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Public Sector, Municipalities And Government
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Public Sector, Municipalities And Government



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  • 1. VALUE PROPOSITION Public sector and Government Service delivery has been one of the key cornerstones and a key performance area that enjoys prominence in strategic agendas of all three spheres of government. Although the national, provincial & local government spheres are required by the Constitution of the Republic to render to citizens various services, the latter is always at the coalface of service delivery. Most of the basic services are core competencies of local government and as such, various pieces of municipal legislation attest to that. For instance, the following are key legislative pillars that address the roles and responsibilities of municipalities in some great detail:  Constitution of the Republic (Chapter 3 & 7)  White Paper on Local Government (1998)  Municipal Demarcation Act (1998)  Municipal Structures Act (1998)  Municipal Systems Act (2000)  Disaster Management Act (2002)  Municipal Finance Management Act (2003)  Municipal Property Rates Act (2004)  Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (2005) The above legislative pillars have various provisions that highlight obligatory services by municipalities to communities. The non-compliance by many municipalities to put in place requisite systems to adhere to legislation has been said to be amongst the causes of the spate of municipal protests encountered in all the provinces. The duty to keep community members well versed and the constant feedback through a number of modes of communication as stipulated in Chapter 4 of the Municipal Systems Act are but some of the key features of the electronic service delivery components. Technological product offerings such as instant text messages (sms), of which citizens are exposed to, from the banking and the retail industries are somewhat important solutions to the ever changing expectations of service delivery by users of municipal services. The private sector has over the years offered to the market compelling services that have proved to be of pivotal importance in the reengineering of companies to optimize services in pursuit of attaining maximum profits. The turnaround time in the provision of core services played an immense role in the economic growths of many companies. Various bankable services explored by many companies in different industries have resulted in the growth of the clientele. As a result, the clientele have shaped their expectations of service provision around the private sector. Hence, the public sector is under tremendous pressure to at least meet the basics of service delivery in their core business. The purpose of the Electronic Service Delivery is to identify what capabilities all three spheres of government will need to do in the ever changing service delivery expectations of citizens, business and other stakeholders. Of primary importance, the electronic service delivery sets a much clearer perspective of how current technological developments and trends could transform service delivery capabilities of municipalities in particular. Put it differently, the electronic service delivery could be the best possible mechanism of intensifying the interface between the municipalities; communities and other strategic stakeholders who rely on municipal services to advance their various business interests and exceed their targets. -1-
  • 2. VALUE PROPOSITION Public sector and Government Driven by the rapid economic growth and resources boom associated with developmental agenda of government, it is critical that municipalities and other government departments reassess their capabilities to respond to the growing service delivery expectations of the citizens and business. The important role of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) as economic growth enabler and new ways to deliver services through economic channels such as “sms for service delivery” should be key strategic goals in the revenue enhancement strategies of municipalities and government departments. This would enable the public sector to enjoy maximum benefits the private sector has been exploiting to maximize profits. For instance, industries such as tourism, banking and retail are increasingly grooming the citizens to transact through electronic means and thereby remove constraints of location. Consequently, citizens now expect to transact with service providers through channels of their choice convenient to them. KEY MUNICIPAL SERVICES BENEFICIAL TO ELECTRONIC SERVICE DELIVERY o Communicate with consumer groups, landowners, tenants and community reps o Meetings schedules communications o Rates/Electricity o Water o Billing System o Traffic Fines o License fees o ID Application Process o Social Grants It is apt to mention that the billing systems of the majority of municipalities in the country are marred with immense problems. Despite many metros and secondary cities having outsourced the Meter Reading Services & Electricity Disconnections/Connections, the problems do not abate. Worse, the personnel employed as Meter Readers are not quite passionate about their work. There is no system in place to give them incentives for taking correct readings in all households in municipalities. Due to security infrastructure in many households, their work is rendered fruitless due to inaccessibility to take accurate readings. Consequently, the concept of “average thumb suck” creeps in and unfortunately, municipalities are potential losers in terms of the revenue due to them. CoreTalk Services would put the municipalities in touch with their ratepayers primarily to accelerate service delivery and better the lives of all the people. This is only possible if the database of municipalities have accurate information to enable CoreTalk services to optimize constant communication on services rendered by municipalities. With the sky rocketing number of cell phone users in the country, direct and instant communication is more than apt to propel municipalities to increase their revenue collection. Furthermore, many municipalities have received adverse audit opinions and audit disclaimers due to their failure to collect monies owed to them. Any failures of whatever measure invariably contribute negatively to the economic health of any municipality. -2-
  • 3. VALUE PROPOSITION Public sector and Government Through the CoreTalk Services, municipalities stand a good chance of eliminating impediments to service delivery and payment of services by communities. The following spin offs will be immensely notable: o Municipalities will be able to send sms (text message) to any account holder informing and requesting payment of services o Ratepayers will assist municipalities to capture accurate meter readings either electricity or water o Municipalities’ billing systems will reflect the accurate water or electricity consumed by households in any given time o Ratepayers could sms back their queries and a prompt response is guaranteed o All helpdesk could be transferred to cheaper, more accountable and traceable requests o Ratepayers would be guaranteed to receive notices of municipal meetings o Informing customers on unplanned and planned maintenance as well as outages/load shedding information (given the current electricity supply capacity shortage in the country) o Creating awareness and education on energy efficiency campaigns or developments. Since municipalities and government departments in general have specific performance targets to achieve, it is prudent that the progress and the outcomes of service delivery in all areas be communicated to communities and the business communities alike. This would enhance confidence by both communities and undoubtedly give credence to both investment attraction and retention strategies put in place by municipalities and government. The benefits to be accrued with the electronic service delivery product offerings would transform government services to be provided holistically to realize valuable outcomes to citizens and business. In this way, the spirit and the letter of one of the key government policies: BATHO PELE—PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST would be a daily practice. But more importantly, the government, through service provision and being in constant communication with citizens would indeed walk the talk of being “PEOPLE CENTRED GOVERNMENT”. Put it simply, all three spheres of government in South Africa will be leaders in providing efficient integrated services that are primarily geared towards addressing the needs of citizens and business and thereby, enabling a vigorous interaction with government in a manner, time and place of their choice. This would enrich the service delivery culture of the government. -3-
  • 4. VALUE PROPOSITION Public sector and Government The majority of people in South Africa own mobile telephones and as such, it becomes pretty less difficult for municipalities to remind them of services due to be paid for or address any form of a query by the citizen. To a very large extent, there would be recognition of the public value for all services provided by the government to citizens. It is worth a mention that there are both benefits for government, citizens and business. For government, the following benefits will be realized: o Increased performance in provision of services o Customer trust and confidence o Competitiveness o Productivity gains o Service time reduction o Revenue enhanced o Reduction of queue o Reduction of telephone calls taken and made o Reduction of costs associated with printed publications o Reduction of administrative burden o Using technology as tool for capital growth and change o Effectiveness and professionalism of service provision For citizens and business, the following will be realized: o Wider accessibility and information dissemination o Convenience of access to real time services o Intuitive and personalized services o Quality and choice of service delivery channels o Transactional efficiencies o Interactive services o Timeously paying for services provided o 24/7 access o Better communication and networking o Increased confidence and trust in government and accuracy of information it provides o Reduction of complexities of location o Increased opportunities to engage with government to compliment or complain -4-