Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, cllr James Nxumalo
Members of Parliament
Acting Director General - DPSA and other senior Public Servants
Members of Board of SITA
CEO of SITA and other SITA Executive
Other CEOs present
Chairperson and Members of the GITO Council
Sponsors for this event
Invited Guests, Friends
Ladies and Gentlemen
All Protocol observed
I am most grateful to the normalisation and growing troika relationship between the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), the Government Information Technology Officers' Council (GITOC) and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) located in the Department of Public Service and Administration.
It is them who first committed to work together to get this Conference to be the quality they wanted to see, saying "We are all together into this".
Of added significance is the state of readiness of the ICT Industry to work together with the troika to ensure that our journey to realise good governance through Information Technology remains a "mission accomplishable".
So, like the troika, the ICT Industry also confirm that they, too, are into this as active players to do business, but also contribute in further strengthening the Information technology community.
The theme for this Conference, Connected Government - working together to do more', resonates well with our efforts to work differently, faster and smarter as we respond to the challenges of service delivery that we face as a Nation.
It is also a response to the calls by African leaders through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to put science and technology in the service of development.
Delegates at this Conference are therefore invited to spend the next few days engaged in extensive discussions on the concept of connected government: focusing on what it is, and importantly, how it will contribute towards achieving government's priorities as set out in many of our programmes including the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.
This is not only core to our mandate as a developmental state, but it equally appeals to our sense of pride as a Nation, not to be left behind in terms of development.
Connected government implies improving the internal workings of the various public sector institutions, the ICT systems that they use to better manage work-flow and process, to eliminate duplication and bureaucracies to ensure faster turnaround times.
This is at the core of SITA's mandate of harnessing technology to achieve all that.
Connected government forms the fabric of a democratic and developmental state.
It involves the governmental promotion of collective action to advance the public good, by engaging the creative efforts of all of society.
It is about influencing the strategic actions of other stakeholders.
ICT-based connected governance efforts are aimed at improved cooperation between governmental agencies, allowing for enhanced, active and effective consultation and engagement with citizens, and greater involvement with multi-stakeholders regionally and internationally.
In essence, it elevates the citizen from being an inactive and silent consumer of government services, to an active participant in determining the kinds of services they require and how those should be delivered. This is at the centre of our policy, the Batho Pele policy.
One of the important pillars of connected government is e-Government.
e-Government refers amongst others to digital interaction between government institutions, between government and businesses, and between government and citizens.
The last aspect talks to the electronic provision of services to citizens using technology to defy geographic, economic and other challenges associated with the delivery of services in a developmental state.
Ladies and gentlemen
This Conference takes place when SITA is well apace in the implementation of the Turn-Around Strategy that we introduced at the last Govtech Conference.
We can proudly say that, having strengthened the governance mechanism and deployed men and women of substance at the top management of the Agency, we have now begun to see remarkable progress in SITA performance to achieve the following outcomes.
With effect from this year, SITA has adopted a new model for GovTech.
This model, which will take place in a phased approach, will focus mostly on areas that encourage and facilitate stakeholder participation and the building of partnerships amongst stakeholders to ensure responsive and relevant services and an increased value proposition.
This partnership entails working through projects.
Some of the projects include:
GovTech has a strategic role to play in supporting government's initiative to modernise its systems for accelerated performance in delivering services to the citizens, and in promoting governance and clean administration.
GovTech should be a strategic IT resource that provides solutions to the many challenges our communities confront and answers to the many questions that we still face as government in making ICTs work for us.
GovTech should also be a learning platform and a transformation agent in the manner in which we harness the potential in technology to improve service delivery to citizens.
This being the sixth GovTech conference since the inaugural event in 2006, there is no doubt that our country continues to reap the benefits of using ICTs strengthened by such engagements, in particular judging by the level of intellectual engagement and cross-pollination of ideas and sharing of experiences generated by the previous conferences.
The 6th Annual GovTech is taking place at an interesting epoch in the global economic cycle and puts high expectations on the information communications technology.
The critics amongst us will blame globalisation for the current problems facing us. They may ask such questions as:
We expect the participants at this GovTech Conference to consider the lessons that could be learnt from other countries and our own experiences in using information communication technology to combat cyber crime, which is a necessity if South Africa is to embed cloud computing.
I am certain that I do not have to emphasise the benefits that cloud computing holds for South Africa in reducing the cost and increase the ability of government to render services to all citizens.
However, the threat of cyber crime on government information security may hinder the deployment of the government cloud.
I must from the onset indicate that I am fully committed to SITA's programme for the deployment of the government cloud, hence the significance for all of us to accept that we are into it, the fight against cyber crime.
Our commitment is based on the reality that government needs to deliver more with less budgets and therefore IT must provide innovative ways to enable government service delivery.
It must be noted that the impact of less government budgets is felt more on the IT space.
Therefore, discussions at this GovTech must also consider the impact of reduced IT budgets.
As government, we are clear that the provision of IT goods and services must be through a partnership with industry.
I must emphasize that the partnership with industry cannot be onerous in favour of one party. It must be on a risk and revenue share basis.
We shall therefore eagerly await the recommendations from the Industry Partnership Track and the consolidation of the inputs from the Ministerial-Industry session of yesterday.
It suffices at this juncture, Programme Director, to mention some of the way forward items arrived at during the Ministerial-Industry engagement yesterday, as follows:
Our expectations are that the partnership with industry will also commit to the following outcomes:
These outcomes are key milestones for SITA as the Prime System Integrator of government.
The political mandate to the PSI is to improve citizens' access to government services in cost effective and efficient manner.
Key to this political mandate is the responsibility to modernise government, and the initial steps focused in the development and deployment of the Integrated Financial Management System.
The process to complete the remaining modules of the IFMS is underway and we shall soon make an announcement with regards the rollout of the IFMS.
The IFMS (Integrated Finance Management System) is a strategic project which was initiated to replace current legacy transversal applications in use in government, namely the Basic Accounting System (BAS), the Personnel and Salary System (PERSAL) as well as the Logistics Management System (LOGIS).
IFMS is a multi-stakeholder transversal initiative involving such departments as National Treasury, the Department of Public Service and Administration and the State Information Technology Agency.
Already five (5) of the nine (9) modules have been configured as part of the IFMS implementation.
These include Asset Management, Procurement Management, Master Data Management, Catalogue Management and Human Resource Management.
Upon completion, the IFMS will consolidate and renew government's back-office applications and will include other modules such as Business Intelligence across both National and Provincial government departments.
Programme Director, as we said earlier, we are all together into this, and we can only achieve to the extent that our collective efforts dictate.
As Government, going forward beyond this conference, we commit to convene an Inter-departmental forum to respond to the following issues:
Ladies and Gentlemen
As we conclude, we want to urge everybody here to constantly remember that as a developing country, we face an enormous challenge of bridging the gap that exists in our highly polarized society, and information technology is sure to provide such a bridge.
This technology can serve as a means of addressing the historically imposed socio-economic divisions in our society.
We need to ensure that all citizens regardless of geographical location, economic and employment status access valuable information about government services that will ultimately empower them to make better choices.
I wish all of you a successful engagement.
Issued by the Ministry for Public Service and Administration