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The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) is "deeply concerned" by unprecedented network outages being experienced at several key government websites.

Those in desperate need of birth, marriage, death, smart ID and passport services would have been highly frustrated by the countrywide delays that lasted several days. It was only just before midday today that several key government websites finally came online again.

According to SITA, the reason for the outage was that state servers did not switch over to the electricity grid from backup batteries, which then became depleted, Business Insider SA reported.

The servers were running from backup batteries since a power failure on Friday, which also caused an outage of most state websites. 

“While services were restored, SITA is deeply concerned by these unprecedented network outages,” SITA chief executive Setumo Mohapi said in a statement. 

“SITA engineers are currently investigating why the transmission system failed to switch back to the standard power grid, which would be the standard operating procedure.” 

Mohapi said the state agency will investigate the incidents to ensure it is not repeated. He also described the incidents as “ a new and real learning curve.” 

“SITA fully recognises that government and the nation must have – and indeed deserve – answers that will give all stakeholders the comfort that the matter is resolved,” Mohapi said. 

“SITA sincerely apologises to all government departments; and citizens for the inconvenience caused during this time.”