Dr Setumo Mohapi, the Sita chief executive. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN – The State Information Technology Agency (Sita) has launched the largest government cloud infrastructure in the world. 

The cloud is owned by the government of South Africa and run and managed by Sita. The celebration took place with implementing partners Gijima, Huawei and IBM. 

Government’s private cloud, defined as “an ecosystem of different clouds”, is for exclusive access by government departments.

Sita chief executive Dr Setumo Mohapi, talked about how Sita’s mandate had always been about making life easier for all South Africans. He said: "How do we use technology to optimise the use of technology in public services – enabling citizens to realise their rights smoothly through technology?"  

Cloud computing is widely acknowledged as key to driving South Africa’s journey through the fourth industrial revolution. 

The cloud enables capabilities in artificial intelligence, big data analytics, the internet of things and robotics – all with numerous benefits for public service.

"With this project, Sita has reclaimed its role as leader in the innovation of public service delivery using ICT," said Robert Gumede, chairperson of Gijima, the delivering agency.

A panel that included Mohapi discussed the many possibilities offered by the initiative:

  • The panel offered up a wide range of applications that could be immediately applied by cloud-ready departments.
  • The panel continued to stress that the importance of this launch was the impact that the availability of a government cloud would have on the lives of citizens, and assist South Africa to deliver on its National Development Plan. 
  • This cloud platform in conjunction with new data centres and broadband is a key tool for the government’s trajectory from planning to meaningful implementation.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the new Minister of Communications welcomed the improvement it could bring to the every day lives of South Africa’s citizens, and cautioning against technology for technology’s sake.

To realise its ambitious goal, Sita, Gijima and implementing partners IBM and Huawei embarked on an infrastructure modernisation project to re-engineer Sita’s digital environment into modern state-of-the-art facilities.

Sita began the building of its government private cloud ecosystem in 2014, and has already capacitated in-house cloud sites. 

As more government departments start using the new cloud platform, it is expected that staff and citizens will see a tangible improvement in government service delivery, capability and service. 

The Sita-government cloud journey will also translate into increased security, productivity, efficiency and service delivery, as well as high availability (across devices and at any time).

The cloud foundation will be ready in December. By March 2019 the orchestration layer will be ready. In addition to integration with any cloud provider that is ready under the formal integration methodology that Sita has created. 

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