Only 38 fully functional Thusong centres – DPSA
Speaking during her budget vote speech, acting Public Service and Administration minister, Mildred Oliphant, revealed that out of 100 ICT connected Thusong service centres across the country, 50 were validated and only 38 were declared fully functional.
“This year the ministry will strive to make sure that all the remaining Thusong service centres are fully functional in terms of ICT connectivity, as part of the effort to bring government closer to the people,” Oliphant noted.
Last year, the department revealed it had developed a blueprint to connect the centres and that the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) would also deploy satellite connectivity to the centres.
In February, the department revealed that over 171 centres had been set up across the country – with a total of 96 centres connected through SITAs network.
However, the department revealed there were deficiencies in its ICT connectivity and noted there were plans to expand the network.
The Thusong Service Centres (formerly Multi-Purpose Community Centres) were initiated in 1999 as a primary vehicle for the implementation of development communication and information, to integrate government services into primarily-rural communities.
The GCIS revealed that centres service close to 5 million citizens and that 165 centres were operational around the country. Over 999 government employees were trained to serve in the centres while over 40 mobile units had been linked to the network.
In her presentation, Oliphant noted one of the most urgent tasks was to finalise the issue of the location of Thusong centres.
“The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), National Treasury and the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) have already embarked on an assessment in this regard, and this will be completed during the course of the 2012/13 financial year,” she explained.