Sisulu punts ICT for poor

2012-09-27 00:00

PUBLIC Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says embracing technological advancement is crucial to turning back the clock of underdevelopment in South Africa.

Sisulu was speaking at the seventh annual GovTech conference in Durban yesterday, where she appealed to information and communication technology (ICT) stakeholders and delegates to take advantage of the opportunity at the conference by making contributions to the debates.

The GovTech conference is organised by the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), under the Public Service and Administration ministry. It seeks to provide a platform for discussion and collaboration on ICT strategies and solutions to help government deliver more joined-up public services at a lower cost.

“The state’s weakest interventions are the public service itself and the tools that we would use to enable it to function efficiently — our IT,” Sisulu said. “We have had a problem with our IT, based primarily on its affordability.”

She added that an approach to providing ICT solutions from which poorer communities in the country could benefit was essential.

Alpheus Mangale, managing director for Cisco South Africa, which provided the network infrastructure for the event, said the company was working with Sita to provide public-private partnerships to help cultivate ICT entrepreneurs in the country.

“There is a shortage of skills in the industry, and by setting up academic programmes in universities we start at the base level and foster the students in these programmes and provide them with internships … after completing these programmes they can eventually work for our company, one of our partners or even apply their skills abroad,” he said.

As part of the conference’s theme to go “across and beyond”, the department opened a computer lab at Uthando Public Primary School in Inanda yesterday.

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