One of the foremost challenges facing government has been to increase the implementation of information and communication Technologies (ICTs) into the country's rapidly expanding economy.
A partnership signed between MTN Business and SITA (State Information Technology Agency), tackles the challenge head-on, by offering secure mobile and network solutions to government departments, to enable them to accelerate service delivery to the people of South Africa.
The partnership agreement was signed at a media conference during the annual SITA GovTech 2007 conference in Cape Town.
Buckley McGrath, executive of MTN Business, stated that the partnership between the public agency and Africa's leading telecommunications company, has created an opportunity to provide a secure mobile customised solution through an innovative product called MOBiGOV, to the government and its departments.
"The aim of the partnership is to encourage government departments to increase their uptake and usage of ICTs, in order to improve service delivery. As a public sector agency, SITA was our natural partner of choice in this development. SITA is mandated to assist government to be more productive in the ICT arena. Providing them with the MOBiGOV product gives SITA an effective tool with which to deliver on its mandate - a solution to offer to all government departments which enables them to be connected to their offices, 24/7, while they are on the go," comments McGrath.
"And, more importantly, the MTN Business and SITA partnership alleviates the serious ICT security threat experienced in the past, as a result of government departments accessing applications such as e-mail, intranet, Internet, etc, via a public Internet domain."
Powered by MTN Business, MOBiGOV is the first mobile and network solution offered under the mobility partnership between SITA and the telecommunication service providers. It is a service that facilitates secure access through SITA into the Government network, by utilising MTN Business' First Tier ISP and mobile broadband technology. The service is available to all government departments irrespective of the service provider platform they use. SITA will create the access and offer the services for departments, agencies and organisations.
Moses Mtimunye, chief of Strategic Services (acting) at SITA, states that integral to SITA's strategy is the formation of partnerships and strategic alliances with private companies within the ICT industry to provide specific solutions which add value to their clients.
"The partnership with MTN Business builds on this and thus makes business sense. The huge penetration of mobile devices within this country paves the way for the access of government services anywhere and at anytime. This partnership brings in the elements of collaboration and an integrated approach to service delivery.
"Our partnerships should assist SITA in achieving cost savings through the economies of scale while increasing service delivery capabilities of government. Collaboration with the ICT industry such as the one with MTN Business, is a clear indication of SITA's intention to go the partnership route as articulated at GovTech 2006.
"These strategic alliances with SITA are key to improving government's administrative efficiency and service delivery. The integration of information and communication technology systems as done here, is vital to arm government with the necessary tools to enhance legal compliance, and data and information security.
The benefits of MOBiGOV from MTN Business and SITA, include:
* Security - secure, end-to-end and integrated mobile access to applications with rapid retrieval and downloading of confidential government information in the SITA environment.
* Pervasive access - broadband access to government departments' applications 'everywhere you go' through MTN's mobile network.
Customisation - a direct relationship with MTN that will tailor mobile offerings according to that department's requirements.
Control - full control of the front-end portion of the platform by department through a dedicated departmental access point network (APN).
* Support - SITA will address all back-end security issues faced by the department.