Innovation and collaboration between the public and private sectors is key to the achievement of next-generation service delivery by the South African government.
That’s according to Vincent Williams, public sector Bubiness unit executive of Faritec, who believes that as computer literacy becomes part of the standard school curriculum, more and more citizens will become computer literate, facilitating communication with government agencies. By collaborating with the private sector, government will be able to gear up to meet future requirements.
“Accurate, meaningful information and the right technology will help government to tackle crime as well as many other critical issues in our country,” Williams says. “However, for this collaboration to work, the public and private sectors need to align their activities, and government needs to communicate its needs so that business can devise appropriate solutions.”
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are the foundation on which these goals are achieved. Formal partnerships tend to shorten the decision-making process and build trust, enabling public sector entities to concentrate on their core business, be it law and order, utilities or traffic control.
“As an IT specialist with a number of active PPPs, Faritec puts the full weight of its intellectual property and comprehensive resources to work from both a technology and business perspective. This enables us to better understand public sector requirements and develop a phased approach to accommodate every aspect from price to availability, location and convenience,” Williams says.
Commenting on the challenges facing government, Williams says government agencies are under immense pressure to make up-to-date information accessible to South African citizens.
“Currently, there is a tendency for government-related information to be scattered, hard to find and outdated,” he says. “A huge proportion of citizens are not computer literate, nor do they have access to PCs, so the government needs to find alternative ways of reaching the entire population with a consolidated database of accurate information.”
Further challenges in the public sector include the need to ensure the security of IT systems and infrastructure.
“Reports of pension schemes being defrauded and birth certificates and passports being forged have forced this issue into the spotlight. Physical security alone is no longer adequate. Government agencies need solid security across their entire information base, including restricted levels of access for individual employees and formal authorisation procedures.”