E-Government’s Role in Poverty Alleviation: Case Study of South Africa

Stephen M. Mutula (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 122
EISBN13: 9781466602229|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-117-1.ch011
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Governments the world over are increasingly implementing e-government systems as part of public sector reforms to enhance good governance and service delivery. This chapter reviews successful e-government projects in South Africa. E-governance is seen as a panacea to country’s several challenges of service delivery, poverty, inequality, democracy, respect for human rights, and corruption. The South African government understands the urgency of addressing poverty and improving service delivery to majority of citizens who were marginalized during white majority rule. Most of South Africa’s black majority, for example, lives in poverty compared to their white counterparts. To address these imbalances projects are guided by the principle of public service for all under the brand Batho Pele (meaning people first). Some e-government projects in South Africa have borne fruits; they empowered people to overcome development obstacles, have helped fight poverty and uplift the socio-economic and living standards of citizens. The challenges facing the e-government projects include high costs of broadband access, diversity of languages that need to be converted to the language of the Internet, red tape and bureaucratic system, as well as financial sustainability and the use of top down design approaches in projects with little or no initial user involvement.
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