Failure to upload Annual Reports highlights digital delinquency in Province

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
DA Leader in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature

Serious questions need to be asked about the Eastern Cape Government’s commitment to embracing digital transformation and the fourth industrial revolution.

This became apparent following an audit of the respective departmental websites, to determine if they had made the latest annual reports (2019/20) available for download, following their tabling in the virtual sitting of the Legislature a week ago.

As of this morning, Wednesday 9 December, of the 13 departments, only Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) and Social Development had uploaded their annual reports.

What one needs is a forward-thinking government that can build digital infrastructure that is vital for a capable state in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. Instead, our province is being left behind. There is no place for digital delinquency!

Although Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s speech he gave while tabling the 2019/20 annual report is available on the Office of the Premier’s website, the latest available annual report is for the 2017/18 financial year.

Premier Mabuyane, in his State of the Nation Address last year, said: “the inventible is unavoidable, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is moving at a fast pace, and we must catch up.”

We need to catch up Mr Premier!

The Department of Human Settlements is the most out of date, with the latest available annual report being the 2016/17 financial year. Although there are links for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years, there are no files attached to them.

The latest available annual report on the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform’s website, is for 2017/18, although the link states it is for the 2020/21 financial year, which is impossible.

There are no annual reports available on either the Department of Transport or the Department of Safety and Liaison website.

No annual reports could be found on the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture website either. The link to annual reports on the site does not work, instead taking one to the forms page.

The Provincial Treasury and Department of Health both have the 2018/19 annual reports available, but the 2019/20 annual report is not available yet.

The Department of Education’s website has been inaccessible since last week’s plenary, with broken links. It only returned to functionality this morning. The 2019/20 annual report is not available.

The Democratic Alliance will be submitting questions to the various Departments regarding the current state of their websites and will be constantly monitoring the information provided through these platforms.

Access to information is critical for enabling citizens to exercise their voice, to effectively monitor and hold the government to account, and to enter into informed dialogue about decisions which affect their lives.

Government is abandoning the people of the Eastern Cape, when we should be taking digital technology to the people.

Annual Report overview
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – 2019/20
Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism – 2019/20
Education – 2018/19
Health – 2018/19
Human Settlements – 2016/17
Office of the Premier – 2017/18
Provincial Treasury – 2018/19
Public Works – 2018/19
Rural Development and Agrarian Reform – 2017/18
Safety and Liaison – Not available
Social Development – 2019/20
Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture – Broken link
Transport – not available

The links above will take you to the relevant annual report page, per department.

Information correct as at 10 am, 9 December 2020.