GijimaAst wins Department of Home Affairs 'Who am I online' contract

GijimaAst to ensure Department of Home Affairs single citizen-centric application is ready for 2010.

Johannesburg, 15 Feb 2008

GijimaAst Group (GijimaAst) announced that it has been awarded the contract for the implementation of the Department of Home Affairs' single citizen-centric application, 'Who am I online (I am I said)'.

This new system is focused around the population registration, administration and management of life-events within a South African citizen's life, integrating into the existing Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). Furthermore, it paves the way for future smart chip-based technologies such as the electronic passport, smart card ID, electronic health card, drivers' licence etc.

As part of the implementation of 'Who am I online (I am I said)', GijimaAst, together with its consortium members of various BEE companies, will undertake a system renewal for the Department of Home Affairs.

This will include a particular focus on key immigration systems such as visas, permits and movement control. Integral to this project is GijimaAst's ability to successfully implement, while delivering the necessary economies of scale to allow the flexibility to plan for future ICT initiatives for the department.

The implementation of the system is a prerequisite for the issuance of electronic passports and smart ID cards in the country, and brings South Africa in line with the future technology trends adopted and implemented by various countries since 11 September 2001.

"With both the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup coming to South Africa, it is estimated that over half-a-million people will enter the country for each of the events. This is over and above the normal flow of people to and from South Africa," notes Robert Matana Gumede, Executive Chairman of GijimaAst.

"We are thrilled and humbled to be working with the Department of Home Affairs and State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to deliver the most important project - 'Who am I online (I am I said)', a technologically advanced system that provides immigration officials, the SA Police Services, National Health and Emergency services, Transportation and Revenue services, to name just a few, with a single view of information for each and every person that enters and leaves the country. This will eradicate red tape (eg, manual processing) in the issuance of visas and other permits, and is therefore a crucial component in the drive for organising the best FIFA World Cup ever held."

SITA embarked on a tender process in March 2006 where several local and international companies responded to the 'Who am I online (I am I said)' tender. In September 2006, after a gruelling transparent tender evaluation process and oral presentations by the short-listed companies to the various tender committees, the SITA Tender Board - Supplier Selection Authority (Recommendation Committee) finally recommended GijimaAst as the successful bidder for the +R2 billion contract to the then Director General (DG) of the Department of Home Affairs.

The final award was delayed for 12 months due to the departure of the ex DG and the chief information officer (CIO). Furthermore, Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula appointed a multiparty task team to review the department's IT projects and operations. The task team presented its report and recommendation to the Minister and Parliament, which led to the appointment by Cabinet of Mavuso Msimang as the new DG in May 2007.

After almost a year, the tender has now been awarded by the Department of Home Affairs through its DG, Mavuso Msimang, who is charged with the responsibility to turn around the ailing department. Some of the companies that were vying for the tender are DiData/Ideco, Unisys, Business Connexion, Arivia.kom and others.

Mavuso Msimang, also known as "Mr Turnaround" for his ability to transform and ensure that parastatals and departments become efficient and business-like, with improved service delivery to the citizens, has since his appointment embarked on turning around the misfortunes of the embattled Department of Home Affairs. Just like in the SA Parks Board, SITA and now the Department of Home Affairs, Mavuso Msimang has his task cut out.

This new 'Who am I online (I am I said)' project will ensure that the department and country is ready to host the hundreds of thousands of soccer fans during the FIFA World Cup and all visitors/tourists to the country. More importantly, all South Africans will receive greater benefits as their interaction with the Department of Home Affairs will be enhanced through improved, efficient and effective service delivery, underpinned by a superior technology that will be automated.

The multibillion-rand project has been divided into two phases as the department and SITA needed to accelerate its implementation, since it is already over 10 months behind schedule.

Both Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and DG Mavuso Msimang are committed in successfully turning around the department. Mavuso Msimang's successful stint as CEO of SITA is yielding fruit for the Department of Home Affairs, as Msimang has extensive knowledge of ICT and IT as an enabler in service delivery.

The success of the Department of Home Affairs is crucial as it is the only government department that touches citizens from birth to death. The 'Who am I online (I am I said)' project is therefore crucial for the country beyond 2010.


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Kim Polley
ChilliBush Communications
(011) 646 7152