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Tech helps Gauteng fight ‘ghost’ government employees

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Gauteng finance MEC and head of the Department of e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko. (Photo source: Twitter)
Gauteng finance MEC and head of the Department of e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko. (Photo source: Twitter)

Gauteng has set aside R1.4 billion of its budget for the rollout of high-speed broadband over the 2020 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF).

Gauteng finance MEC and head of the Department of e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, on Thursday delivered the 2020/21 provincial budget, revealing the funds are to ensure access to deprived areas over the next three years.

Nkomo-Ralehoko pointed out that economic growth and social transformation cannot implement itself; therefore, investment in skills, capabilities and innovation are required for a modern economy.

The Gauteng provincial government (GPG) has, in the past, reiterated its position to build an innovation ecosystem in order to become a leader in the ICT, research and development sectors.

In 2015, the GPG established the e-government department, which has been designated as the driver of ICT and innovation in Gauteng.

The MEC noted that as part of its modernisation initiatives, the provincial government has prioritised broadband rollout over the 2020 MTEF.

“A capable state also has to harness advances in technology that enable quicker and more efficient delivery of services, given that we are in the fourth industrial revolution, where ICT reigns supreme,” she said.

Ghost personnel

Turning to digitising government service, the MEC noted that an identity verification solution has been introduced to eliminate “ghost employees”.

The MEC has allocated R783 million over the MTEF to digitise 100% of government services.

The budget will be used to provide transversal electronic systems used for financial and personnel management, communication services and other government services in the Gauteng province.

“We implemented the Identity Verification Solution to eliminate ‘ghost employees’ and ensured that all salaries are paid to authentic employees whose positions exist in the approved organisational structures of departments.”

ICT to the rescue

Part of the budget for crime will go towards introducing ICT services in Gauteng police stations, according to Nkomo-Ralehoko.

Some R302 million will be provided to fund the operations of a fully managed data centre and the Gauteng security operations centre, to manage and secure the government resources relating to IT, she noted.

Speaking on 24-hour news channel eNCA, the MEC revealed this is an effort to curb police dockets going missing.

“We are going to introduce ICT in the police stations now, so that at least when we take up cases, we punch them into the systems. Unlike now whereby we take your case and end up telling you that your docket has been missing. This is one of the measures we are introducing.”

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Government’s MEC of community safety, Albert Fritz, has slammed the ineffective use of police IT systems like e-docket software.

Dubbed the Integrated Case Docket Management System (ICDMS), the software was implemented in SA Police Service (SAPS) stations and the courts in 2017.

The ICDMS generates e-dockets predominantly used by detectives, while assisting in the management and administration of criminal cases, and inquests and enquiries on cases from when they are opened to when they are closed.

In a statement, Fritz says findings by the community safety department’s Docket Archive Store (DAS) assessment project show the software, which cost R614 million to implement, is not being effectively used.

The assessment took place between July and September 2019 and monitored the standard operating procedure of 11 stations in the province, which were predominantly murder and gang stations.

The purpose of the assessment was to determine the state and management of DAS, notes Fritz. “Our number one priority is the safety of every resident in the Western Cape. It is for this reason that we want to make sure the South African Police Service, and its systems, work optimally.

“As it stands, there is a mismanagement of information from the moment a SAPS official collates a docket, right through to when a person is released on parole.

“The various government institutions involved in arrests, prosecution, conviction and parole need to ensure better information sharing so that parole is not granted to undeserving persons. The systems that guide these processes need to be streamlined and better coordinated.”

“If used correctly, the ICDMS can be a powerful tool used to ensure that when a case reaches a prosecutor, it includes all the necessary information to ensure that a culprit does not get off lightly due to a lack of evidence.”

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