Linking Public Service Delivery and Technology in a Municipal Information Society in South Africa

Type Journal Article - Information Technology for Developing Countries
Title Linking Public Service Delivery and Technology in a Municipal Information Society in South Africa
Volume 22
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 8-12
lectronic government (eGovernment) holds the promise of increasing the effectiveness of public service delivery and enhancing the ability of citizens to interact with their government in meaningful ways. While there is much hyperbole surrounding eGovernment, there has been considerable transformation in the ways government and the governed interact with one other (Worrall, 2012: i). The main challenge by local government is its ability to effectively utilise technology for its everyday performance. The South African Minister for Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu, notes that “eGovernment is an essential component to improve service delivery for all”, to build an inclusive information society (IS) and to integrate government information systems that provide optimised service delivery to government information and services (Sisulu, 2012). However, the interaction by a local government (such as eThekwini Municipality in South Africa) with its population may be constrained by information and communication technologies (ICT) because a significantly large population who exist outside the World Wide Web (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Web’), do not have access to the Internet - paradoxically they are the ones most dependent on publically provided services from a local government which is responsible for providing services to its citizens in a defined geographical area. According to South Africa’s Census 2011, a relatively high proportion of households (64.8%) in South Africa do not have access to the Internet (Statistics South Africa, 2012: 64).

The objectives of this article are twofold:
§ To discuss the importance of harnessing appropriate ICT for enabling service delivery in municipal areas in South Africa; and
§ To posit that from deploying appropriate ICT in a municipal area such as broadband services in the eThekwini Municipal Area (EMA) in South Africa, a Municipal Information Society (MIS) can emerge with a framework that will serve to facilitate service delivery and forms of engagement (e.g. communication) with households, the private sector and civil society.

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