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* Mobile phones can help government reach its goal of making its services easily accessible, Andile Ngcaba, director-general of South Africa’s Department of Communications, said last week.Ngcaba was speaking at the ICT in Government Convention, hosted by research house Forge Ahead BMI-T in Midrand yesterday.

He said the fact that there are at least 14 million cellphone users in the country should act as an indicator that government could reach its people via SMS, in the same way that business is already utilising the service. "We should put more effort in investigating the possibility of utilising mobile-centric technology in delivering services. Government should exploit the opportunities presented by SMS technology."

For instance, forms can be sent via SMS, or government can remind people to collect their ID documents or licences using SMS.Delegates raised concerns about cellphones’ inability to handle large amounts of data, but Ngcaba said SIM cards would soon be upgraded and this should enable cellphones to handle much bigger transactions: "We are not saying that PC technology should not be pursued. We need to pursue both PC and mobile-centric technology with the same vigour.

* Djibouti’s President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh last week received members of the National Committee on ICT along with the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Rifki Abdoulkader Bamakhrama. The Committee’s work has two objectives: firstly to extend access to ICTs and secondly to create a body to implement its strategy. The President stressed the importance of ICTs in all walks of life in order to accelerate the modernisation of the country’s infastructure.

* Jacob Modise,s currently the Chief Operating Officer of Johnnic Holdings Limited has been appointed independent non-executive director to the Board of Altron.. Before this appointment, he served the group as Finance Director over a period of four years, overseeing three listed companies, Omni Media Corporation Limited (renamed Johnnic Communications Limited), M-Cell Limited (renamed MTN Holdings Limited) and Johnnic Holdings Limited.