The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) will be hosting the 8th annual GovTech technology conference at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town from 20 to 23 October. GovTech is South Africa’s premier forum for showcasing, evaluating and exploring ICT innovations for application in the public sector, and is a platform for collaboration, capacity building and information sharing between government and the ICT sector.
The theme of this year’s conference, Innovation: Technology for 21st Century Government, presents SITA with the opportunity to showcase some of its own innovations and to learn from the innovations of others. Various sessions will explore the many ways in which emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile devices and the social media can be used to improve service delivery across all spheres of government.
“We are living in an age of information, and it is essential for South Africa to keep up with global developments,” says SITA CEO, Sithembiso Nomvalo. “Innovations in ICT are essential not only to facilitate the development agenda and to support economic competitiveness, but also to help government improve on service delivery.”
This is an objective clearly defined in the National Development Plan (NDP), which specifies such goals as using the social media to facilitate social inclusion, bridging the urban and rural divide through internet connectivity, facilitating the planned national health insurance scheme, centralising disaster management for extreme climactic events, reducing the red tape at border posts, and providing a single view of citizens for the purposes of delivering social grants.
“A deliberate focus at GovTech 2013 will be to engage policy drivers in government to enable a deeper fit between ICT’s enabling power and the national developmental agenda,” says Nomvalo. “This is SITA’s primary and on-going objective.”
Local and international experts in a number of ICT and governance areas will address delegates at the conference and update them on the latest developments in their fields.
Amongst these will be the Minister in the Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission, the Honourable Trevor Manuel, as well as former Director-General of Communications, Mr Andile Ngcaba, who is now the Executive Chairman of Dimension Data Middle East and Africa. Local and international case studies from both the public and private sectors will also be presented, and will be used as a means for sharing solutions to current challenges such as cyber security.
The keynote address will be delivered by the Minister of Public Services and Administration, the Honourable Lindiwe Sisulu.
There will also be a strong emphasis on youth and ICT, and a special panel will be convened on 23 October to address this specific issue. The focus here will be on ways in which to enable South Africa’s young people through technology so that they can participate actively and meaningfully in the knowledge economy.
The conference will further examine South Africa’s role in the Square Kilometre Array of the Centre for High Performance Computing, and explore possible benefits that could develop out of the country’s involvement in this global initiative.
“SITA has a key role to play in facilitating transformation, inclusion and development in South Africa,” says Nomvalo, “and we engage this role with commitment.
“We aim to fulfil these objectives by, amongst other things, providing better access to the internet, facilitating skills development and supporting enterprise development. It is only through technology that we will be able to address such issues as the poverty gap, and move forward confidently into the future.”