The InterMinisterial Committee on Disaster Management, chaired by the Minister for Provincial and Local Government, met today to review progress in achieving readiness with regard to the Y2K phenomenon. As the remediation projects approach completion the focus is falling on the review of contingency plans and the testing of their suitability for Y2K.
The IMC noted that distinct progress has been made during the past two years in narrowing the risk, and that provided current efforts are not relaxed South Africa is on course for Y2K readiness.
This assessment arose out of a review of the work by the Y2K Decision Support Centre to encourage and assess compliance in all spheres, in particular in key sectors, and in the light of its study of interdependencies within and between systems.
With progress in core systems well-advanced, attention is being focused in particular on local government, which occupies a strategic place in the delivery of services; and the international environment where an appraisal is under way of risks of malfunction and the impact this could have.
In outlining the programme for Y2K readiness in Provincial and Local Government the Department of Constitutional Development stressed the critical importance of the partnership between government, parastatals and private sector formalised in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by these sectors in May.
Clem Sunter, chairperson of the Section 21 company M2K, established on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding, briefed the IMC on progress in mobilising the private sector in preparing local government for Y2K. Support from the private sector had proved strong, and he expressed confidence that the target of R14m to be raised from the private sector to fund M2K could be achieved.
A joint presentation by the Department of Constitutional Development and the Y2K Centre on the overall approach to contingency planning, noted that even where a low level of risk is achieved, review of contingency planning remains necessary to deal with any eventuality connected with Y2K. It was stressed however that effective planning must be based on a sound assessment of interdependencies, risks and identification of mission critical systems.
In this regard it was noted that the inventory of local government would be completed by mid-August and the needs for correction would then be assessed. Key national departments would be engaged on a bilateral basis by the Y2K Centre and Department of Constitutional Development in order to complete a similar assessment by the end of August, so that they can implement the sectoral responsibilities for contingency planning allocated to them by the IMC. Provinces will be directed to focus on their systems in the fields of Health, Education and Welfare.
Contingency plans will be tested during the period September to November.
The IMC endorsed a communication strategy focused on keeping the public informed of progress in achieving Y2k readiness. It will also serve to dispel unfounded speculations regarding the Y2K phenomenon in general and the country’s state of readiness in particular.
With the local government Y2K programme on course, work on core systems well in hand and attention being paid to the international environment, the overall picture is one of the country’s key sectors working together to meet the challenge.
Mr Louis Buys
Tel: 012 334 0600
Cell: 082 572 9353
Dr Chippy Olver
Tel: 012 334 0600
Cell: 082 568 0415
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS) on behalf of the Y2K Communications Task Team