Tag: computers

Expect temporary downtime at SARS

Source: Algoa FM

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) on Monday announced it will be migrating to a new hosting platform for its electronic services this month.

SARS said the “new and reliable platform” features the latest technology on the market, and includes a refresh of SARS’ hardware and software.

According to a statement, this is part of their journey towards digital transformation, which is expected to deliver a myriad of innovative solutions in support of their mandate to make it easy and safe for taxpayers to comply.

During the migration the following services will be affected:

  • SARS eFiling
  • eFiling app
  • e@syFile
  • Employer and SARS website

The Customs Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) gateway, which is the primary electronic channel used by Customs clients to communicate with SARS, will not be impacted.

Clients are encouraged to conclude all transactions on these systems well before the migration. However, urgent transactions that need to be made during this period can be done manually at all of their branches which will operate on normal hours.

PC distributor Mustek is assisting the City of Johannesburg (COJ) in a case where the city paid R6-million for 500 desktop computers to a service provider but the PCs were never delivered to the municipality.

In a statement, COJ mayor Herman Mashaba says he was informed that the city paid R6 million for 500 desktop computers that were ordered by the Group Information Communication Technology (GICT) department in 2014 but they were never delivered.

Opposition party the Democratic Alliance took over COJ from the ANC in August 2016. Mashaba, who took over the reins from the ANC’s Parks Tau, has publicly announced he intends to rid the city of corruption, which he blames on the previous administration.

Tip-off

According to Mashaba, the Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) received a tip-off from a member of the public who is closely linked to the service provider, saying that while she was working at the company, the city placed an order for 500 desktop computers.

It’s not clear which desktop PCs the city purchased but at retailer Incredible Connection, they range from R5 000 to R18 000. In the R6 million deal, the city paid R12 000 per computer.

Mashaba explains the computers were paid for with the assistance of officials working for the city but never reached the city.

The service provider, which is based in the south of Johannesburg, provides office supplies such as desktop computers, laptops, printer cartridges and toners, to name a few, he says.

A search and seizure operation was conducted this week by the members of the Hawks and officials from GFIS at the offices of the service provider.

Mashaba explains that about 37 computers worth R750 000 belonging to the city were seized during a joint operation.

He explains it is alleged that after winning the tender to supply the computers, the service provider placed an order with PC distributor Mustek to do the city’s imaging on the computers.

This was standard procedure, says Mashaba. “But with this batch, it is alleged that when he received it from Mustek, the service provider and his specialists in the information technology filed to remove the city’s imaging. Serial numbers of the seized computers were removed.”

In a statement sent to ITWeb, Mustek says: “In terms of Mustek’s distribution model, Mustek on-sells its products to its approved dealers, who then on-sell to end-users and public sector customers.

“Accordingly, we cannot comment on what transpired between the service provider and the City of Johannesburg. However, we are assisting the City of Johannesburg with their investigation of this matter.”

Preliminary investigations
It is alleged that most of the computers were sold to other clients and the 37 seized were used by the service provider’s staff members, Mashaba says.

He points out that preliminary investigations into the matter revealed that a city official was paid R1 million by the service provider for securing the deal for it. The city official allegedly took one official working for the service provider to a shop in the south which sells building material and spent R30 000 as a token of appreciation to the official, he adds.

“I was also informed that the service provider colludes with one of our officials who steals printer cartridges from our stores and sells them to the service provider who then sells it back to the city. When the team arrived at the property, they found one employee removing serial numbers from the boxes of the cartridges which had names of other municipalities and government departments.”

The team also established that the service provider illegally connected electricity supply to the property. City Power officials were called in and they removed the meter.

“The GFIS is currently conducting a number of investigations into contracts entered with ICT suppliers. I want to eliminate corrupt elements throughout the city, including investigating illicit deals and contracts that were secured by the previous administration and this includes our technology space,” concludes Mashaba.

By Admire Moyo for ITWeb 

South Africa’s office workers spend nearly an hour a day working on their mobile devices despite having access to more powerful computers.

And they see smartphones as preferable to tablets when it comes to doing work on a mobile device.

This is according to a recent survey of 12 000 office workers nationwide by Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy. The survey quizzed South African office workers on their technology preferences in the workplace.

Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, said:”The results show how mobile devices are making greater inroads to just about everyone’s working life. Even if people have access to desktops and laptops, they spend an hour a day working on their smartphones. We expect this number to climb.”

When asked which mobile device was most needed for work, 52% said a smartphone while 38% said a tablet. Interestingly people in both categories said they would prefer to bring their own devices to work (the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon as it is called), a global trend in which workers associate greater enjoyment in using their own devices.

The survey also asked about workers’ preferred operating system. When it came to desktop computers, 80% said they preferred windows while only 11% preferred macOS, Apple’s desktop operating system.

When asked the same question about laptops, 79% said they prefer windows while 15% preferred Apple’s operating system.

On smartphones however, 41% prefer Apple’s IOS operating system to Google’s Android at 50%. For tablets, Apple comes top at 49% compared to Android’s 37%.

“Interestingly the survey also showed that when people work on smartphones or tablet’s, 77% prefer to do it away from their desks, even if they are still in the office.

“It’s a habit – people think of smartphones and tablets as mobile tools so they often use them elsewhere.

“Many of our clients are now setting up more casual areas of chairs, couches and mini desks where people can nip away from the desk and work elsewhere for a while.

“This is especially true for millennial workers who tend to be less inclined to sit at their desks all day and love using mobile devices,” Andrews noted saying given the rise of mobile devices offices would have to change to accommodate the demand for working away from the traditional desk.

When asked which were the ‘most important IT features’, 73% said remote access, 50% said high performance machines, 44% said an ability to access applications offline while 32% said some sort of protection for their devices against weather and/or dirt.

Finally, people were asked about something every office worker has strong views on: IT Support.

“The survey asked people where they turn to for IT support: 35% said the IT help desk, 21% simply googled the problem while 13% asked colleagues,” Andrews concluded.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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