.

If your local community signs up to receive Namola Watch alerts, they can still help co-ordinate the response using existing WhatsApp groups or radio networks. This way, Namola and initiatives that are already in place complement each other: Use Namola to request assistance, and the local community will be notified and can co-ordinate through existing channels.

Mobile App

Why does the Namola app require location permissions?

Namola only uses your location in emergency situations. This means that we can locate you in an emergency so that you do not have to waste time telling us where you are.  The rest of the time, we’re not locating or tracking you.

What other permissions does the Namola app require?

The Namola app requests permission to send push notifications. This is to allow you to receive text messages with updates from the Response Centre during an incident. Additionally, push notifications are used to alert you of emergencies from your emergency contacts.

In order to update your profile picture (so that responders can visually identify you when arriving on scene), the Namola app may also request permission to access your camera or photo gallery. We never access photos or camera except when you choose to take or pick a new profile picture.

In order to select and invite your emergency contacts, we require access to your phone address book. We never access your address book except when you’re selecting emergency contacts, we never upload your entire address book to the server, we never store your address book on our servers, and never use it for any purpose other than managing or inviting your selected emergency contacts.

Will Namola drain my phone’s battery

The Namola app is not active unless you’ve requested assistance. The app won’t drain your battery if you have it installed and aren’t using it.

Will Namola use all of my data and airtime?

Namola uses a small amount of data when you open the app and request assistance. Namola will not, however, use any of your data in the background. (So please do not log out of Namola while you’re not using the app! You need to be logged in to request assistance, and you want to get to that function as quickly as possible in an emergency.)

If you run out of data and airtime, Namola will let you place a free call to 112 to request assistance

My location pin is not exactly where I am at. Can I update my location to be more accurate?

Our Response Centre Agents will confirm your address when they call back within seconds. If it is incorrect you can inform them then. You can also use the chat function with a more accurate description after opening an incident in case you can’t talk.

The phone also periodically sends through refined locations from the GPS during an open incident, in case the first location that was sent through was a little bit inaccurate or you move around after requesting assistance.

Emergency Contacts

How it works?

Inside the Namola app, tap on the “Contacts” icon.

To add an emergency contact, tap the big “Add a contact” button or the icon in the top right that has a little +. Once you’ve selected up to five contacts, tap the checkmark (Android) or “Send invite” button (iPhone).

If your contact is already using Namola, they’ll receive a push notification about your request. If your contact isn’t registered on Namola yet, they’ll receive an SMS with a link to download the app.

Your contact, once registered for Namola, will find your request by opening Namola and going to “Contacts”. Tap on the request to either accept or decline it. (Until they have accepted your request, an emergency contact will show as “invited” in your Contacts inside Namola. Perhaps follow up with them to remind them to accept, if they’re still showing as “invited” after a few days…)

Once the contact has accepted to become your emergency contact, they’ll receive notifications whenever you request assistance for yourself in a real emergency. When one of your emergency contacts receives an SOS alert from Namola, they can open the Namola app, and see your emergency under “Contacts”. If they tap on your emergency, they’ll be able to call you, see where you are and navigate to your location. They can also participate in a chat group with you, your other emergency contacts, and—most importantly—the Namola control room operator who is coordinating the emergency response. This way, your emergency contacts will be kept fully informed about your emergency at all times.

How do I notify my emergency contacts when I need help?

Your emergency contacts will automatically be notified if you use Namola to Request Assistance for a real emergency (crime, accident, medical or fire) and indicate that you’re requesting assistance for yourself. In short, just use Namola as you always would!

And you can always have the peace of mind that our control room will always co-ordinate the emergency response, whether you have emergency contacts or not.

What is the difference between contacts with a star and contacts without a star in my list of emergency contacts on Namola?

Contacts without a star have added you as an emergency contact. You’ll receive SOS alerts for their emergencies, but you won’t alert them of your own emergencies.

Contacts with a star are your own emergency contacts. These contacts will be alerted for your own emergencies.

You can always turn a non-emergency contact (without a star) into an emergency contact. Just tap their name and choose “Add as emergency contact”.

Can I remove an emergency contact?

Certainly. If you no longer want to notify someone of your emergencies, or if you no longer want to receive emergency alerts from someone, just tap their name in your list of Namola Contacts, and choose “Remove”.

What should I do if I receive an emergency alert from a loved one?

Open the Namola app and go to Contacts, where you’ll find more detail of the incident. Tap on the emergency to see more detail, including location. From there you can join a chat group with the person who requested assistance, our control room, and other emergency contacts who were alerted too.

In the chat, please indicate that you are participating. If you are able to alert e.g. a private security, please do so, and post the details about this to the emergency chat to keep everyone informed.

Our control room’s first job is to get the user who requested emergency assistance help as fast as possible. Once they’ve done that, they’ll inform everyone about next steps via chat.

My emergency contact did not receive a notification for my request to add them…

Check to make sure:

  • They have Namola installed.
  • They have push notifications enabled.
  • They are registered on Namola with the mobile number that is invited.
  • They have an active data connection and/or data bundle.If your contact is not yet a Namola user, they should have received a download link.

If they haven’t, no worries. Just ask them to go to https://namola.com/share to download Namola. As long as they register with the same number that you’ve invited them on, your request as an emergency contact will wait for them as soon as they’ve registered.

My contact did not receive an alert for my emergency

Check to make sure that the contact has the following:

  • They have Namola installed.
  • They have push notifications for Namola enabled.
  • They are still registered on Namola with the mobile number that is the emergency contact.
  • They accepted the request to be your emergency contact.
  • They have an active data connection and/or data bundle.

Also, check that the incident was:

  • A real emergency (traffic, fire, medical or crime) AND requesting assistance for: “myself” was selected.
  • Or: it was another type of emergency (“test” or “other”) AND alert emergency contacts: “yes” was selected.

Lastly, just make sure that the contact is an emergency contact. Only contacts with a star are alerted to your emergencies. (Those without a star will only alert you to their emergencies, not vice versa.)

Privacy

What are my personal details used for?

Namola only uses your personal details in an emergency (such as your mobile number, name and location) in order to get you the help you need as fast as possible. Namola may share your details with the relevant emergency responders who are attending to your incident. We never share your personal details with anyone else without your explicit permission.

I want to be removed completely from Namola!

We’re sad that we didn’t live up to your expectations, but we’re always here to help. Drop an email to privacy@namola.com and we’ll delete your account immediately.

Need something else? Send us an email