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Freitag, 23.06.2017
eGovernment Forschung | eGovernment Research 2001 - 2017

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) on Monday kicked off the first sessions of a planned national public consultation roadshow to unpack details of the three recently gazetted strategies to implement the National Integrated Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Policy White Paper.

The proposed National e-Strategy and the draft National e-Government Strategy and Roadmap were gazetted in early April, while the draft ICT Small, Medium-sized and Microenterprises (SMME) Support Strategy was tabled at the end of March.

When implemented the three interlinked strategies will further the aims found in the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, gazetted in October 2016, which outlines how South Africa can use the latest technologies for sustained economic, social and political development; the strategies guiding the digital transformation of public service in South Africa into an inclusive digital society; how unlocking the potential of ICT for SMMEs is envisioned.

Contextualising the “bigger picture” to delegates on the first day of the two-day Gauteng consultations, held in Fourways, DTPS director-general Robert Nkuna confirmed that the three proposed strategy frameworks were aimed at leveraging technology to modernise service delivery and “radically transform” the ICT sector to make it “more inclusive”.

The technology that was currently available enabled government to make changes in the quality of life for its citizens, he explained, pointing out that the purpose of the consultations was to obtain viable inputs for the way forward.

“The White Paper serves as a strategy – what we need to do now is not to repeat or regurgitate what is in the White Paper . . . we need to look at what needs to be done to implement [the strategies that have evolved during] the White Paper [process],” he commented, noting that it was particularly critical on the back of the somewhat limited movement on the implementation of the six-month-old policy.

The supporting strategies outline what needs to be done to move the sector forward, including the development of a Fourth Industrial Revolution Action Plan 2030.

A FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ACTION PLAN

A proposed national action plan on this is expected to be completed by 2019 under the National e-Strategy to tackle the expected challenges of the fourth industrial revolution and leverage the benefits it has to offer.

“The National e-Strategy we are developing is in support of the national ICT policy to make sure we achieve our targets. Once Cabinet approves the final document, it will become a matter of national priority,” DTPS chief director Angie Mokgabudi said, presenting the key highlights of the e-Strategy draft.

The three-year e-Strategy, which also seeks to support and assist in the implementation of initiatives and e-strategies already under way; however, it aims to drive government’s interventions in a more collaborative and integrated way in an effort to bring together the pockets of excellence seen across the country.

Despite its best efforts, South Africa continues to struggle to scale “hurdles”, including the digital divide, e-literacy challenges, uncoordinated planning and implementation, slow economic growth and poor innovation, all of which the support strategy aims to go a long way towards mitigating.

“What we are saying here is that we need to come up with practical solutions,” she said.

The gazetted document describes the vision of the e-Strategy as the development of an inclusive information society and knowledge economy based on the needs of the citizens, business and public sector, as well as government’s role in the use of ICTs to improve service delivery; the involvement of all South Africans in growing the economy; the use of e-commerce; the countering of cybersecurity threats; and ensuring citizens hold the necessary skills and abilities to use ICTs effectively.

The focus areas for this draft strategy over the next three years include a revamp of e-Government platforms; to ensure an enabling environment for all; to undertake sectoral strategies for the health, education, safety and economic sectors; e-commerce; smart cities and communities; and deploying governance and coordination mechanisms.

NATIONAL E-GOVERNMENT STRATEGY AND ROADMAP

Meanwhile, with ICT holding unparalleled opportunities to improve government’s service delivery, the National e-Government Strategy and Roadmap aims to “optimise, integrate and digitally transform the public services platform” in a “renewed approach and programme of action”.

DTPS director David Monyepao, in outlining the various suggestions contained in the e-Government Strategy, said, furthermore, that there were some foundations that needed to be reviewed or established – the funding for the e-government strategy, the drive toward entrepreneurship and innovation, capacity building, security, broadband connectivity and infrastructure and smart devices – to take e-government to the next level.

These foundations would, in turn, create jobs, economic growth, sustainable development and a cashless economy, as well as promote citizen participation and transparency, trust and accountability, he averred.

Currently, government faced rising public service costs and backlogs in service delivery, fragmentation of government initiatives and uncoordinated implementation, the duplication of processes, a lack of easy access to government services, compounded by a growing lack of accountability, besides others.

The focus areas for the e-Government Strategy over the next three year, therefore, would include the transformation of the e-government services and platforms, the enhancement of governance and the development of a digitally enabled society.

The guiding principles for e-government services included interoperability, ICT security, economies of scale, elimination of duplication and digital inclusion, besides others.

However, the new plans would not replace prevailing e-government policy and frameworks, assured Nkuna.

“What we are discussing here is nothing new, in a manner of speaking,” he said, stressing that, given the many various government initiatives currently under way, a more coordinated approach to the deployment of the various technological developments was required.

“We need to make sure that, at some point, we have a minimum [standardised] programme we all adhere to and [that we] improve over a period of time,” he suggested.

SUPPORTING SMMES

The third document under review – the draft ICT SMME Support Strategy – is a response to the need to unlock the business opportunities and create an enabling business and administrative environment for SMMEs in the ICT sector to blossom into successful and sustainable entities.

In terms of government’s plans to bolster ICT-focused SMMEs, strategic interventions are suggested to mitigate the current challenges in the ICT sector that hamper the growth and development of smaller enterprises and entrepreneurs.

The draft strategy outlines tentative initiatives such as a model for ICT SMME development and strategies, and interventions to support this model; the facilitated development and accelerated entry of SMMEs, particularly those that are women- and youth-owned; increasing the uptake and use of ICTs by the SMME sector in general; and a coordinated and integrated planning mechanism monitoring the development of the ICT SMME sector.

DTPS chief director Tsholofelo Mooketsi is scheduled to unpack the ICT SMME Support Strategy on Tuesday.

The DTPS plans to embark on a provincial roadshow to outline the strategies and obtain inputs to incorporate into the this and the two other strategies over the next few weeks.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Natasha Odendaal

Quelle/Source: Creamer Media's Engineering News, 08.05.2017

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