Government ICT – Fight corruption

by Lawtrust, the first African trust centre to achieve WebTrust SM/TM certification

What role does ICT have in fighting corruption?

Corruption within the public sector involves more than just the will of the person to commit it. It involves the use of ICT infrastructure to facilitate the commission of the offence. Where the ICT Infrastructure is poorly managed or implemented, this results in possible compromise of the business critical applications that reside on this infrastructure.

ICT as an enabler plays a vital role in securing Government business systems and applications. This role includes restricting access to business systems, monitoring user activities in relation to sensitive business transactions and ensuring that evidence of the transactions is stored securely.

ICT is not a silver bullet that will magically prevent corruption with the Government sphere, but has to be employed along with governed processes and enabled by proven technology. Consequently, the use of ICT in government will assist in the automation of processes, allowing less manual intervention and thereby reduce opportunities for corrupt activities from taking place at the point of data capture. Automation to systems has the added benefit of increasing/improving service delivery to the citizens.

The role of ICT can be considered to be bring back the traditional understanding trust to government business systems. This trust is brought about by building accountability into business practices, retaining evidence regarding business transactions and maintaining a positive identity of the system user. In the government’s business systems and any interaction by the citizens with these systems, anonymity is the enemy. Being able to positively identify the citizen or user that is transacting with these systems removes the ability to invisibly

The South African government has committed itself in this fight against corruption with the implementation of the National ID Card. This technology, combined with governed processes, allows citizens to interact with government systems in a transparent way.

The National ID smartcards currently being rolled out by the Department of Home Affairs are a good example of the use of ICT in government services. Using this technology, banks, government and financial services can electronically securely interact with citizens for service on boarding processes, evidence and fraud management, and for electronic contracting and approvals.

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