Thursday, 23 October 2008

IEC website – the final word

It seems that the more you look at this story, the more jaw dropping it becomes… This will be my last mention of the matter, as I am bored of an organisation that refuses to listen when complaints are raised.

Needless to say, as I write this, I still cannot access the IEC website using my Firefox browser. If you think I am frustrated after first blogging about this just 5 days ago, let’s look at some other sources of information…

It would appear that this issue was first brought to the public’s attention on Tectonic on the 28th August 2008.

On the 1st September 2008, Aslam Raffee, Chair, OSS and Open Standards Working Group, Daniel Mashao, Chief Technical Officer of SITA and Helen King of The Shuttleworth Foundation laid a formal complaint about this digital discrimination with the South African Human Rights Commission.

Mr Raffee however notes in his blog entry of 1st September, where the full text of the complaint letter can be found, that “After we were not able to get a satisfactory response from the IEC, we have gone ahead and laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.” In other words Mr Raffee had already tried a full process of correspondence with the IEC on this matter, and received no feedback.

You will hardly be surprised then to note Pamela Weaver’s comment at the bottom of his blog where she states, “I complained to the IEC about this more than a year ago and received no response.”

As mentioned before, there are a number of technical reasons for this type of programming and code in websites being unprofessional. However, the website also contravenes the South African government’s own approved “open source strategy” and published “Minimum Interoperability Standards for Information Systems” government which commits government and its agents to open standards.

If the IEC is willing to ignore all these people, organisations and even the government when it comes to accessibility of information on their website, then what hope do we have of it ever being answerable to anyone for the more important tasks it is meant to perform?

2 comments:

Alastair said...

The only way I can see that the IEC is going to do anything about it is if South Africans demand, in their numbers, that the organisation sort out the problem. The problem is not a hard one unless you allow bureaucracy to get in the way.

The, perhaps bigger, problem is to get people to care enough to take action.

But keep watching ;-)

Anonymous said...

Your anonymous commenter strikes again :) I have heard, but have not been able to confirm, that a project is currently underway to entirely revamp the public web site. Of course this project would also be subject to the usual Accenture "shenanigans," so it might be many months before the new site sees the light of day.

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