Government representation was conspicuoulsy absent from CITI's recent Software Engineering Colloquiem, although the event received "tremendous" support from industry and academia. 

The Colloquium was designed to elicit constructive solutions to the industry's ongoing challenges and help local software development companies sell more product and service, both locally and internationally.
At the outset, CITI conducted a snap survey of local business to ascertain problems or "pain points" that businesses are experiencing in terms of software development.
The survey, conducted by Knowledge Crucible, raised some serious critisism about the current state of affairs in the local development industry.
The report points to a severe lack of appropriate skills, little government support and a perceived lack of academic relevance, all of which stirred up industry debate.
"We received an astonishing response to the findings of the report," says Viola Manual, executive director of CITI. "Quotes from respondents referring to our software engineering graduates as 'intellectually lazy' caused quite a buzz."
CITI invited delegates from industry, academia and government to the Colloquium to ensure collective solutions were found for industry challenges.
"Given the level of criticism leveled at academia in the report findings we were expecting academic representatives to be defensive. We were pleasantly surprised by the commitment and openness with which they approached the proceedings," Manuel adds.
"We were, however, deeply concerned by the apathy of government. We had a representation from the City of Cape Town and briefly by provincial government but, despite multiple contacts, no-one from national government attended."
Because of this, CITI has sent a report-back document, outlining possible solutions to nurture and grow the software industry, to the departments of Trade & Industry, Science & Technology, and Education & Communications ­- all of whom where originally invited to attend.
The report has been sent to opposition parties, civil society and NGOs.
"If government couldn't, for whatever reasons, attend the event, CITI would like them to respond to the document sent to them," says Manuel.
"If a common solution to growing this industry is to be found, it has to be a collective solution. Government, industry and academia working in isolation and often at
cross-purposes, is not helping this industry.  In fact, if this situation continues we are at risk of loosing further ground to our international counterparts."
The most recent edition of the International Institute for Management Development's "World Competitiveness Yearbook" shows South Africa has fallen from position 38 in 2006 to 50 this year.  Manuel says this countrywide trend will be echoed in the software industry if action is not taken.
CITI supports the goals of ASGISA and one of its key objectives is to grow the number of jobs in the IT sector. However, Manuel says that the opportunities for broader economic growth through the software development industry are enormous and cannot be overlooked by government.
Manuel also points to the long-term and sustainable nature that high-tech job creation offers growing economies and says South Africa should be implementing 10- to 15-year plans in the same way as countries such as Brazil, Ireland and Israel have done.
"While the government has pointed to the BPO industry as a key way to create jobs, and we laud that, producing one competent software engineer will result in a multitude of supporting IT jobs. Research has also shown that for every job created in the IT sector, four additional jobs are created in the greater economy. You don¹t have to be an economist to see the benefits of growing the number of high-tech skills in this country," Manuel adds.
The full report-back document, as well as supporting documentation, is available for public viewing at