PURPOSE : The purpose of this paper is to trace the trajectory of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, an electronic tolling (e-tolling) programme based in South Africa, to argue for the importance of taking advantage of similar public project opportunities to introduce the concept of Transformational
DESIGN / METHODLOGY / APPROACH : The research uses an interpretive perspective and utilizes actor–network theory (ANT) to identify the roles and interests of the various stakeholders within the project and assess how each stakeholder could have better influenced the project’s sustainability using a
t-government approach. FINDINGS : The findings suggest that in the midst of waning global actor interest, and strong local displeasure about specific public projects, public participation offers an ideal opportunity to introduce
the notion of t-government, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform government for citizen benefits. The research allowed the authors to posit that public participation projects are solid and indispensable avenues for introducing t-government. Part of this claim is hinged
on the view that the specific e-toll project carries a visible ICT artefact, which has embodied its own patterns of use characterized by various viewpoints, values, opinions and rhetoric. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS : The paper elevates the importance of t-government as a means to bring about practical transformation in government using public projects. The paper suggestshowgovernments can use
public participatory approaches to assimilate a new way of working in government. ORIGINALITY / VALUE This paper contributes to research on the emerging discourse on t-government. The paper also highlights the utility of ANT as a tool for understanding the dynamic public sector ICT
programmes, their associated complexities and unintended consequences.