Microsoft South Africa, The South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Local Government Sector Education Training Authority (LG SETA) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) have signed a public-private partnership aimed at improving the use of technology and injecting IT skills into the local government sector in South Africa.
The Municipal Skills Development Programme will be piloted in Eastern and Western Cape provinces during April and launched nationally in Northern Cape later this year.
“Our company is focusing on education, promoting local innovation in South Africa and reducing the unemployment rate. IT is critical in helping improve effectiveness and efficiency of the local government.
Over the next few years, we will be helping the government to use technology to enhance service delivery. We’ll do this by placing top graduates in local municipalities, training municipal employees and providing specialized seminars for municipal managers”, commented Mteto Nyati, MD of Microsoft South Africa, at the signing event.
Microsoft will accommodate its Student-to-Government (S2G) programme in the municipal scheme, training the unemployed and retrenched graduates with the IT skills required to support local government. The initiative is built on the successful Student-to-business (S2B) programme already rolling out in the country.
The S2B programme has already seen 2500 unemployed graduates who have undergone training, now working in various companies owned by Microsoft’s certified partners. According to the agreement signed today, local government staff will benefit from training conducted by various Microsoft certified training partners and DBSA approved trainers.
Nyati told ITNewsAfrica.com that the funds have already been secured for this year and the project will see a number of annual phases, adding that Microsoft will cover all training costs.
According to Xolile George, CEO of SALGA, the local government sector lacks “ hardcore ICT skills that make the systems run altogether” and the recent agreement will contribute to the improvement of service delivery, leadership and technological skills in the municipalities.
In the recent budget speech, South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced a budget of R55 for the improvement of service delivery and financial management at municipal level.