12 July 2018

Africa: Political Reluctance Hampers SA Digital Transformation

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Johannesburg — AN executive has emphasised on the need for decisive leadership around information and communications technology (ICT) deployment among state organs in South Africa.

Musa Mahlaba, recently-appointed Public Sector Regional Sales Director at Dell EMC, said digital transformation remained a challenge for most industries but the pains were felt most acutely in the sector.

"It's a key challenge for the public sector," said Mahlaba said.

He pointed out there was currently some direction around the most important points of what would make the economy and country work.

"But at a political level, we haven't had someone that knows ICT and reads it correctly so it is able to cascade down and be understood by the people who have to execute," he raised concern.

Mahlaba said while there were some competent office bearers with a genuine interest, the subject had not been presented as such that it could change the political or economic fortunes of South Africa.

"... and where it has been presented, the political has not been strong enough to act, sustain momentum and create an environment of continuity. Impact, sustainability and continuity are the principles that could lead us to leapfrog areas where we are laggards" Mahlaba emphasised.

Mashaba nonetheless cited examples of key departments that had "taken steps back as they moved forward" to prove that breakthroughs can be reached if there is engagement between the political and technological minds in a department.

Among examples he cited include the Department of Home Affairs, the integration by the Post Office with the grants systems and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

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