Open Software and Open Standards in South Africa to Address Digital Divide by Open Software Working Group – Jan 2002

The National Advisory Council on Innovation is a body set up by South African Act of Parliament to advise the Minister of Arts Culture Science and Technology, as well as Cabinet as a whole, on Science and Technology issues. They formulated these recommendations which included non-negotiable open standards as well as a FOSS policy encouraging the use of FOSS and ensuring a level playing field between FOSS and proprietary software with regards to procurement.

SA Gov FOSS Policy Annex D: How FOSS and Open Content is Linked to South African Development Goals 2006

This is Appendix D of the approved FOSS Policy for South African Government. It specifically addresses how FOSS and Open Standards play a role in South Africa’s local development goals.

Concept Document for Establishing a National FOSS Collaboration and R&D Lab 16 Feb 2010

A document which was co-authored by Brodwyn Appanna at SITA FOSS Office, Gerrit Botha SAPS Enterprise Architect, and Karl Fischer Dept of Science and Technology to the GITOC FOSS Standing Committee, FOSS LAB Workgroup.

Letter of Appeal from SABS to IEC regarding DIS 29500 Office open XML 22 May 2008

The appeal centred around challenging the validity of a final vote which was based on inadequate information resulting from a poorly conducted BRM (Ballot Resolution Meeting).

Address by Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Minister for Public Service and Administration, at the third Idlelo Conference 17 March 2008 on FOSSFA

The address was made at the third Idlelo African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and the Digital Commons. The Minister commented about the Free Software movement in Africa as well as about the adoption of Open Standards and MIOS with a specific mention about ODF for exchanging office documents. She also commented about the leading vendor of office software who chose not to participate and support ODF in its products but rather to develop its own competing document standard which was then awaiting ISO approval.

The Minister also made comments about software patents and their anti-competitive nature.

Watch the video at

DPSA Letter Implementing Open Document Format In All South African Government Departments 20 Dec 2007

The letter was issued on 20 December 2007 by Prof Richard Levin as Acting DG of DPSA. It referred the Cabinet endorsement of the FOSS Implementation Plan and Strategy (it was attached) and referred to one of the actions being the revision of the MIOS. It further stated that the MIOS v1.4 was signed by the Minister for PSA which included the stipulation that the Open Document Format (ODF) becomes the standard for all government documents. The letter called on all departments to take action towards implementing this standard.

It further gave timelines for the implementation up to March 2009.

The scanned copy attached here is a copy received by the DG of the Western Cape Government on 4 January 2008 which was in turn actioned to their IT unit. This attachment shows evidence of the letter being distributed out to departments around the country.

Minutes 2019-11-07

Notes for the SAOSS meeting dated 7 November 2019.  
1.       Why did the forum collapse?
1.1.    Review and identify strength and weaknesses
–     Perform self-assessment to determine the root cause of the collapse;
–     Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the forum as an institution and its members;
–     Scan the market both inside government and outside for risks and opportunities;
–     Assess the attitudes and messaging within the business and political environment.
1.2.    Make recommendations
–     Prepare a set of recommendations for adoption by the forum;
–     Review/develop constitution and supporting policies.  
2.       Structure
2.1.    Identify structure
–     Identify, discuss and agree on target audience and membership;
–     Agree on the structure that should be relevant taking into account that the forum has members inside and outside government;
–     Manage risks of the structure, its leadership and membership that may come when members in private sector are elected into leadership positions.   
2.2.    Task team
–     Appoint task team to drive the forum so that it does not lose momentum and Mbombo, Karl and Prince were given the task to be the coordinating task team.  
3.       Build Capacity
3.1.    Both private and public sector is concerned about the capacity to develop, implement, maintain and support open source products and therefore the technology uptake is delayed;
3.2.    Develop a strategy to build the necessary capacity starting with:
–     Identifying and stratifying the markets;
–     Developing content;
–     Developing training programmes;
–     Providing training;
3.3.    Possible funding sources
–     Public sector institutions e.g. MICT SETA, DST, and Department of Communications;
–     Private sector;   
3.4.    Possible training platform
–     Schools;
–     Universities;
–     Private sector businesses running on open source.
4.       Recruitment and communication
–     Identify communication messaging and related audiences;
–     Establish a team to look at recruitment and communication team;
–     Develop and implement recruitment and communication plan;
–     Share success stories and pursue rekindle past international relationships.
4.2.    Targeted sources of membership:
–     Community members through workshop and social media platforms;
–     Government institutions through workshops and lobbying leadership;
–     Partnerships with local government institutions  
5.       Identify projects
5.1.    Identify low hanging fruits
–     Use these to attract clients;
–     Create interest and critical mass.  
5.2.    Medium-term strategy
–     Identify medium-term projects that will be used as a launching pad
6.       Next meeting:
–   Next meeting will be on 3 December 2019 at 3pm;
–   Following meetings will be on the first Tuesday of every month.