The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of trust in understanding usage of e-government services in South Africa. Of interest are services that involve two way interactions between citizens and government.
Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from members of the public using in-depth interviews and a structured questionnaire, respectively.
The findings show that trust in internet and in government as a provider of e-services are important factors that differentiates users and non-users of e-government services. The two factors are also significantly related to willingness to start using e-government services. Trust in e-service provider unlike trust in internet was however found to be a stronger differentiator of users and non-users and to have a stronger relationship with willingness to start using e-government services.
Efforts aimed at promoting use of e-government services need to be based on a good understanding of factors that impact on citizens’ decisions in this regard. Such efforts need to include activities targeted at improving people’s trust in government’s ability to provide reliable and secure e-services.
While provision of government services using the online channel is a growing phenomenon in most African countries, not much research has been done into what governments should focus on in order to entice more citizens to take up this channel. This study contributes to addressing this gap.
This material is based upon work supported financially by the National Research Foundation. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and therefore the NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto.
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