State procurement agency hopes for a better second decade

THE SA STATE IT Agency (Sita) has promised a thorough shake-up as it enters its second decade. Sita has come under fire from several quarters over the years. Marking the agency`s first decade recently, acting CEO Moses  Mtimunye conceded that there were still challenges. Among these, he said, were sectoral co-operation, skills, and ICT procurement.

Which is a problem, since procurement is Sita`s raison d` tre.

Established in 1999 to serve as the government`s IT procurement division, Sita has faced many challenges and much criticism over the years. Among other things, allegations of corruption and inefficiency have been levelled against it, and the government has questioned the way the agency is run. The (DPSA) this year acknowledged the existence of a highly-sensitive internal risk assessment report compiled by Henderson Solutions for Minister Richard Baloyi. Late last year, Baloyi also established a task team to investigate Sita  and threatened to take the agency to task over its processes and procedures.

Sita has also had a problem retaining its leaders, with at least six permanent and acting CEOs in and out of the hot seat in its ten year existence. But Mtimunye, who took over this year after the exit of acting CEO Femke Pienaar, says the agency is addressing internal problems and fulfilling its mandate - enabling e-government.

"While a decade is a long time in an organisation`s history, the importance of the journey travelled lies in how the organisation adapts, exerts influence and forges ahead on a road to success," Mtimunye says.

He says Sita is keen to address recurring allegations of corruption. "It is important that such allegations be tempered with facts. If there is corruption, it must be dealt with, but insidious agendas must not be allowed to flourish. Sita remains unequivocal in is stance that corruption, favouritism and nepotism will not be tolerated."

Mtimunye says that in the past year, Sita embarked on a vigorous programme of strengthening business processes and automation, reducing the human handprint on operations, with much work done on its vision, operations and corporate culture, says Mtimunye. "Sita`s vision is to put government`s developmental agenda, citizen requirements, legitimate stakeholder concerns and customer satisfaction as central to its operations. Its role as an efficient, effective ICT service provider of choice to government is non-negotiable."

He highlights projects such as the Government-Wide Enterprise Architecture (GWEA) and Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) and services, such as the FOSS-based track and trace system, IEC call centre for the recent elections, and the municipal enhancement programme as indicators of Sita`s new, improved focus.

In addition, he says, Sita`s improved procurement strategy, which saw a reduction in average turnaround times from 240 days to 73.4 days, and an improvement in customer satisfaction levels to 60%  are bases from which it will continue to build, according to Mtimunye.

Tags: IT  in  Government