Launch: LGICT Network gives ICT in local government a voice

SALGA, the South African Local Government Association, is breaking new ground with the launch of the Local Government ICT (LGICT) Network, a dedicated online community for ICT practitioners at the coal face of public service delivery.

In line with SALGA‟s advisory and profiling mandate, the LGICT Network (www.lgict.org.za) will enable local authorities to share IT best practices, solutions, ideas and services – not only for their own mutual benefit, but for the public they serve.

Speaking at the launch of the LGICT Network on Monday, Douglas Cohen, Specialist: Economic Development and ICT at SALGA said: “Traditionally, municipalities operated in a very isolated non-uniform manner and the vast majority are -ill-prepared to face up to the ICT resource, skill and budget constraints. While differentiated requirements make a „universal out the box solution‟ approach difficult, we believe that municipalities – and the community at large – stand to gain considerable benefit from proven good practice approaches.”

According to Cohen, it is the exchange of actual municipal ICT practices that will lead to better networking, learning, peer-to-peer support and collaboration within the local government sphere. “More importantly, municipal ICT practitioners will be able to access, share and comment on what they feel is relevant ICT information, knowledge, news and good practice.”

Adds Freddy Mogotlane, IT Manager, Govan Mbeki Municipality: “The LGICT Network of SALGA is a great idea. I think it's long overdue. I hope that SALGA will launch it so that it can be a platform for the different municipalities to exchange ideas and information.”

The LGICT Network is modelled on the successful SA LED Network, an online portal hosted by SALGA to facilitate information-sharing on local economic development – a key mandate of local government. With over 2000 registered users to date, the LED Network experienced a huge uptake since SALGA took over the project early 2010 and refocused it on critical issues common to local government.

Based on an open community model, development of the LGICT portal is also in line with government‟s open source policy.

“We used Drupal, a web development framework well-known for its excellent support of web services and superior tools for information architecture. This provides us with the means to easily integrate with mobile platforms, social media and, ultimately, to empower the users,” says Christian Zange, Advisor for ICT & Development at SALGA. An added benefit, according to Zange, is the fact that Drupal has a growing ecosystem of South African Drupal developers and service providers.

Membership of the LGICT Network is free to all local government ICT role players and registration officially opened on Monday, 30 May. The community portal will also be a central component of ConnectIT, the local government ICT network event which takes place from 19-21 July at Birchwood, Johannesburg.

The following presentations available for download have been given during the launch event:

You are invited to join the LGICT Network (It's FREE) and start to ShareIT and DiscussIT: