E-Government Considerations: A Focus on South Africa

E-Government Considerations: A Focus on South Africa

Shawren Singh
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8358-7.ch016
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Governments are faced with a number of challenges that are due to the increase in the size of the population and the increase in demands from the population for efficient and effective access to services. While the needs of the citizens have evolved, government structures still reflect industrial-age organisational thinking based on a command-and-control model (Tapscott, 2010). In order to deliver services, substantial funding is required; at the same time, there has been a feeling that government has consumed too large a portion of the national income and that in general the payments made by the citizens have got to be curtailed. In this dilemma of being able to balance the supply and demand for services, government has looked at using ICT to modernise the service-delivery process. The South African government is using ICT to modernise its process; this chapter is an overview of the South African context.
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Counties worldwide are constantly creating new and innovate applications of ICT (Naidoo et al., 2011). One of the advantages of living in the 21st century is our unique ability to watch the world develop, from the development of the Europe Union to the dismantling of apartheid. With these social changes in the background, in the foreground there have been a ICT revolution. One of these technological innovations is the Internet, which has lead to the development of e-Government. Just as during the 19th century gold rush, the Internet has attracted many eager governments who believe that this technology can be used to trasformate government. While explorers in the 19th century died in the harsh elements, today’s e-Government developers only lose tax payers monies (Amor, 2001). In the design and development of these e-Government applications there exist several challenges. The manner in which these challenges are managed do affect the outcome of the application. Few government departments are praised for the appropriate use of ICT in the execution of their mandates. The South African Revenue Services (SARS) is one government agency that has effectively integrated ICT tools in the execution of its mandate (Cloete, 2012). One of the important attributes of the organisations management of its ICT is not only the leadership it offers but also the consistency of leadership over time. An analysis of SARS leadership structure shows that the organisation has stable leadership, see Table 1. Commissioners and CIO remain with the organisation without being redeployed to other sections of government and SARS reports on their ICT strategy in their annual reports.

Table 1.
Heat map outlining SARS leadership
YearCommissionerCIOTechnology Strategy in Annual Report
1998-1999Mr. P J GordhanMr. P PienaarYes
1999-2000Mr. G Keyter
2002-2003Mr. Ken JarvisYes
2006-2007Mr. Barry Hore
2008-2009Mr. O Magashula
2012-2013Mr. I Pillay

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