The government is looking for affordable partnerships in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Wednesday.
“We are looking for a win-win situation,” Sisulu said at the opening of the seventh annual GovTech Conference, in Durban.
She said the government wanted to partner with the private ICT sector, but affordability was a key issue, especially in light of its service delivery backlogs.
The government’s two weakest points were public administration and information technology services, both of which fell under Sisulu’s department.
ICT would be a critical part of “professionalising” the public service.
Sisulu said that while ICT had been labelled as problematic in the government, it had not been without its successes, such as in the home affairs department where ICT services had been successfully implemented.
She said the government could not afford to have “ICT illiterate managers” and “unmanaged whizzkids”.
“Technology can be and must be designed and adapted to fit the needs of the poor in our country.”
She said one of the problems was in rolling out effective ICT services at a local government level, where rural municipalities did not have the revenue base to fund the most basic installation of these services.
The GovTech conference is an annual event hosted by the State Information Technology Agency, and is where the government meets with the ICT companies and their representatives.