SPEECH: SA: Ndabeni: Address by the Deputy Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni, on the Budget Vote for the Department of Communications, Parliament (08/05/2012)
8th May 2012
In the next ten days we will be celebrating the World Telecommunications on Information Society Day on 17 May 2012 under the theme "Women and Girls in ICT". Together with the industry and in collaboration with the Northern Cape Provincial Government we have planned a festival of activities beginning from the 17 - 20 May 2012 to encourage and acknowledge the role of women in ICTs.
This year's budget speech theme is "Building ICT infrastructure for South Africa's advancement in the knowledge and digital economy". It is a living theme and is consistent with the elective mandate of this Administration. In building information highways we will indeed be able to connect rural and urban, rich and poor, all corners of the Republic thereby enhancing the quality of education and health; reduce poverty and inequality by increasing access to services; create jobs; ensure our people transact and communicate safely when they use cyber space and most importantly working together as a nation to combat child pornography and human trafficking.
Honourable Speaker, in rolling-out of ICT infrastructure, Network operators must be encouraged to share infrastructure which, I believe, will enable them to make savings and maximise broadband deployment to the home and business as well as reduce the cost to communicate.
It is my view that there are no limits in technology innovation. As a result we will construct univocal policies to further enhance market liberalisation, encourage investment in the economy, level the playing field by encouraging new entrants in the market, and indeed this will be done in the public interest. We are committed to support research, development and innovation initiatives in the Information Communications Technologies (ICT's), which aim to develop a strong base for information society and knowledge economy.
Honourable chairperson, in her address the Minister spoke about the three Flagship programmes of the department - the Comprehensive ICT Policy Review, Broadband and the Broadcasting Digital Migration.
Without going into the details of these projects, the availability of broadband and digital terrestrial television will encourage businesses and individuals to access a variety of these services online. As more businesses and individuals access these services online, it is therefore critical that a conducive policy environment exist to build confidence and trust in the use of the cyberspace including the protection of critical ICT infrastructure.
In this regard, in March 2012, Cabinet approved the National Cyber Security Policy Framework. This policy framework provides for amongst others:
Measures to build confidence and trust in the secure use of ICT;
Measures to address national security in terms of cyberspace;
Measures to combat cyber threats including cyber - warfare, cyber - crime, cyber - terrorism, cyber - espionage and others;
The development, review and updating of existing laws to ensure alignment with the National Cyber security Policy Framework.
The Cyber security Policy framework was developed on the understanding that ensuring a safer cyberspace is critical if South Africa is to take full advantage of the information economy and society. Cyber security is non-negotiable as Government need to assure citizens that they are safe and secure when in cyberspace. This will ensure that there is uptake and usage of online services which will bring about more efficiency in the way business is conducted and in the way people interact be it socially and otherwise.
The protection of children and vulnerable groups is important, it is imperative that people begin to understand what constitutes some of the online ills that might be perceived to be harmless as these might have detrimental results. In addressing this, the Department has commenced the process of developing a Cyber security Awareness Programme in conjunction with relevant stakeholders.
We will in 2012/2013 focus on establish a Cyber security Hub to pool public and private sector threat information for the purposes of processing and disseminating such information to relevant stakeholders including the Cyber security centre.
Honourable Chairperson, as we are dealing with the issue of cyber security, we are also faced with the high rate of cable theft, which is a cause for concern as this directly impacts on critical ICT infrastructure which adversely affects individuals, business and government. The Department, together with the Justice and Crime Prevention Cluster is addressing this issue.
The impact of copper theft is that one day we might not be able to access our money from the banks, including social grants, nor will we be able to utilize certain equipment in hospitals due to systems breakdown. Thus cable theft amounts to terrorism as it could lead to a loss of innocent lives.
ICT Rural Development
With regard to our contribution to the comprehensive rural development programme, which is led by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the Department has developed the ICT Rural Development Strategy which will be implemented in the 2012/2013 financial year. The strategy, over the MTEF period, focuses on establishing new access centres in the 161 priority areas across the country, as identified by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
The strategy also affirms our commitment to connect all schools and health centres in the country. Due to the cross cutting nature of this project, we have established a dedicated Task Team comprising the Departments of Communications, Basic Education, Public Service and Administration, Rural Development and Land Reform, Healthand Science and Technology.
During 2012/2013 financial year we have prioritised the provision of broadband connectivity to 1 650 schools in all provinces as the initial phase of the implementation of the National Connectivity Plan for schools. This project is a result of a legacy project of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. The broadband connectivity will enable schools to have access to the internet, emails and hosting services. This connectivity will also strengthen learning and teaching processes, enable sharing of educational resources in schools and improve administrative processes.
The Department, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, is also facilitating the development of the Business Case which will ensure that every school across the country is connected as part of the Broadband Strategy. Providing connectivity to our impoverished rural communities is a key priority because communications facilitates socio-economic development especially access to government services.
In addition, we (will) have partnered with the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs in our quest to provide small enterprises and cooperative with connectivity as part of the Department's small business development programme.
Honourable Members you will note that I have not mentioned FET colleges and Tertiary institutions (in the above paragraphs) mainly because we are still engaging with Department of Higher Education and Training on the approach as these institution are also a critical stakeholder that need information so as to enhance the knowledge they get and be able to inform research findings in the relevant fields.
Community Broadcasting Services
We are committed to increase the footprint of community radio stations across the country. Our vision is to ensure that there is a community radio station in every municipality. We have begun a process to look at the impact of the community radio support programme since its inception in 1998. This review will assist us to develop and implement a comprehensive Community Radio Station Support Programme, focusing on content, capacity building, signal distribution and infrastructure. This will ensure an integrated approach to addressing the needs and challenges of existing Community Radio Stations and the establishment of new stations.
In order to alleviate the cost of providing signal distribution to community broadcasters, SENTECH announced the implementation of reduced signal distribution tariffs with effect 01 April 2012 where signal distribution costs for community broadcasters have been reduced by an average of 33% for Community TV services and 65% for Community Radio services. We welcome this relief provided by SENTECH. This goes a long way to ensure that community broadcasting continues to provide information to their communities and assists in deepening our democracy.
Providing support to community television sector is a new focus area that will be addressed in the 2012/2013 financial year. Furthermore, the Comprehensive Policy Review process, will consider amongst others, the best mechanisms for the growth and development of Community Television in the country.
The allocation of Community TV on the current digital terrestrial television multiplexes is being dealt with by ICASA in their Digital Terrestrial Television regulations. This will allow community television broadcasters to fully participate in the digital era.
In a world where ICT reaches every corner of the human life, the competitiveness of an economy and social cohesion have increasingly become dependent on ICT-related skills and competencies and digital literacy of the workforce.
The latest Global Information Technology report published by the World Economic Forum 2012 highlighted that South Africa ranks at 72 out of 104 countries based on availability of infrastructure, affordability and skills. In addition, a report published in 2008 by the International Data Corporation (IDC), emphasised that more than 90% of jobs available in 2014 will require ICT skilled workers.
Our short to medium term plan within the Department is to integrate major skills development entities and initiatives. The DoC has embarked on a process to integrate the skills entities and initiatives for maximum impact on required skills for advancing the knowledge and digital economy. This initiative will act as a national catalyst that provides an enabling platform across key national and provincial departments, academia, industry, civil society role - players and global development partners to ensure adequate availability of e-skills and digital literacy to meet the needs of the economy in future.
The integration process will allow the Department to improve e-Skills initiatives at tertiary institutions including one of the two proposed Universities that are envisaged to be established in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga by the Department of Higher Education and Training.
We will do this by capitalising on:
Increasing our provincial presence through establishing provincial e-skills knowledge production and coordination hubs, from the current five (5) to nine (9) aimed at impacting e-skills capacity development at a provincial and local level.
Increase our national research network for knowledge production and innovation to ensure that the e-skills interventions are based on sound evaluative principles.
Investments already made in enhancing existing education and training platforms for example, FET colleges, e-centres to deliver new courseware required to advance the knowledge and digital economy.
Forging closer collaboration with State Owned Entities such as USAASA and NEMISA.
This year we will host the second e-Skills Summit that will bring a collaborative action orientated approach across all stakeholder groups in Government, Business, Education, Civil Society and global development partners to ensure that South Africa has a well developed, widely supported and on-going plan to build e-skills (ICT) capacity. In addition to all the above we will work with Telkom in their programme known as "Facilitating youth in ICT" to provide skills to mostly rural youth. The programme has four components namely:
Internship programme; a six months skills development programme for matriculants (100) with mathematics and Science
Learnership programme which helps beneficiaries to enroll from N4, N5 and N6 qualification with 1 year experience in the identified field; and (200)
Capacity building programme which focuses on post FET students. The next intake is scheduled for June 2012 (200)
Heritage Content through National Digital Repository and Military Veterans Heritage Programme
In line with the Word Summit on Information Society of which South Africa is a signatory, the Department initiated a National Digital Repository on cultural heritage whose strategic thrust is to capture, digitise and disseminate South Africa's cultural heritage. This was also to address South Africa's past imbalance of historical collection. It is meant to complement efforts by the National Department of Arts and Cultureon fostering social cohesion and national identity.
In implementing this programme young people were capacitated to collect relevant content in their communities. In this current financial year the department is in the process of soliciting proposals from young people to collect relevant content which will contribute to job creation. This programme seeks to collect content from all the provinces with specific focus on rural areas where cultural heritage content can be found. This programme is done through the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa, which has the responsibility of for local content digitisation amongst others.
Furthermore, the Department will focus on the establishment of Content Generation Hubs which will play an important role in the gereneration of local content. The migration from analogue to a digital broadcasting environment which allows for increased number of channels will necessitate the need for additional content for broadcasting.
The department has conceptualized the digitisation of Military Veterans content for both statutory and non-statutory forces. The programme seeks to document and preserve the heritage of the military veterans. The strategic thrust is to record, profile and digitise the history and the experiences of the military veterans. The primary focus would be on non statutory forces whose activities have never been properly recorded.
The programme is anchored on a principle that "nothing for military veterans without them". Hence the programme has trained so far 30 military veterans and their beneficiaries from the target of 90 to ensure that they are capacitated to record their own content.
The participants that were trained are in the process of being deployed into provinces to collect relevant content in the form of interviews and will be compensated accordingly. The department is partnering with South African Military Veteran Association to ensure necessary processes are a followed.
Since 2001, the focus of the organisation was to deliver on skills for the broadcasting industry that is, radio and television. New qualifications were recently accredited by MICT SETA that included animation and graphic design. The Institute is currently offering two NQF level 4, and three NQF level 5 qualifications in TV and Radio production, animation and graphic design.
The global change in digital technology creates opportunities for new types of jobs and innovation. The South African Broadcast Digital Migration programme serves as a conduit for new skills development in the digital media industry and for job creation for the unemployed.
The landscape of multimedia technologies and services is undergoing a global revolution as a result of the convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and internet networking technologies.
Corporate Governance at NEMISA has been strengthened through the appointment of three board members in critical positions including that of the new chairperson. The newly reconstituted board will play a critical role in the integration process of the skills capacity development entities and initiatives
.Za Domain Name Authority
We are proud of having established .Za DNA as an authority that regulates the domain space through the allocation and certification of IP address in the country. Progress has been made with regard to establishing a central registry and key priorities going forward are education and awareness, and improving .Za DNA competitiveness, inter alia pricing, automated domain name registry and compliance with industry best practice.
.Za DNA's efforts of establishing the Central Registry have not gone unnoticed, and immediate benefits of the Central registry are already materializing in bigger ways than originally imagined. Recently, the African Union Commission endorsed the .Za DNA Central Registry's bid to launch and operate the .africa Internet domain. This is an important achievement for South Africa because it shows the confidence the Continent has in South Africa and particularly in the .Za DNA infrastructure.
The world is currently running out of internet addresses. As we move towards the information age where every gadget from your security system to your mobile devises depend on internet addresses, there is a need to provide for more addresses. Therefore, the Department, with the assistance of industry experts is developing a a strategy to facilitate the migration from IPv4, which is depleting, to IPv6 which has orders of magnitude more internet addresses than IPv4 that will meet our present and future internet address needs.
The Department is active in the work of the Universal Postal Union. Along with electronic communications and transport networks, the postal network forms part of the lifeblood of the economy of a country. The Department is actively working with stakeholders to prepare for the Universal Postal Congress that will take place in September 2012, in Doha, Qatar. As South Africa we are playing a leading role in coordinating Africa's preparations for the Congress.
Top of the agenda will be to ensure that Africa gets a fair deal within the global postal system as African countries try to improve their postal networks to provide a universal, affordable and quality service for all of the citizens of our continent.
South Africa also plays an important role in the UPU as an elected Member of the Postal Operations Council that deals with the operational, economic and commercial aspects of the postal business.
Social Network Media Development
We call upon our fellow colleagues and the citizens at large to exploit the opportunities presented by social networks which include amongst others a more efficient communication medium that reaches millions of people within a second. This network when effectively utilized assist in getting quick feedback from the affected and involved. It is high time that we use these networks for development. For example, teachers can ensure that their learners take interest in the home works through posting the questions on their Facebook, Twitter or Mixit pages where majority of learners are found.
Let me take this opportunity to thank President JG Zuma, Cabinet, Minister Dina Pule for their continuous support, Director - General, senior managers, staff in the Ministry and team DoC for their hard work and mostly I thank my family for their unconditional support and understanding. Fellow South Aricans u can check me on my Facebook page or follow me on twitter for more information.
I thank you
Article courtesy of
, retrieved on 29th May, 2012