Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy says that the Gauteng Broadband Network is expected to yield savings of R162 million per annum, once it’s fully rolled out to the provincial government.
Briefing the media on departmental strategic planning processes ahead of her departmental budget vote in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on Friday, the MEC said that her department is mandated to bridge the digital divide amongst Gauteng’s citizens.
To this effect, the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) has been identified as a key mechanism to bring about a connected government.
This investment in broadband will result in a fibre optic transmission network of 1,600 km across the province, the MEC said, with the network set to connect all provincial government buildings, including regional satellite offices, all Thusong Centres, hospitals, and schools.
Creecy said before the end of this financial year the six core sites will all be connected including Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, 75 Fox Street, 82 Grayston Drive, the West Rand District Offices in Randfontein, Teraco, in Kempton Park, for internet, and Telkom for the government Data Centre.
These core sites are distribution nodes from which it will be possible to start connection other government buildings.
“One of the criteria for judging the success of this project is cost saving. At present the current total spend on the telecommunications bill for the Gauteng Provincial Government is R215,325,984.20, the MEC said.
“GBN is expected to yield savings of R162 million per annum, once it’s fully rolled out to the provincial government,” said Creecy.
Part of the modernisation of government services includes the digitisation of back office services. Over the last three years the E-recruitment system has handled 666,056 applications for 5,959 jobs online, Creecy said.
The benefits to GPG departments of this service include: reduction of recruitment advertising costs from approximately R13.7 million to R2.2 million and improved turnaround times for processing of applications from 10 working days to 2 working days.
The MEC stressed that she expects her officials to tackle the late payment of service providers in the year ahead.
Earlier this week, Creecy met all officials responsible for processing of supplier payments both in the Gauteng Department of Finance and Gauteng Provincial Treasury to devise a plan to eradicate this challenge in the province.
“Firstly we are setting up an electronic platform that can be accessed by all current and prospective GPG suppliers to send invoices directly and communicate with us about non-payments.”
“Secondly we will improve on our existing invoice and payment tracking system to identify and elevate problem areas for rapid decision making and thirdly we will work with departments on further simplifying their payment and approval processes” Creecy said.