The termination of the public-private partnership (PPP) between the Department of Labour (DoL) and Siemens does not mean that the services will come to a halt. In fact, the department is now focussing on a personnel recruitment drive with a view to enhance internal capacity alongside the process for new service providers for Information Technology services.
This was announced today at the briefing that the department gave to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour. The department’s Director-General (DG), Nkosinathi Nhleko conceded that management of the R2 billion information technology provision over the past 10 years did not fully meet the expectations.
As a result, one of the unintended consequences of the PPP that officially ended last November 2012 was that it decimated internal capacity and had no proper governance structures in place.
“The DoL had no capacity to manage the scale of the project. It was like a boat that was allowed to flow without direction. Going forward the department should take the lead in developing a business imperative that suits its delivery objectives,” Nhleko said.
The DG assured the Portfolio Committee that work will not be interrupted. He said a departmental information communication (ICT) strategy was finalised last year and that the recruitment of ICT personnel has already started. He said by the time 2013 falls, substantial progress would have been made to build capacity in the office of the Chief Information Officer.
“Going forward, we will have a clearly defined ICT environment,” Nhleko said. Nhleko also confirmed that on the directive by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, the department had suspended the services of EOH- IT Company. Nhleko said he was not at liberty to forward reasons for the suspension.
Labour Deputy Director-General Lerato Molebatsi said the termination support transition phase was already underway and the department was in the process of appointing new service providers in the next few weeks. Molebatsi said unlike in the past, the days of over reliance on one service provider were over.
Molebatsi said in excess of 120 people will be employed to build capacity in the office of the chief information officer. She said this would also include the appointment of vendors in specialised areas.
According to Molebatsi the department would also be looking at developing an ICT Skills factory, an initiative designed to churn out ICT expertise by developing and training new entrants into the IT industry. She cautioned that the department would no longer completely outsource ICT services.