​Obituary: Celebrating the life of Ntjatji Gosebo

Ntjatji Gosebo.

Ntjatji Gosebo.

Born: August 9 1958
Ntjatji Gosebo died on the morning of Friday May 5 2017 without achieving his dream of seeing the government establish a Public Sector Chief Information Officers’ Council (PS CIO Council) that focuses on IT elements and devise a solid contract management system to deal with IT elements (IT infrastructure) that are beyond the control of the public sector. 

One of his other desires was to see the establishment of an integrated secure membership system for the ANC that provides an easy-to-use member administration that is always available online, simple to use and can accommodate membership changes in a dynamic environment.  When he met his untimely death, Mr Gosebo was still serving on the North West premier’s IT advisory council, to which he was appointed in 2006.

Ntjatji, a computer science graduate of the University of the North (Turfloop) and St Peters University in New Jersey in the US, also obtained an MSC in computer science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey.  Gosebo worked in various capacities at the University of the North West. From 1992 to 1998, he was a chair in the department of information systems.  He also served as the deputy dean in the faculty of commerce and was a senior lecturer in the department of information systems and the acting university registrar.  When he left the university, he joined Siemens Business Services in 1998

Gosebo was instrumental in shaping the future vision of the State Information Technology Agenyc (Sita) as he served as ICT adviser to the then public service and administration minister between 1999 and 2003. 

While working for former minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, he influenced the direction of Sita, which led to the adoption of the “pillars” of government’s ICT House of Value, which guide Sita’s values.  The “pillars” state that Sita must use the collective purchasing power of government departments to negotiate lower unit prices from the IT industry.

In September 2013, Gosebo was employed as a deputy director-general in the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) branch of the public service and administration department and his responsibilities included the creation and maintenance of an environment for the deployment of IT as a strategic tool of public administration. His other responsibility at GCIO was to serve on the Sita board .

Between January and June 2012, prior to the December 2012 national conference of the ANC, the party’s membership in KwaZulu-Natal grew by 106 920 from 224 900 to 331 820, an increase of 47.54%, and by only 8.82% in Gauteng ,according to the organisational report presented by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe in December 2012. 

The KwaZulu-Natal increase was due to a strategy suggested by Gosebo which suggested that students at the Durban University of Technology be used to mass capture all manual membership forms and produce membership cards.  Ironically, Mantashe wrote in the report that “the membership system proved to be one of the challenges that were very difficult to resolve”. 

Mantashe indicated that the ANC was on its way to finding a lasting solution.  He bemoaned the backlog in the delivery of membership cards to branches in the provinces.

Instead of committing himself to implementing previous conference resolutions on the membership issue, Mantashe called on the ANC to invest sufficient resources in the appropriate IT systems to overcome the problems of membership management. Had Mantashe closely observed the successful system in KwaZulu-Natal implemented by Sihle Zikalala, Mdu Ntuli, Gosebo and others would have found a different picture all together.

In one of its policy discussion documents for this year’s national policy conference, the ANC indicates that the integrity of technical systems is an area requiring strategic intervention, the improvement of the currrent membership system and the utilisation of information and communications technologies as technical infrastructure for the management of membership.  Gosebo has always wondered why the ANC keeps on passing resolutions on this instead of implementing tested processes.

Gosebo once argued that the “uptake of IT as a strategic tool of public sector delivery is extremely poor in government” and proposed that a “major mind-shift to establish a PS CIO Council that focuses on IT elements be pursued.” 

Ntjatji always said that those who gain and thrive on the current chaotic membership system in the ANC may not want it to be improved to implement the 2012 53rd national conference resolution on internal communications which stated that the ANC should improve the membership system, learning from other institutions that also have mass membership systems.

As an IT teacher and practitioner, Ntjatji wrote research papers, chief among them were the “Impact of e-Politician on the Adoption of e-Service” and “Revisiting the theory of planned behavior for the preparation of the adoption of municipal e-services in less developed countries” papers. 

The ANC and government must honour his legacy by ensuring that there is a powerful member database to allow the ANC to track the payment of membership fees and that a PS CIO Council is established.

Gosebo is survived by his wife, Kedibone, and three daughters. Mmathapelo is reading for a PhD at the Tshwane University of Technology, Tshegofatso is a practising medical doctor at Edendale Hospital, a regional and district hospital in Pietermaritzburg operated by the KwaZulu-Natal department of health and Lerato is a law student at the University of South Africa.

Sello Mashao Rasethaba

Tuesday 09 May 2017

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