The challenges of building an information society in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Sehlapelo, Martin Collin Abner Mmapeteke.
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The participants in the World Summit on the Information Society, including South Africa, have committed themselves to building the information society in their respective countries and communities. Most countries and communities that have benefited from the information society have been those in the developed countries. Developing communities specifically those that are poor and rural are expected to have unique challenges requiring specific approaches in dealing with the problems. This study has investigated the challenges of building an information society through utilising the Limpopo Province of South Africa as a case study. The dissertation has, by using the Harvard Readiness Guide for the Networked World, determined whether the Limpopo Province is ready to become an information society. It has also identified the activities and projects that are being undertaken within the province as well as proposing what should be done to build the information society for development. The research was conducted through surveying selected leaders (leaders who are responsible for the information society implementation) within the Limpopo Province, to respond to a self-administered questionnaire as well as conducting content analysis of current planning documents for provincial departments and district municipalities. Whilst the dissertation could not determine whether it was feasible to implement the information society in a community such as Limpopo Province, the selected leaders were of the view that by focussing on the issues they identified, the province could successfully build the information society. The respondents were iv of the view that Limpopo Province was currently not e-ready, and thus could not be considered an information society. The study found that most of the activities related to the information society within Limpopo Province were not coordinated and were primarily related to e-government. Another key challenge that was identified, despite the high mobile telephone penetration, was the lack of access to the Internet as well as affordable connectivity. To address these and other challenges identified in the study, a framework for implementing the information society at the provincial level is proposed. Keywords: information society, development, developing countries/communities, Information and Communications Technologies, Limpopo Province