Let me begin by thanking all the Honourable members for their contributions to this debate.
We are all agreed on the potential of this Department to modernise the way in which government serves its citizens.
In this regard on-line registration of learners in Gauteng Schools, on line registration of service providers and on line submission of invoices are some of our important innovations.
Since the advent of the Common Platform, Gautengers can now access nine government services through a single window at the times most convenient to them. Our intention is that by 2019 thirty- two services will be available on the common platform.
We are also conscious as a department on the role we must play in helping Gauteng’s economy respond effectively to the so-called fourth industrial revolution.
In the year under review, we successfully hosted The Innovation and Technology Conference in partnership with the IT industry and tertiary institutions.
The Conference’s most important take home was the Innovation Forum which brings together government, the ICT sector and universities on an ongoing basis.
This forum supports research and development in Gauteng’s key economic sectors, it continually looks for ways to promote economic inclusion of tech start-ups in building the digital economy; and it works with our education system to support new career paths, economic productivity and entrepreneurship.
The Tsimologong partnership between ourselves and Wits University in Braamfontein GPG is attracting a range of high profile and significant Tech investments including:
• One of only seven global IBM research laboratories,
• Microfocus who has invested in the Dav Centre’s testing capacity;
• Maxim Digital’s applications development centre;
• and Telkom BCX who will be opening a data science academy in 2019.
These important developments talk to our achievements and the momentum we are building for Gauteng to position itself as the ICT hub of Southern Africa.
But as Honourable members have pointed out in the course of the debate establishing a new department and especially one with as ambitious a mandate as the Department of eGovernment also creates new challenges.
The first and most important challenge is the challenge of integration of ICT functions and capabilities across the city region.
As I said a couple of weeks ago the As- is Evaluation has given us important pointers on duplications, inefficiencies and weaknesses within GPG itself. We are currently working on eliminating these within provincial government to improve efficiencies and save costs.
The question we all need to address going forward is how can the three metros work together to combine their ICT programmes and budgets to build a truly integrated Smart City Region.
The first requirement for a Smart City Region is fast and effective connectivity. The Gauteng Broadband network has a fibre footprint which is unique in our province and our country. Nowhere else is there a network which not only links all important sites in the urban core, but has also consciously invested in last-mile capability in every township in the province.
This unique digital footprint is something recognised by SITA, our implementing partner for Phase Two of the Broadband Network.
While I share the concern Honourable members have regarding the delays in getting this important project off the ground, I want to argue today that this in the long run will benefit provincial government and the city region as a whole.
They say that madness is defined as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If the result we want is an integrated smart city region then we have to approach Broadband two in a different way from the way in which we approached broadband one.
This is what we are now discussing with SITA and Honourable members I would want to suggest to you today that we should not conclude our agreement with them until we have ironed out some very important questions:
1. Who else in the city region has an interest in using the Broadband network either at National or municipal level?
2. What capacity would be required of the Broadband network if it were to be shared by other levels of government
3. Is it possible to combine resources to achieve this vision?
In our view, given the current budget constraints that all levels of government are facing, this is the only responsible approach to phase two of the broadband network.
We have, as a provincial government a major asset in the Broadband network. We also have significant experience in successful applications development through the combined investment by both public and private sectors in our DAV Centre.
The Security Operations Centre is another major asset of this provincial government. Something unique in government ICT capability.
All of these assets provide important new opportunities for us if we are prepared to share them with SITA and with other levels of government.
So Honourable Members Watch this space…we have only just begun.
Forensic Audit into Air Robotics
This Audit was procured earlier this year. We had expected to receive the report in October. Yesterday the HOD received a letter from the Head of the Forensic Unit to say that the service provider needed more time to do further investigations and they would advise us in due course when we would receive the final report.