News & events


e-services, e-development and the services revolution? or ICT policy?

07 August 2012
12:15 - 13:30


Date : 07 August 2012

Time : 12:15 – 13:30

Presented by Luci Abrahams, Director, LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand

The problem with the terminology of e-services and e-development is that the terms sound superficial, sort of a 21st century shorthand with little substance. Yet, there is need for policy to elaborate greater meaning than the technology-centric ‘ICT policy’ approach that has been typical of the milieu of the 2000’s in South Africa. The e-Education White Paper 2004, the Information Society and Development Plan (ISAD Plan) 2006, ICT R&D Strategy 2007, Broadband Policy 2010, and the Thusong Service Centres initiative have failed to push beyond a narrow information infrastructure focus. Thus, we need to delve into the meaning of the concepts of e-services and e-development, understanding their relationship to specific social and economic sectors, pushing for a multi-sectoral development purpose for ICT investments and ICT applications.

A recent government colloquium and ICT Indaba highlighted South Africa’s intention to draft a new ICT policy. Yet, what South Africa needs is a ‘services revolution’, a thorough-going decadal change process that revitalizes education, health, environment, community well-being and local economic development. Despite the failures of the past, the development task remains, as does the ‘technology for development’ or ‘ICT for development’ requirement. But in such an approach, the focus must be on innovation in education through adoption and adaptation of ICT as integral to teaching and learning, not on introducing ICT into education. The nature, scope and content of education must change. Only in that context can ICT applications result in public benefit. The future for e-development is not risk-free. Rather it is loaded with risk, which requires greater levels of research to inform and build the services revolution. This presentation will prompt debate by briefly examining change and inertia in selected sectors, including the South African tourism and education sectors.

Luci Abrahams is Director of the LINK Centre, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand. She has been engaged in the field of ICT policy, regulation and innovation systems for 17 years and conducts research on ‘institutions and economic sectors in the emerging knowledge economy’. In addition to her academic pursuits, Luci has served on the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, of the State Information Technology Agency, of the National Research Foundation; and has been a Council Member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation, and the Council on Higher Education. She is currently a Commissioner on the Financial and Fiscal Commission. In all these capacities, she has pursued an agenda towards better understanding and theorizing innovation.

This seminar may be attended via video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. The speaker will be in Pretoria. Details as below.

Kindly RSVP by 5 August 2012

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or

Durban :  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: