lthough Joomla has been around since 2005 and is being used by more than 30 million people or businesses, it has yet to really kick off in South Africa. It will probably be the preferred choice as the Internet and access to the Internet improves since Joomla is simple and user-friendly. The biggest hurdle is finding a way to bring the computers with Internet access and electricity to the people. For now, many rely on their cell phones or Internet cafes to access the net which limits their chances of needing Joomla.
AS far as CMS or Content Management Systems are concerned, Joomla is being used by some local government offices and municipalities. In Cape Town, there are more than 10 who have launched their website using this open source CMS and they appear to be very satisfied with it.
The Challenges For Joomla in South Africa
Internet infrastructure is an even bigger problem than service delivery. Rather than pinpoint Joomla as being the problem, it’s more a case of not being understood so it’s sidestepped.
Much of the resistance comes from those who are not computer literate yet in a position of power and authority. Since they don’t see how Joomla and a new website can help them achieve their goals for the people and the lack of personnel knowledgeable enough to run the website, the usual reaction is to stick to traditional methods of communications.
At the same time, there is a general consensus that starting and maintaining a website is too expensive for a government agency or small business. Many also believe that the demands of running a website are going to take attention and funds away from current programs. Of course, this general view is not shared by everyone. There are a few forward thinkers in government who have gone ahead with their plans to be online. Some of these official government sites are Northern Cape, the City of Johannesburg, and the Office of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs or CoGTA.
Benefits For Governments to Pick Joomla
Obviously, governments are burdened by a strict budget and monitoring which makes it critical for them to pick Joomla once they decide to go online. The cost of setting up a website really depends on the platform you choose to use and maintaining costs.
- It’s an Open Source with many add-in features and apps available
- It’s cost effective because of the wide range of choices you are given including invoicing, billing, hosting forums and news
- Its standards are high and industry-accepted
- It is compatible with most web browsers
- It does not require a professional web master to oversee daily operations
- It does not require high end computer specs to run properly. Joomla 1.6 version requires less than 9Mb
- It’s easy to customize
- It has great support online and there is a Joomla! South Africa
If a government agency or small business hires a professional webmaster, graphic artist, content manager, and marketing staff, the costs will be incredible. It will require seeking contracts from the private sector. Joomla cuts through all these demands and makes it possible for a Internet savvy, computer savvy person to train in Joomla from within the organization and run the website without incurring the high costs.
The idea that it is free so it must be unreliable is completely false in this case because over 30 million people have learned to depend on it for their needs. That certainly speaks well for Joomla!