SALGA, the South African Local Government Association, today launched a dedicated online community for ICT practitioners in the public service delivery environment.
The LGICT Network will enable local authorities to share IT best practices, solutions, ideas and services.
Speaking at the launch of the LGICT Network on Monday (30 May 2011), Douglas Cohen, Specialist: Economic Development and ICT at SALGA, said that municipalities traditionally operated in an isolated, non-uniform manner and that the vast majority were ill-prepared to face up to the ICT resource, skill and budget constraints.
“While differentiated requirements make a universal out-the-box solution approach difficult, we believe that municipalities – and the community at large – stand to gain considerable benefit from proven good practice approaches,” said Cohen.
According to Cohen, it is the exchange of actual municipal ICT practices that will lead to better networking, learning, peer-to-peer support and collaboration within the local government sphere.
“More importantly, municipal ICT practitioners will be able to access, share and comment on what they feel is relevant ICT information, knowledge, news and good practice.”
Adds Freddy Mogotlane, IT Manager, Govan Mbeki Municipality: “The LGICT Network of SALGA is a great idea. It is a long overdue platform for different municipalities to exchange ideas and information.”
The LCICT Network is modelled on the successful SA LED Network, an online portal hosted by SALGA to facilitate information-sharing on local economic development.
With over 2000 registered users to date, the LED Network experienced a huge uptake since SALGA took over the project early 2010 and refocused it on critical issues common to local government.
Based on an open community model, development of the LGICT portal is also in line with government‟s open source policy.
“We used Drupal, a well-known web development framework, to ensure ease of integration with mobile platforms, social media and, ultimately, to empower the users,” said Christian Zange, Advisor for ICT & Development at SALGA.
Membership of the LGICT Network is free to all local government ICT role players and registration officially opened on Monday, 30 May 2011.