Implementation of e–administration for enhanced service delivery at Sedibeng District Municipality
Kwaledi, Ernest Oupa
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The Sedibeng District Municipality (SDM), according to its Integrated Development Planning Report 2009, is a Category C municipality established in the Gauteng Province. It is the only area of the Gauteng Province that is situated on the banks of Vaal River and Vaal Dam, covering the area formally known as the Vaal Triangle including of Nigel and Heidelberg. It includes the towns of Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark, Meyerton, and Heidelberg as well as the historic townships of Evaton, Sebokeng, Bophelong, Sharpville, and Ratanda, which have a rich political history and heritage. The SDM covers the entire southern area of Gauteng Province, extending along 120 km axis from East to West. The total geographical area of the municipality is 4630 square kilometers and the numbers of households living are 241223. In order to serve the communities, the municipality needs technologically advanced systems to deliver services efficiently. The study therefore focused on the implementation of e-administration for enhanced service delivery at SDM. The review of Sedibeng District Municipality Integrated Development Plan 2009 regarding service delivery does not indicate any statement recorded regarding e-government as the tool to help speedup service. According to SDM IDP, 2009 the Sedibeng District Municipality has other ICT initiatives such as the implementation of the CCTV in Vanderbijlpark CBD. While Sedibeng District Municipality Website 2009 states that the e-government will be implemented, even the Sedibeng District Municipality‘s website has outdated information. Other pages are still on development viz. visitors, business and residents. There is not much information on the clusters regarding their plans‖. In order to improve the challenge, the study hypothesized that ―lack of effective implementation of e-administration may lead to inefficient service delivery at Sedibeng District Municipality. The findings from the literature review and the empirical research support the central statement. Findings indicate that the SDM is aware regarding the significance of e-administration. The employees at the SDM are therefore receiving training from external service providers to enhance their expertise in the field of e-administration. The SDM needs to be aware and empower community members to understand the utility of e-administration for fast and convenient delivery of services. The SDM needs to invest in human resources to advance the service delivery through appointment of skilled and expert personnel. The adequate implementation of e-administration at the SDM level and the appropriate e-participation by the community members are the foundation blocks of improved and enhanced service delivery. The study recommends that SDM needs to appoint personnel advanced in technology; organize training sessions to enhance technological skills of existing employees on continuous basis; organize public participation forums for community members regarding the significance and utility of e-administration for improved service delivery; organize training sessions for community members to empower them with the technological means of participation; improve its website for the community members to log-in their requests; establish one-stop centres for the community members to utilize the e-administration. This is an imperative step as not all community members have access to computers and internet at home; deploy facilitators to train community members regarding the procedures of e-administration in their local language(s); and to improve on e-infrastructure in the form of establishment of kiosks in rural areas. This will assist geographically scattered community members to approach the municipal officials with ease The study recommends to further explore the concept of e-administration to combat bureaucracy and enhance transparency in the government processes in general and at the grass-roots level in particular.