This year’s State Information Technology Conference (GovTech) 2016 is being hosted in Gauteng, a stellar example of government’s “e-strategy” which aims to improve service delivery for all.
GovTech 2016 is being hosted by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), a major driver of “e-government”, together with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
The Honourable David Makhura, Premier of Gauteng, participated with a number of representatives from state in a high-level plenary, marking the opening of GovTech 2016 on 31 October at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
The premier said that he was proud of the progress Gauteng had achieved in positioning itself as a “smart” province that was being administered by a “smart” government.
“E-government initiatives in the province are tearing down walls of ‘red tape’ and improving access to state for citizens. It is making government transparent and accountable to its citizens, rooting out inefficiencies,” says Makhura.
He said that the province would continue to invest in information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, having already harnessed the power of ICTs to improve accessibility to education and healthcare.
Makhura also praised the municipalities of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni for the role that they had played in rolling our free Wi-Fi for citizens and their ongoing drive towards transitioning into “smart” cities.
The province is already host to about 1 500 kilometres (km) of fibre-optic cables and 900 free public Wi-Fi hotspots. He reported that his government was well on track to boosting this to 2 250 km of fibre-optic network and 1 550 free public Wi-Fi hotspots.
He said that his Province understood that access and connectivity were essential to retaining Gauteng’s competitive economic position, making up as much as 35% of the gross domestic product of South Africa and 10% of the continent’s. Gauteng is also considered the ICT hub of sub-Saharan Africa.
“We understand that access to broadband is of the same value as water and electricity for any properly-functioning city region. We also acknowledge that we are in the midst of an industrial revolution and need to ensure that the poor and marginalised are included as we move forward. Our ongoing focus on positioning ourselves as a smart province needs to create black industrialists, develop small, medium and micro enterprises and start-ups in all sector of Gauteng’s economy,” said the premier.
Makhura also pointed to the important role that youth have to play in this new economy that had been “disrupted” for the better.
“This is an area where the youth already have ample experience, and will therefore be able to add significant value in government’s e-strategy,” he said.