DPSA Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi

Government departments will now have a clear guidance on the continuity of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems during the disruption and the ability to recover quickly.

The Department of Public Service and Administration recently approved the public service ICT service continuity Determination and Directive for implementation by the departments.

In the circular issued to Heads of national and provincial departments, DPSA, Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi said the purpose of the Determination and Directive is to provide clear guidance to departments for the development and implementation of ICT service continuity plans in support of the department’s Business Continuity objectives.

“This is done to ensure the continued availability of ICT systems and services during the disruption and the ability to recover quickly upon being impacted by the disaster.

The prescripts set out in the Determination and Directive must be applied to all national and provincial departments, government components, and employees employed in terms of the Public Service Act.

This Determination and Directive shall only apply to members of the services, educators or members of the intelligence services only in as far as the provisions of this Determination and Directive are not contrary to the laws governing the employment,” she said.

Ms Makhasi said the Head of Department must ensure that the current ICT service continuity plan aligns with the contents of this Determination and Directive. With regard to non-compliance with the Determination and Directive, Director-General Makhasi said all those who will fail to comply would be dealt with in line with the provisions of section 16A of the Public Service Act.

She further said that the Determination and Directive came into effect on the date of signature by Acting Public Service and Administration, Mr Thulas Nxesi, which is November 29, 2022.

Heads of Departments are expected to establish an ICT Disaster Recovery Team for the department, which will develop, document and execute processes for a department’s data recovery of business continuity, and IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster /ICT service/ICT system disruption. Guided by the risk appetite and tolerance of the department, the ICT Disaster Recovery Team must define and agree on what would constitute as an ICT disaster.

Backup Procedures

The Government Information Technology Officer (GITO) must establish a process of creating and storing copies of data that can be used to protect the department against data loss.

The ICT Disaster Recovery Process

The GITO must identify and prioritise their business functions, maintaining the ICT systems that support their operations. The recovery arrangements must also be established to preserve the continuity of ICT services.

Roles and Responsibilities

The GITO must ensure that the roles and responsibilities related to the ICT services continuity plan are clearly defined and known to those responsible for implementing the disaster recovery activities.