Why South Africa must prioritise connectivity, cloud for public sector
The South African government must continue to drive technology into the public sector as it pursues its digital economy strategy, highlighting the fact that for most governments it is not a question of whether or not to become digital, but rather when.
This was one of the outcomes of the Huawei e-Government Summit, part of the company’s Connect 2021, hosted recently.
Huawei Director of Public Sector QiMeng said: “Innovative technologies are increasingly being used in more industries and diversified ecosystems are driving more dynamic markets across the world. As a result, South Africa needs sustainable infrastructure development to further drive the value of digital technologies in stimulating the development of the local digital economy.”
Huawei Executive Industry Solutions Manager, Christo Abrahams, observed that high adoption rates of innovative technologies and the rollout of digital platforms in the private sector accelerated by COVID-19, had resulted in the personalisation of services now expected by citizens who want the same level of services from government as they receive from their banks or retailers.
But, Department of Public Service and Administration CIO, Mandla Ngcobo, noted it’s not a simple task to transform the public sector as it faces unique challenges in its transformation journey. If technologies are adopted into the public sector in a way that does not integrate different departments and ministries, it could result in the proliferation of technologies that are costly and inefficient.
“More often than not, when we talk about digital transformation, we tend to emphasise technology, but as the public service sector we need to put citizens needs at the centre,” said Ngcobo.
“Additionally, when we talk about digital government, we must ensure the administration of service provision to citizens is done in an impartial, fair and equitable manner. Accountability, ethics and transparency is also key,” he said.
Huawei ICT senior specialist, Rose Moyo, noted that connectivity would lie at the centre of any efforts to achieve this transformation of government towards intelligent services.
“Connectivity is the key enabler of technologies such as Cloud but the digital economy is driving up the demand for bandwidth significantly which could be costly if network infrastructure is not improved and connectivity is not increased,” said Moyo.
Huawei has also positioned its service delivery strategy and value proposition on cloud and cloud growth, describing it as one of the biggest enablers of digital transformation in the public sector.
The company asserts that a shift to cloud computing will open up avenues to other emerging technologies which have the potential to bring meaningful change to the availability, accessibility and quality of government services.
“Cloud will enable government to modernise services that are entrenched in legacy systems and quickly create citizen-facing services,” said Vice President of Huawei Cloud Southern Africa, Michael Langeveld. “However, government can’t do this on (its) own and Huawei is committed to helping government on this journey with our partner ecosystem and through significant investment.”
Langeveld concluded that meaningful collaboration between the private and public sector would be key to leveraging the full potential of the South African economy and driving the transformation of government with digital technologies.