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Sebata improves financial management, reporting at municipalities

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Maletswai Local Municipality, based in the Eastern Cape town of Aliwal North, has awarded Sebata – a MICROmega company – its tender for the supply of a new financial management system.

The new system, SebataFMS (financial management system), will "go live" in early 2008, and will vastly improve financial management and reporting at the municipality. It also will significantly reduce queuing at municipal offices.
Maletwai Local Municipality falls within the jurisdiction of Ukhahlamba District Municipality, covering the north-western and Drakensburg mountain parts of the Eastern Cape Province.
Dewald Pretorius, business development manager at Sebata, says the system is tailor-made for local government and municipalities.
"Our organisation is adding value to service delivery in South African municipalities," Pretorius asserts.
SebataFMS is already functional in about 70 municipalities in South Africa, 47 municipalities and public entities in Namibia, at the Maseru City Council, and the Lesotho Electricity Corporation. SebataFMS is also currently being implemented at Cenored, a regional electricity distributor covering the central and northern parts of Namibia.
SebataFMS was developed in-house by Sebata's development team, and is sold as a complete integrated package with additional functionality – unlike other competing systems. SebataFMS is not limited, as it contains applications that extend beyond financial management. It incorporates everything a municipality needs: asset management, debt collection, pre-payment vending, payroll and human resources management.
"The whole idea behind the system is that it is more efficient from a financial perspective and will enhance daily service delivery," Phakamile Ngaki, CEO of Sebata, explains.
Municipalities can also activate or deactivate any number of modules in the system – depending on how well resourced the municipality is.
Maletswai Municipality had been running on an old and limited scale financial management system in dire need of improvement.
"We needed to get them to where they should be in terms of best practice municipal financial management and reporting," he says.
Sebata will be this municipality's end-to-end supplier. It will be responsible for providing all ICT hardware required for the system, as well as all services related to the implementation and sustaining operation of the system at the municipality.  
Sebata will be able to provide speedy and effective remote support to all users of the system at Maletswai Municipality. This will be possible through a system called SebataCONNECT, a direct connection structured as a virtual private network between the offices of the municipality and those of Sebata. SebataCONNECT is intended to significantly reduce turnaround time – making it almost immediate. In addition, this system will also enable effective remote troubleshooting.
"This is the greatest benefit we have delivered," Ngaki points out, adding that it is much more cost-effective for a municipality to be directly connected to an all-in-one service provider. This eliminates risk, losses and inefficiencies associated with extended downtime on mission critical systems.
He adds that the new system will improve efficiency in operations of the municipality without reducing the number of staff unnecessarily.
"The efficiency of the system is not intended to reduce headcount," he maintains.
Although the system is very user-friendly, Sebata will provide comprehensive training to all staff expected to operate the system. "We will first provide all employees with an overview of the system and how to navigate it and then continue with detailed training. When the system "goes live" we will provide on-site support until we are comfortable that users of the system at the municipality are able to do their work on the system effectively and unaided," he concludes.