A key struggle is government not paying up, state IT agency tells Parly

The State Information Technology Agency told Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications this past week that a number of its challenges involved getting government departments and entities that used SITA's services to honour their financial commitments to the agency.

SITA exists as government's own information communication technology agent to support government as well as its departments and entities with reliable IT infrastructure.

The agency has been grappling with critical leadership vacancies, namely the positions of chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief procurement officer and company secretary.

SITA acting CEO Ntutule Tshenye told the committee that a number of its challenges involved getting government departments and entities that used SITA's services to honour their financial commitments to the agency.

"The settling of SITA invoices by government departments is often a year behind. An example is where the services rendered by SITA in 2017-18 are paid by departments using the 2018-19 budget," he said.

Tshenye said the funds for SITA's centralised government ICT spend for transversal offerings were still sitting with individual departments and that this made it difficult for government to enjoy the benefits of economies of scale that the transversal offering was set up for.

"The ICT spend for transversal offerings must be centralised, for example within National Treasury, and invoices for such offerings must be settled from a central fund for the rest of the public service," said Tshenye.

Tshenye told the committee that it was receiving assistance from law enforcement agencies and Parliament in getting to the bottom of sole supplier contracts at the agency.

"Forensic investigation into a number of sole supplier contract has continued with the assistance of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and the Hawks and findings of these investigations were shared with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts," said Tshenye.

He said SITA was making progress with its automated system aimed at logging or finding conflicts of interest among employees, namely employees who have interests in or ownership of businesses that do business with SITA.

"The implementation of an automated declaration of interest system proved to be effective and efficient, with 97.4% of all SITA employees having submitted their conflict of interest declarations, which is an improvement from the previous year," Tshenye said.

Tshenye said a challenge that affected SITA was financial management by government departments. He said departments needed to align their budget for the financial year when they will be consuming services from SITA.

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