Framework for e-governance to improve service delivery for local authorities in South Africa
E-governance is the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by the public sector with the aim of improving information and service delivery, encouraging citizen participation in the decision-making process and making government more accountable, transparent and effective. There is slow usage and uptake of e-governance initiatives by citizens despite the interactive features available on the internet. The aim of this study is to examine and explain the uptake and usage of ICT by citizens, assess and explain the services offered to citizens, and examine existing e-governance and e-government theories and practice in order to draw lessons from where it is successful in order to develop e-governance framework for service delivery for local authorities in South Africa. The increased use of ICT as part of e-governance has given birth to new governance in South Africa municipalities for better service delivery to citizens. This study uses the Technology Acceptance Model, the Synthesized Stage Model and the Interactive-Service Model to establish the uptake and usage of ICT by citizens. Mixed method research was conducted through questionnaires and interviews from three (3) Metropolitan Municipalities and three (3) Local District Municipalities in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. 600 questionnaires were distributed to citizens and six (6) executive members from municipalities were interviewed. Data collected through questionnaires was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software. Factor analyses were performed on internet usage and connectivity, municipality services, service delivery output, impact of e-governance and e-governance outcome. Data from interviews was analysed using Atlas.ti 7 and eleven (11) themes emerged. Results of quantitative study found that respondents who participated in the study have the same knowledge on the use of ICT tools as part e-governance. Results of qualitative study revealed that e-governance should be looked at through the lens of a full ecosystem that enables citizens, business and Small to Medium Enterprises to interact with government using full range of electronic media. The study found that Metro Municipalities in South Africa are implementing e-governance as a full ecosystem by investing in ICT through various applications and platforms that allow citizens to access online services from municipalities. Results indicated that Metro Municipalities in South Africa are taking a new landscape by moving from just 'governance' to 'e-governance' by allowing public participation through technology and engaging Public-Private-Partnership in rolling out ICT initiatives. Results from this research contribute to the body of knowledge for low uptake and usage of ICT by citizens at local government level in South Africa by providing an insight into the underlying challenges. The study provides a theoretical and practical insight on factors why local authorities are offering poor service delivery to their citizens in South Africa. The study also assesses the relevance and validity of e-governance and e-government theories and practice in service delivery in South Africa. The study managed to develop an e-governance framework for improving service delivery for local authorities in South African context.