Mr Zaid Aboobaker

As the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), we are committed to fostering a capable and ethical public service that serves the needs of all South Africans. In line with this vision, the DPSA recognise the critical role of information and communication technology (ICT) in enabling efficient and effective service delivery. To ensure that ICT governance aligns with strategic objectives, the DPSA has published the Corporate Governance of ICT Policy Framework (CGICTPF) version 2.

The DPSA introduced the CGICTPF version 1 in 2013 to address ICT governance performance shortcomings identified by the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA). Building upon the lessons learned, the DPSA revised and cabinet-approved version 2 of the policy on 09 March 2022. The purpose of this policy is to incorporate corporate governance of ICT practices within the existing governance regime, promote transparency and accountability, improve value for money from ICT investments and strengthen departmental ICT functions to meet business needs.

The CGICTPF version 2 emphasizes five key outcomes of good governance, namely strategic alignment, risk optimization, value delivery, resource optimization, and performance measurement. By ensuring that technology investments and portfolios are aligned with strategic objectives, addressing organizational risks, delivering expected benefits, optimizing resource allocation, and monitoring the performance of technology investments, the government can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the ICT function.

To achieve effective governance, it is crucial to address common causes of poor governance. These include a lack of understanding of governance’s value, viewing governance as a constraint rather than an enabler, and the absence of data and data-related capabilities for informed decision-making. Resistance to change and outdated governance approaches can hinder progress. By fostering a culture that values and understands governance, promoting collaboration between business and IT departments, and investing in data capabilities, the government can overcome these challenges and ensure robust governance practices.

A clear distinction between governance and management is essential for effective ICT governance. Governance provides strategic direction, defines what should be done, sets priorities, and monitors IT performance. On the other hand, management focuses on how to implement governance decisions and is responsible for executing, operating, and monitoring ICT activities in alignment with governance direction.

To establish and maintain effective ICT governance, clear roles and responsibilities are defined. The Head of Department acts as the designated governance champion, ensuring the establishment of the corporate governance of the ICT system, overseeing ICT governance, and promoting the development and implementation of ICT plans. The Head of ICT (GITO) is responsible to lead the digitalisation efforts of the department, constantly seeking out new  opportunities for technology to improve services,  developing IT service management policies, prioritizing departmental ICT initiatives, and overseeing the day-to-day activities of the departmental ICT function.

The governance structure comprises the Executive Committee (EXCO) and the ICT Steering Committee. EXCO provides broad governance and oversight, approves ICT plans and policies, and sets strategic direction. The ICT steering committee provides business leadership for digitalization efforts, monitors ICT planning and resourcing, oversees the implementation of approved ICT plans and strategies, and mitigates ICT-related business risks.

The implementation of the Corporate Governance of ICT Policy Framework version 2 reinforces the government’s commitment to a capable and ethical public service. Incorporating transparent and accountable ICT governance practices, the DPSA aims to enhance service delivery, align technology investments with strategic objectives, optimize resource allocation, and mitigate ICT-related risks. The DPSA believes that through effective governance, the public service can foster a culture of excellence, efficiency, and innovation in departments, ultimately contributing to the growth and development of South Africa as a whole.

Mr Zaid Aboobaker is the Acting Deputy Director General of e-Gism at the DPSA