Pretoria - A public-private partnership has been launched to help reduce South Africa's service delivery backlog by placing skilled graduates and high-level training initiatives directly into local government.
Known as the Municipal Skills Development Programme, the initiative will help local governments to use technology more effectively and efficiently.
SA Local Government Association (SALGA) CEO Xolile George said unemployed information technology graduates would be placed in key government departments.
"Cornerstones of the programme are the creation of efficient systems, the provision of more skilled people, the promotion of good governance and the driving of effective communication in local government," he said.
The project is driven jointly by Microsoft South Africa, SALGA, the Local Government Sector Education Training Authority (LG SETA) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Mteto Nyati, the MD of Microsoft South Africa, said over the next few years, they will help government use technology to enhance service delivery.
"We'll do this by placing top graduates in local municipalities, training municipal employees and providing specialised seminars for municipal managers," said Nyati.
LG SETA head, Sidwell Mofokeng, said the placement of clued-up IT graduates will ensure the upkeep of current computer systems and correct upgrades when needed, while at the same time helping staff to utilize the equipment to full capacity.
The DBSA, as specialist large infrastructure funder for government expansion, has a unit dedicated to supporting local government development.
"The demands of the information-based global economy mean that governments today require an advanced set of administrative tools," said DBSA CEO Paul Baloyi
Based on the successes and lessons learned from this phase, a further two phases will be planned and implemented during the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 financial years.
The project will be piloted by the partners in the Eastern and Western Cape during April, and launched nationally at the SALGA conference in the Northern Cape.