Towards an E-Governance competency framework for public service managers : the South African experiment

14 Feb 2017

The emergence of the so-called networked or knowledge society profoundly transforms governance approaches on a global scale by introducing new forms of collaboration and exchange between society and government. Government institutions and agencies had to respond by optimally utilising ICT technology to facilitate e-governance applications for improved interactions with society. In light of this context a skilled and competent workforce for the application of appropriate e-governance technologies is essential. As the administrative leaders of executive institutions (i.e. government departments), civil service managers have to champion and oversee all e-governance applications and practices. Various general training models for capacity-building of civil service managers exist, but a comprehensive competency framework for their e-readiness as far as e-governance applications are concerned, is largely absent. Such a competency framework should be congruent with the unique governance circumstances, applications, operations, e-governance praxis, regulatory framework, and the ICT infrastructure-growth trajectory of a particular country. The purpose of this article is threefold. Firstly, it will outline contextual perspectives regarding the utilisation of ICT in promoting e-governance in general, including an analysis of the seemingly insufficient alignment between government operational demands and the e-readiness (i.e. competencies) of civil service managers. Secondly, the article will explore the South African Government’s initiatives in promoting e-governance competencies of its civil service; and thirdly, it will propose a comprehensive competency framework for civil service managers based on a comparative analysis of various models and best practice around the globe.