Omni Success Story: South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)
Partner Name: Omni
Customer Name: South African Social Security Agency
Partner Products Used: Userful Multiplier
Novell Products Used: SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is the government department responsible for developing and implementing policies, programmes and procedures for effectively and efficiently administering social grants in South Africa. In 2007-2008, SASSA administered over 12 million social grants nationally – and the need continues to grow.
Telecommunications infrastructure is desperately lacking in rural South Africa. Electricity is limited and the hardware and software costs associated with traditional single-user PCs are cost-prohibitive.
As a result, the time required to manually process social grants in rural areas often took several weeks. SASSA officials were ill-equipped to handle customer inquiries in a timely fashion and they could not capture application information and remotely access South Africa’s Social Pension System (SOCPEN) due to a lack of Internet connectivity.
SASSA worked with Omni‘s South African Distributor, Lekgotla Technologies, and Novell South Africa on a 13-site Userful Multiplier pilot in August 2007. The objectives of the pilot were to evaluate the cost savings of using low-cost and energy-efficient Multi-station SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktops in rural SASSA offices.
“Userful Multiplier running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop delivers the most cost-effective and energy-efficient desktop strategy for rural and urban SASSA offices,” said Thomas Heubner, Director of Lekgotla Technologies and Omni Authorised Distributor in South Africa.
“A single desktop computer can power up to 10 full-featured stations that require minimal electricity. Each system comes equipped with a MTN 3G modem that provides wireless access to the Social Pension System in Pretoria. SASSA officials are now able to capture and process social grant applications within 24 hours from rural areas in South Africa.”
“Based on the success of the 13-site pilot in Limpopo, Userful Multiplier has been deployed in additional sites in Mpumalanga and North West Province and we are actively working with SASSA leaders from other provinces with similar budget constraints and infrastructure challenges.”
“Userful Multiplier has dramatically improved our ability to process social grant applications from rural sites that are desperately lacking in IT infrastructure,” said Jabulani Makondo, head of SASSA IT Operations in Pretoria. “Even urban SASSA sites faced with budget constraints are considering the viability of converting their stand-alone computers to Multi-station Linux desktops using this cost-effective desktop model.”
The project yielded initial cost savings of R250 000 (US$31,000) per site and has reduced the time to capture, verify and approve applications from several weeks to the targeted 24 hours. Since being officially approved by SASSA, several South African provinces are looking to adopt this strategy to enhance service delivery and address budget constraints and limited electrical and connectivity infrastructure in rural South Africa.”
“Userful Multiplier is dramatically improving our ability to process social grant applications from rural sites that are desperately lacking in IT infrastructure. Even urban SASSA sites faced with budget constraints are considering the viability of converting their stand-alone computers to Multi-station Linux desktops using this cost-effective desktop model.”
Jabulani Makondo, Head of IT Operations
South African Social Security Agency