The perspectives of technology implementers about informaton communication technology deployment to rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal.
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The purpose of this study was to explore the deployment of Information Communication Tech-nology to rural communities of KwaZulu-Natal from the perspective of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), the technology implementers of government. SITA‘s regional of-fice in KwaZulu-Natal is relatively small, with a total of 52 employees who have a direct and indirect role to play with regards to ICT deployment. A quantitative research methodology was utilised in this study. Data was gathered with the aid of a questionnaire. Fifty-two questionnaires were sent out to the targeted employees of SITA and forty-seven responses were received. The response rate was ninety percent. The results of the survey revealed that sixty percent of respondents felt that rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal were not prepared to participate in e-government. When asked to indicate the importance of Information Communication Technology policy and regulatory frameworks that specifically address technology deployment to rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal, sixty per-cent of respondents acknowledged the importance. Over two thirds of respondents indicated that lack of infrastructure was a hindrance to technology deployment while less than one third did not know if this was a hindrance. The study also revealed that the main motivation for ICT de-ployment was social inclusion and to improve digital inclusiveness. Based on the empirical evidence, the researcher recommends that government take these per-spectives of the technology implementers into consideration when formulating Information Communication Technology policies and legislative frameworks that will be used as a basis for technology deployment to these rural communities. It is also recommended that government do more in terms of training and sensitizing technology implementers and end users, and developing support infrastructure, such as the electrification of rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal, in order to create an enabling environment for new ICT initiative deployment and to enable com-munity members to be adequately prepared to participate in ICT initiatives such as e-governance, which was identified as a priority area. Due to the limitations of this study, particu-larly the fact that it is based on one province, KwaZulu-Natal, it is recommended that further research be carried out into deployment of ICT to rural communities.
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