GovTech highlights state’s commitment to “e-governance”

GovTech highlights state’s commitment to “e-governance”

The Government Technology Conference (GovTech) 2016 highlighted the extent of state’s “e-government” strategy with significant projects already under way, or in the advanced conceptualisation phases. 

Pertinently the Integrated Justice System (IJS) is just one project that epitomises the weight government has given digital transformation.

Department of Justice & Constitutional Development IJS Board chairperson, Godfrey Leseba, noted that this was the largest digital project under way in the country, at present, involving the integration of the entire justice supply chain. Importantly, it is in line with the goals enshrined in the National Development Plan (NDP), which is geared at creating a safer South Africa for all citizens.

The project was first conceptualised in 1996, and has undergone a series of refinements during the execution phases, which Leseba said was forging ahead according to schedule. 

“There are already 112 400 people registered in the IJS cluster, while 153 South African Police Services and 509 courts are now connected to the system,” he told delegates during the Growth track.

Among other milestones achieved to date, an Integrated Inmate Management System is in place, and will be upgraded by a number of other value-adding initiatives. This includes a fingerprint documentation system for all South African citizens, and once this has been completed, it will be expanded to include those of asylum speakers.

He said that the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development was also taking a long-term view of the project, with plans of eventually connecting this project to social media platforms to better monitor on-line criminal activity.

GovTech is being hosted in Gauteng, which is currently undergoing a rapid digital transformation, and delegates therefore looked forward to a presentation by David Kramer, deputy director-general of the Gauteng Provincial Government, on the department’s “e-government” initiative.

This ambitious project aims to connect about 3 000 government sites by 2019, laying the foundation for a robust “e-government” system by 2019. Kramer reported sound progress in executing the project, noting that they were also being complemented by the major municipalities in the province. They are all rolling-out broad-band infrastructure which will eventually be integrated by the province.

Kramer said that focus had also turned to developing a single point of access, considered to be the biggest challenge facing all “e-government” worldwide.

Moritz Botha, acting chief director of SCM ICT of the Treasury Department, detailed advanced plans in developing a “smart procurement” process for government.

Botha emphasised that it would be built upon advanced ICTs to ensure that this system met the mandates of the NDP, namely establishing fair, equitable and transparent procurement processes. Importantly, these initiatives are expected to significantly bolster small, medium and micro enterprise involvement across all government departments, including the SITA’s own system. SITA has placed significant focus on ensuring more SMME involvement in the ICT industry.

He said that the basis of this integrated procurement system, spanning all government departments, was the development of a Procurement Bill, paving the way forward for the deployment of “smart” technologies to integrate systems in government departments.

“This development will require significant innovation to help us develop an efficient procedure that guides government in selecting the best product or service at the best possible price. This has become even more important, considering the state of international economies,” he said.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, focus will turn to developing open data contracting and integration standards. This will be complemented by the development of enabling platforms and expanding the existing “e-procurement” system. 

GovTech is hosted by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) as a major driver of “e-government” initiatives, together with its partner, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.