With the growing number of people living in cities, the challenges faced by government to maintain service delivery to an acceptable standard are immense. ‘Smart cities’ is a new and innovative approach that allows the city to use current infrastructure and resources more efficiently. Not many smart city projects have been implemented in developing countries, where challenges that will affect the success of the project are very different from developed countries. These challenges include low literacy rates, high unemployment rates, high poverty levels and the limited availability of technology, all of which will impact on the implementation and success of a smart city. The purpose of the study was to investigate what variables need to be present in order to implement a smart city project making use of crowdsourcing in a developing country. The study found that there are three variables that will must be present to implement a smart city project in a developing country. These include the city management, the trust of the citizens in the smart city initiative, and the crowdsourcing system. The recommendation of this paper then is then that these variables must be considered by city management in order to successfully implement smart city projects in South Africa.