=From:          "Adrian Schofield" <[log in to unmask]>
=To:            <[log in to unmask]>
=Subject:       Information Technology Association (ITA)
=Date:          Tue, 7 Jul 1998 22:24:07 +0200

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Good afternoon

=It is highly unfortunate that you have chosen to reach a wide audience =
=with your disparaging remarks about the ITA, based on a lie published by =
=Mr Mahdi in the Y2K State of the Nation document.  Our Association has =

That document is an official Government document that according to my
information has already gone to Cabinet.

If it is a lie then I suspect you need to take some very fast action
to correct the impression it must have created.

=never advocated any lowering of standards, it has merely disagreed with =
=Mr Mahdi on the best source of compliance definition.  Our own Y2K group =

I merely reacted to a published document and copied those who had
origionally had seen the document and copied the closed group which
I represent on occasion in specific IT fora.

As it happens I have come to the conclusion that I agree with Mr
Mahdi on this matter but also that unfortunately the ITA and the ITAA
appear to have us by the proverbials and that we as an community will
just have to accept what is fed to us for now.

I acknowledge that it is entirely the fault of the consumer that we
have allowed ourselves into this position but that does not
excuse your organisation and its larger sibling for taking the easy
way out of what will be a problem with long term implications for a
growing number of people.

That Microsoft is unable within itself to achieve a common
implementaion of the definition merely serves to confirm that
Suppliers really dont care as long as the customer keeps on paying
and is forced to do so in order to keep doing his normal tasks.

Certainly any attempt by ITAA or any one else to impliment a
definition that required consistency of such simple details as date
windows, must have been doomed from the start.

Its absolute nonesense to argue that any supplier has a right to
select his own set of standards, as Elmar Roberg did while defending
this position last month, when the products produced have
become de facto the norm, or are mass marketed to millions of
people who in most cases dont understand the significance
of the technical waffle in the documentation.

I have examples of licence agreements that are obscured by the
packaging but are deemed to apply if the package is open, there is
anothe example where the documentation says that a copy of the
licence is available from the retailer supplying the software and
must be read before the package is opened.

When last did you hear of a retailer offering your pc package
customer a chance to see the licence agreement before he paid
at the till and left the store? They couldn't afford to do it.

Much of the documentaion these days only appears on the installation
CD anyway. Far to late for anyone to asses the criticality of
something like a date window or the rediculous Corel warrentee.

Its fair enough to use that arguement with mainframe applications
sold into major IT shops on a long sell cycle, but for consumer
items, I suggest it smacks of expoitation.

=has been working closely with the NYDSC and will continue to promote the =
=interests of the wider community in resolving the Y2K issues.
=The ITA was formed in 1996 through the merger of the Business Equipment =
=Association and the Computing Services Association and represents the =
=broad range of vendors of IT products and services in South Africa.  It =
=has about 250 member companies and pursues a policy of dialogue with all =
=other parties concerned with the use of IT and the development of the =
=relevant skills in South Africa.
=We have regular dialogue with the CSSA, the ITUC, the BITF, the NITF, =

I certainly hope that the CSSA will start to reconsider who it gets
into bed with in future, or at least the extent to which it is prepared
to accept the seductive blandishments of its partners.

I for one, as along time member, will be a great deal more vigilant in this
respect in future.

I have not had any dealings with the ITUC and so cannot comment on
their role however there is to my mind an important task to be played
by a consumer watch dog and this need has really only just started to

=the IFIP and the EIF.  We are full participants in processes such as the =
=ITNQF and the CIDA project and our overriding concern is the promotion =
=of a healthy IT sector, without which South Africa will be marginalised =
=in the global economy.

Healthy in the sense that you continue to supply products with a
usefull life determined by your ability to build the next, more
complex and less user friendly, version. Its a suppliers world right
now but that must change.

I would suggest that your objective has absolutely nothing to do with
the ability of SA to operate a cost effective economy but every-
thing to do with ensuring that one sector booms.

I do accept that this is not a unique SA problem, so its probably
unfair to blame the ITA, but I think you do need to accept some level
of responsibility for what is rapidly, in my view, becoming a very
questionable industry.

=We apologise for the fact that our web site is temporarily unavailable, =
=due to the fact we are currently changing service providers.  However, I =
=will be delighted to answer any queries you may have about the =
=Association and its activities.

We all have our problems.

I am copying this to the origional list because I think your comments
are likely to be of interest to them.

Openess and transparency are the new bye words after all.

Thank you for your comments and the chance to debate them.

Henry Watermeyer

=Adrian Schofield
=+27 11 789 3805 (ITA office)
=+27 82 501 3900 (Mobile)
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Henry C Watermeyer                         'Phone +27-11-716-3260/8000
Director - Computer & Network services     Fax    +27-11-339-1225
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
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