Smart Governance for Inclusive Socio-Economic Transformation in South Africa: Are We There Yet?

  • More Ickson Manda
  • Judy Backhouse
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 34)


Digital transformation that promotes inclusive socio-economic transformation of societies into smart societies is often confronted by socio-economic, political and regulative challenges that have compromised the governance of smart societies. This calls for governments to respond with appropriate mechanisms for strengthening “smart governance.” Smart governance, through its three pillars of (a) leadership and governance, (b) integration and collaboration, and (c) information and communication infrastructure, could become an enabler of successful digital transformation. In this case study of South Africa, a developing country that has adopted a “smart” agenda, we discuss institutional mechanisms implemented to strengthen smart governance in support of government’s long term goals of inclusive socio-economic transformation. The study found that the effectiveness of institutional mechanisms such as policy, legislation, norms and structures for strengthening smart governance, have been compromised by institutional weaknesses such as lack of political cohesion, power struggles, loss of public trust in public institutions and poor collaboration. Inclusivity in the implementation of policies and programmes meant to promote socio-economic transformation remains a significant challenge. This suggests that smart governance is still in the pre-institutionalisation or habitualization stage.


Smart governance Smart city Smart society e-Participation Institutional theory E-government 


  1. Alarabiat, A., Soares, D. S., & Estevez, E. (2016). Electronic participation with a special reference to social media-A literature review. In International conference on electronic participation (pp. 41–52). Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Alawneh, A., Al-Refai, H., & Batiha, K. (2013). Measuring user satisfaction from e-Government services: Lessons from Jordan. Government Information Quarterly, 30(3), 277–288.Google Scholar
  3. Alliance for Affordable Internet. (2017). Affordability report. Retrieved from
  4. Al-Omari, H., & Al-Omari, A. (2006). Building an e-government e-trust infrastructure. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 3(11), 2122–2130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aquilina, K. (2010). Public security versus privacy in technology law: A balancing act? Computer Law & Security Review, 26(2), 130–143.Google Scholar
  6. Backhouse, J. (2015, July 7–8). Smart city agendas of African cities. In Proceedings of 1st African conference on information systems and technology (ACIST), Accra.Google Scholar
  7. Backhouse, J., & Cohen, J. (2014). What is a smart city for information systems research in Africa? Review protocol and initial results. In African cyber citizenship conference 2014 (ACCC2014) (p. 129).Google Scholar
  8. Bartoli, A., Hernández-Serrano, J., Soriano, M., Dohler, M., Kountouris, A., & Barthel, D. (2011). Security and privacy in your smart city. In Proceedings of the Barcelona smart cities congress (pp. 1–6).Google Scholar
  9. Belanger, F., & Hiller, J. S. (2006). A framework for e-government: Privacy implications. Business Process Management Journal, 12(1), 48–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bhorat, H., Buthelezi, M., Chipkin, I., Duma, S., Monldi, C., Petre, C., et al. (2017). Betrayal of the promise: How South Africa is being stolen. Retrieved from
  11. Buré, C. E. (2006). Digital inclusion without social inclusion: The consumption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in homeless subculture in central Scotland. The Journal of Community Informatics, 2(2).Google Scholar
  12. Chan, C. M., Lau, Y., & Pan, S. (2008). E-government implementation: A macro analysis of Singapore’s e-government initiatives. Government Information Quarterly, 25(2), 239–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chourabi, H., Nam, T., Walker, S., Gil-Garcia, J. R., Mellouli, S., Nahon, K., & Scholl, H. J. (2012). Understanding smart cities: An integrative framework. In System Science (HICSS), 2012 45th Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 2289–2297). IEEE.Google Scholar
  14. Colesca, S. E. (2009). Understanding trust in e-government. Engineering Economics, 63(4), 1–9.Google Scholar
  15. Daily Maverick. (2015). Digital terrestrial TV, the ANC has lost faith in Muthambi. Retrieved from
  16. DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. (1983). The iron cage revisited institutional isomorphism and rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(1), 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elmaghraby, A. S., & Losavio, M. M. (2014). Cyber security challenges in Smart Cities: Safety, security and privacy. Journal of Advanced Research, 5(4), 491–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Firth, L., & Mellor, D. (2005). Broadband: Benefits and problems. Telecommunications Policy, 29(2), 223–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Freund, B. (2007). South Africa: The end of apartheid & the emergence of the ‘BEE Elite’. Review of African Political Economy, 34(114), 661–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gauteng Provincial Government. (2014). The socio-economic impact of the Gauteng freeway improvement project and E-tolls report. Retrieved from
  21. Gil-Garcia, J. R. (2012). Towards a smart state? Inter-agency collaboration, information integration, and beyond. Information Polity, 17(3, 4), 269–280.Google Scholar
  22. Gil-Garcia, J. R., Zhang, J., & Puron-Cid, G. (2016). Conceptualizing smartness in government: An integrative and multi-dimensional view. Government Information Quarterly, 33(1), 524–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hollands, R. G. (2008). Will the real smart city please stand up? Intelligent, progressive or entrepreneurial? City, 12(3), 303–320.Google Scholar
  24. Huddy, L. (2013). Group identity and political cohesion. In L. Huddy, D. Sears, & J. Levy (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. International Telecommunications Union. (2015). The State of Broadband (2015). Retrieved from
  26. International Telecommunications Union. (2017). The state of broadband: Broadband catalysing sustainable development. Retrieved from
  27. Islam, M. (2008). Towards a sustainable e-participation implementation model. European Journal of e-Practice, 5(10), 1–12.Google Scholar
  28. Lawrence, T. B. (2008). Power, institutions and organizations. In Greenwood, R., Oliver, C., Sahlin, K. and Suddaby, R. (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, London: Sage, pp. 170–197.Google Scholar
  29. Lofgren, K. (2007). The governance of e-government: A governance perspective on the Swedish e-government strategy. Public Policy and Administration, 22(3), 335–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lom, M., Pribyl, O., & Svitek, M. (2016). Industry 4.0 as a part of smart cities. In Smart Cities Symposium Prague (SCSP) (pp. 1–6), IEEE.Google Scholar
  31. Macintosh, A., & Smith, E. (2002). Citizen participation in public affairs. In R. Traunmüller & K. Lenk (Eds.), Electronic Government. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 2456). Berlin, Heidelber: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Macintosh, A. (2008). E-Democracy and E-participation research in Europe. In H. Chen et al. (Eds.), Digital government. Integrated series in information systems (Vol. 17). Boston: Springer.Google Scholar
  33. Macintosh, A., Coleman, S., & Schneeberger, A. (2009). E-participation: The research gaps. In A. Macintosh & E. Tambouris (Eds.), ePart 2009. LNCS (Vol. 5694, pp. 1–11). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Manda, M. I., & Backhouse, J. (2016a). Addressing trust, security and privacy concerns in e-government integration, interoperability and information sharing through policy: A case of South Africa. In Proceedings of the 2016 international conference on information resources management, Cape Town, South Africa.Google Scholar
  35. Manda, M. I., & Backhouse, J. (2016b). An analysis of the barriers to e-government integration, interoperability and information sharing in developing countries: A systematic review of literature. In Proceedings of the 2nd African conference in information systems and technology, Accra, Ghana.Google Scholar
  36. Manda, M. I., & Backhouse, J. (2016c). Towards a “Smart Society” through a connected and smart citizenry in South Africa: A review of the national broadband strategy and policy. In H. Scholl et al. (Eds.), Electronic Government. EGOVIS 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 9820). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  37. Manda, M. I., & Backhouse, J. (2017). Digital transformation for inclusive growth in South Africa: Challenges and opportunities in the 4th industrial revolution. In Proceedings of the 3rd African Conference on Information Systems and Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.Google Scholar
  38. Manda, M. I. (2017). Towards “Smart Governance” through a multidisciplinary approach to E-government integration, interoperability and information sharing: A case of the LMIP project in South Africa. In M. Janssen et al. (Eds.), Electronic Government. EGOV 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 10428). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  39. Martinez-Balleste, A., Pérez-Martínez, P. A., & Solanas, A. (2013). The pursuit of citizens’ privacy: A privacy aware smart city is possible. IEEE Communications Magazine, 51(6), 136–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mawela, T., Ochara, N. M., & Twinomurinzi, H. (2016). Missed opportunities for introducing transformational government: Assessing the contentious e-toll project in South Africa. Transforming Government: People, Process and. Policy, 10(1), 168–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. My Broadband. (2017). Auditor general declared Tshwane free wifi project unlawful. Retrieved from
  42. Nam, T., & Pardo, T. A. (2011). Conceptualizing smart city with dimensions of technology, people, and institutions. In Proceedings of the 12th annual international digital government research conference: Digital government innovation in challenging times (pp. 282–291). ACM.Google Scholar
  43. Ngulube, P. (2007). The nature and accessibility of e-government in Sub Saharan Africa. International Review of Information Ethics, 7(9), 1–13.Google Scholar
  44. Olphert, C. W., Damodaran, L., & May, A. J. (2005). Towards digital inclusion–engaging older people in the ‘digital world’. In Accessible Design in the digital world conference (Vol. 2).Google Scholar
  45. Purao, S., Seng, T. C., & Wu, A. (2013). Modelling citizen-centric services in smart cities. In W. Ng, V. C. Storey, & J. C. Trujillo (Eds.), ER 2013. LNCS (Vol. 8217, pp. 438–445). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. SA News. (2016). New commission to look at BEE fronting. Retrieved from
  47. Scekic, O., Miorandi, D., Schiavinotto, T., Diochnos, D. I., Hume, A., & Giunchiglia, F. (2015). Smart society: A platform for collaborative people-machine computation. IEEE.Google Scholar
  48. Scholl, H. J., & AlAwadhi, S. (2016). Creating smart governance: The key to radical ICT overhaul at the city of Munich. Information Polity, 21(1), 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scholl, H. J., & Scholl, M. C. (2014). Smart governance: A roadmap for research and practice. In: iConference 2014 proceedings.Google Scholar
  50. Scott, W. R. (2014). Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  51. South Africa. (1996). Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Retrieved from
  52. South Africa. (2012). National development plan. Retrieved from
  53. South Africa. (2016). National Integrated ICT policy White Paper. Retrieved from
  54. South African Cities Network. (2016). The state of South African cities 2016 report. Retrieved from
  55. South African Women in ICT Forum. (2015). Submission on the ICT policy review discussion paper. [Online]. Retrieved from
  56. Spaull, N., & Kotze, J. (2015). Starting behind and staying behind in South Africa: The case of insurmountable learning deficits in mathematics. International Journal of Educational Development, 41, 13–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tolbert, P. S. & Zucker, L. G. (1996). The institutionalization of institutional theory [Electronic version]. In S.Clegg, C. Hardy and W. Nord (Eds.), Handbook of organization studies (pp. 175–190). London: SAGE.Google Scholar
  58. Trkman, P., Blazic, B. J., & Turk, T. (2008). Factors of broadband development and the design of a strategic policy framework. Telecommunications Policy, 32(2), 101–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wilke, H. (2007). Smart governance: Governing the global knowledge society. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.Google Scholar
  60. World Economic Forum. (2015). The global information technology report 2015: ICTs for inclusive growth. Retrieved from
  61. Zhang, K., Ni, J., Yang, K., Liang, X., Ren, J., & Shen, X. S. (2017). Security and privacy in smart city applications: Challenges and solutions. IEEE Communications Magazine, 55(1), 122–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • More Ickson Manda
    • 1
  • Judy Backhouse
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations