by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – EXPERTS have identified connectivity and the Cloud to lay the foundation for South Africa’s digital transformation.
This as South Africa’s government has attached great importance to digitalisation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), with a particular focus on driving transformation in the public sector.
Public sector stakeholders this week joined technology company, Huawei, to discuss how the public and private sectors could work together to accelerate government’s drive.
Qi Meng, Huawei Director of Public Sector, said innovative technologies were increasingly being used in more industries and diversified ecosystems are driving more dynamic markets across the world.
“As a result, South Africa needs sustainable infrastructure development to further drive the value of digital technologies in stimulating the development of the local digital economy,” Meng said during his opening address at the event.
It was held under the aegis of the e-Government Summit, which forms part of the Huawei Connect 2021.
Christo Abrahams, Huawei Executive Industry Solutions Manager, observed that high adoption rates of innovative technologies and the rollout of digital platforms in the private sector accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in the personalisation of services now expected by citizens.
“Citizens want the same level of services from government as they receive from their banks or retailers,” Abrahams.
Mandla Ngcobo, Department of Public Service and Administration Chief Information Officer, noted transforming the public sector was not an easy task as the sector faced unique challenges in its transformation journey.
If technologies are adopted into the public sector in a way that does not integrate different departments and ministries, it could result in the proliferation of technologies that are costly and inefficient, he said.
“More often than not, when we talk about digital transformation, we tend to emphasise technology, but as the public service sector we need to put citizens needs at the centre,” Ngcobo said.
“Additionally,” Ngcobo said, “When we talk about digital government, we must ensure the administration of service provision to citizens is done in an impartial, fair and equitable manner.”
He added accountability, ethics and transparency were also key.
Rose Moyo, the Huawei ICT senior specialist, noted that connectivity would be at the center of any efforts to achieve this transformation of government towards intelligent services.
“Connectivity is the key enabler of technologies such as Cloud but the digital economy is driving up the demand for bandwidth significantly which could be costly if network infrastructure is not improved and connectivity is not increased,” said Moyo.
Meanwhile, the Cloud is set to become one of the biggest enablers of digital transformation in the public sector.
It is anticipated the shift to cloud computing will open up avenues to other emerging technologies which have the potential to bring meaningful change to the availability, accessibility andquality of government services.
“Cloud will enable government to modernise services that are entrenched in legacy systems and quickly create citizen-facing services,” Michael Langeveld, Vice President of Huawei Cloud Southern Africa, said.
He said meaningful collaboration between the private and public sector would be key to leveraging the full potential of the economy and driving the transformation of government with digital technologies.
Through the transformation of governance, South Africa is projected to seize the opportunities of a digital economy.
– CAJ News