Video: PSICT Forum turns spotlight on collaboration

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The Public Sector ICT Forum (PSICT) held its first KZN-focused event on 1 October.

The topic of the forum, which was held as a hybrid event sponsored by MTN Business, was ‘Collaboration as a driver for digital transformation in the public sector’. Speakers and panellists examined how collaboration can lead to enhanced service delivery, the streamlining of resources and reduction in state expenditure.

Alex Mthiyane, radio talk show host and columnist at Gagasi FM, welcomed the guests at the live event as well as the delegates connecting from across all their provinces.

Machawe Dlamini, senior manager: Regional Sales Operations KZN at MTN, said: "It's a first for the region, to be able to host the forum, and we are proud as a region. The most important thing for us is to ensure that through such collaborations, we're able to drive initiatives and ensure that eventually, everyone in our country and society is able to enjoy a modern quality of life."

Guest speaker Nomusa Dube-Ncube, KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC, said: “The network on the ground that is available is massive. But that network is not being utilised to the maximum. Yet it's there, underground. Probably it's time that we honestly start sensitizing government of the importance of using technology and be[ing] able to deliver those services quicker, efficiently and effectively to our communities… but also to ensure that we have leadership that is able to see the kind of opportunities that are available with the collaborations that we can forge as various players within the ICT space.”

Nitesh Kara, manager, Transnet National Ports Authority, took part in the panel discussion and said: “We tend to work in a sort of silo situation, which results in a low or no degree of integration. And that in terms of cost results in duplication of efforts... different departments, serving constituents or stakeholders, and it just becomes a point of frustration when you're dealing with civil society, business and the economy as a whole.”

Thandeka Ellenson, Chief Executive Officer, Moses Kotane Institute, said there was no reciprocity. “Collaboration means everybody brings something to the table.”

Khetha Cele, group CIO, Ithala Development Finance Corporation, stressed the importance of interdepartmental communication at both a micro level and macro level. “Hhow often do we have engagements with Moses Kotane Iinstitute, with our service providers? So what's the level of communication that will foster that?”

Dube-Ncube also took part in the panel and said she was “concerned about the amount of money that governments spend on this lack of integration”.

Zolile Scott Gumede, regional sales manager for Public Sector Business at MTN KZN said: “Mainly we are focusing in areas outside of Itheku (eThekwini). We go to uMkanyakude, or Pongola...we go to all these far-flung outreach areas where children only get access to connectivity when they reach university levels.”

Nic Chauke, head of National and Regions, MTN, noted in his presentation that there's been a single service provider that was rendering the service to all government entities. “I think about 87% of the government entities are participating in the RT15 [Contract]. So that meant that most of the other service providers were outside of that realm, not deriving any revenue. If there was a single service provider that was rendering services to government, why is it that they have not built the size and scale of network to what MTN has, or even better? That's probably the glaring question... We've got to make sure that we have transformed at a regional level.”

Mandla Mkhwanazi, PSICT chairman and digital business leader at Transnet, said: “We are driving a lot of things. Digitisation, cyber security... So we collaborate with those who make the public sector safe, and [ensure] service delivery to our citizens, and the country.

In closing, Alex Mthiyane, thanked the speakers, delegates and the event sponsor, MTN Business. "We thank you very much − the way you collaborated with ITWeb, it was fantastic. To all of you ladies and gentlemen, thank you and thank you again to the Forum for doing another brilliant engagement. Syabonga from KZN.”

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