Government facilitated access to ICTs: adoption, use and impact on the well-being of indigent South Africans
Tucker, William David
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This paper presents preliminary results of an assessment of the impact of a government facilitated ICT access programme on the well-being of poor citizens. It examines South African government efforts in the application of e-government as a critical tool for speeding service delivery to all citizens. The study makes use of Sen’s capability approach as a conceptual framework. The findings demonstrate that the main focus of government programmes is on the deployment of telecommunication infrastructure and e-literacy training. This study argues that, to effectively realise the benefits of ICTs interventions in poor communities, policy makers needs to expand the breadth of their interventions to the extent that the needs of grassroots communities are woven into e-government programmes via consultation. It is further argued that the value proposition of e-government and associated ICTS programmes does not simply comprise the number of e-centres and extent of connectivity. The findings of the study show that e-skills, an understanding of citizens’ urgency and extensive programme awareness are required to deliver the benefits which are written into policy objectives. The latter are important elements of e-government interventions, without which, the widening of the economic and social gap between the haves and have nots, will remain unchecked.