Government must be more IT savvy

Computer. Picture: AFP/File/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

Computer. Picture: AFP/File/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

The debacle could place the gun licence system – and the database needed to track all weapons – in jeopardy.

In our digital world, where everything runs on computers, it is worrying there are so many issues with software or hardware in government departments.

The latest glitch is not a technical one, but is of a legal nature. And that makes it even more disturbing.

The SA Police Service has been severely rapped over the knuckles by the High Court in Pretoria for continuing to use an electronic firearm licensing system without paying for it, something the presiding judge found “reprehensible”.

The system is the intellectual property of Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) but the SAPS has been refusing to pay for it since December 2017. After FDA cut off police access, the cops took the company to court last year, accusing the company of holding the country to ransom.

Access was restored but the case continued in the courts, leading to this week’s judgment. SAPS now has 60 days to sort out the mess and reach an agreement with FDA.

The debacle could place the gun licence system – and the database needed to track all weapons – in jeopardy.

Hopefully, the matter will be resolved – but it underlines the need for far more professionalism in government when it comes to information technology.

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