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Although there are challenges, there are ways to extract maximum value out of existing and proposed government ICT systems, delegates at the e-government conference heard. SPEAKERS at last weeks`s e-government conference, organised by the Business Zone, agreed that government must move away from a perspective of first rolling out programmes and worrying about market adoption later.

Instead, ICT programmes must be driven by citizen needs and deliver real benefits to them.


Accenture SA senior manager Isabel Malheiro was one exponent of this view.

She said results from the 2005 e-government roadmap shows that e-government is so well-advanced currently that countries see it as an integral component of broader service delivery, rather than viewing it in isolation.

Malheiro says there is a growing realisation of the importance of customer relationship management (CRM), and that future leadership will be defined by strength in this aspect of service delivery.

She said the new vision is for countries to embrace a citizen-centred provision of services through a number of communication channels, and to proactively communicate the availability of information to citizens.

"Governments must find a way to make the citizen`s experience more integrated," she says.

There are instances where governments rolled out ICT programmes without a clear view of the outcomes they would bring, Malheiro added.

She said governments` emphasis on first getting the services online and then promoting adoption to citizens means they often make investments at random.

Governments therefore still need to apply a consistent approach to measuring the value of their ICT programmes, she concluded.


BMI-TechKnowledge senior analyst said the SA government needs to move from tactical relationships with vendors to forming strategic partnerships.

She said vendors must in turn come up with new and innovative technologies that enhance government`s service delivery mechanisms.

According to Torque-IT CEO Mthunzi Mwaba, the difficulty in monitoring ICT implementation in government is made worse by departments that undertake procurement of services on their own without working with the State Information Technology Agency.

However, this problem will soon be taken care of when the government tender process goes online.


The plans to re-design the national population register.

According to business development manager Tintswalo Shilowa, the current system, which is seen as a record system, will be integrated so that government has a single view of the citizen.

Shilowa says since the decision to digitise records was made in May 2005, three million fingerprints have been digitised in a three-month period.

The deadline for the project is September 2006.

Currently, 65 000 fingerprints are converted per day, and there are now over six million records in HANIS (Home Affairs National ID System), she said.

A representative of the Department of Home Affairs said it is still waiting for Cabinet approval following recommendations from a feasibility study. She added that a pre-qualification tender is expected to be issued before the end of 2005, with the tender to follow in 2006 and the first cards issued in 2007.


Belinda Mapongwana, an associate at , said the ICT BEE Charter and the DTI`s Codes of Good Practice are not legal documents, but amount to "subordinate legislation," as they derive their status from the power given to the Minister by the Act.

In terms of hierarchy, subordinate legislation naturally ranks below primary legislation, the Act.

She said although the codes do not legally bind the private sector to comply with the requirements, it will be difficult for the private sector to do business with the government or public entities without complying.

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