Knowledge and use of Information and Communication Technologies in the Provincial Department of Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs
Kolojane, Mokete Patrick
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As far back as 1998, the South African government through the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) outlined the objectives for Government Information Project (GIP) that were essentially about promotion of information as a strategic enabler of public services through alignment of information and IT strategies with government business strategies, objectives and processes, and also building capacity in government to better manage information (GCIS, 1998). This bold pronouncement was followed-up by a number of initiatives that were geared towards the realization of the outlined GIP objectives in the main driven by the DPSA. The latest of these initiatives was development of the Corporate Governance of ICT Policy Framework that was adopted by cabinet in November 2012. This framework was developed to provide guidance to South African public service to get the proper institutional arrangements in place that will lead to the realization of the GIP objectives. This study was conducted in order to establish the usage and knowledge levels of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the Department of Culture, Arts & Traditional Affairs (CATA) in the North West Province. The findings in this regard revealed that even though there are ICTs that are used by the department, they are mainly used for internal administrative functions of the CATA and not more for the realization of the GIP objectives. In short, they are used more for e-administration instead of e-services as envisaged in the Government Information Project. This development, the study revealed, can in the main be attributed to lack of relevant skills particularly by departmental seniors that would enable them to drive the GIP agenda. Other factors that are also cited as significant are inadequate ICT organogram as well as lack of working relation between departmental business and ICT. In order for the situation to be transformed for the better, the study recommends capacitation of senior management on skills that will make them aware of the value that can be added by ICTs, leading to them being able to drive the e-government initiative departmentally. This will pave the way for correct institutional arrangements to be in place through implementation of the CGICTPF; this initiative will also need to be driven by the department’s senior management. In order for the department to review the ICT organogram appropriately, there is need for an assessment conducted to look at the department’s internal capabilities in comparison to those that are required to move the department in a better position. The results of this exercise will lead to the establishment of a well-informed ICT organogram that will likely yield positive results as far as GIP is concerned.