EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 1 of 81
TUESDAY, 8 MAY 2012
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – COMMITTEE ROOM E249
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in Committee Room E249
House Chairperson Mr C T Frolick, as Chairperson, took the Chair and
requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or
PASSING AWAY OF MR R L PADAYACHIE AND MS M F NYANDA
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, before we
proceed with today’s business I wish to announce the untimely
passing away of the Minister for the Public Service and
Administration, hon R L Padayachie and the hon M F Nyanda, both
serving members of the National Assembly.
Arrangements are being made to schedule condolence motions in honour
of these members. Political parties will be informed accordingly.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 2 of 81
Debate on Vote No 27 – Communications
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS (Ms D D Pule): Hon Chairperson, hon
members of the House, hon Deputy Minister, Ms Stella Ndabeni,
chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee on
Communications, chairperson and members of the select committee,
honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to request
this House to observe a moment of silence for my three comrades and
former colleagues who have recently passed on. May their passing be
a reminder to us all that it is still noble to dedicate one’s life
to sacrifice and service to the people. The batons of Comrade Roy
Padayachie, Comrade Sicelo Shiceka and Comrade Florence Nyanda have
fallen. We need dedicated and selfless cadres to pick them up and
continue with the race to deliver services and improve the lives of
Thank you Hon Chairperson, we are honoured and deeply humbled by
this opportunity to present the Budget Vote of the Department of
Communications for the financial year 2012-13. Every time an
opportunity arises to speak in this august House one marvels at how
far we have come as a nation. Let me take this opportunity to salute
the heroines and heroes of our struggle who laid down their lives
for us to have the democratic freedom we now enjoy. Their vision was
that as people we must live together in a nonracial, nonsexist, free
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 3 of 81
and democratic South Africa. Amongst them, Ida Mntwana, Helen
Joseph, Ruth First, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela,
to name but a few.
In this month of May we salute the workers who continue to remind us
that our struggle for the liberation of our people is also about the
attainment of a better life for all, including freedom from economic
oppression. We also salute our heroines and heroes for leading our
gallant movement well into the year 2012, which marks the centenary
anniversary of our glorious movement, the ANC.
As we continue to celebrate the 12 presidents of this giant
movement, led by President Jacob Zuma, we remain uncompromising and
unflinching in our determination to build the information
communications technology, ICT, infrastructure which is the
infrastructure of infrastructures for South Africa’s advancement in
the knowledge and digital economy.
Chairperson, this Budget Vote is delivered during one of the most
significant months in the history of our beloved country. It has
been 18 years since the world heard former South African President,
Nelson Mandela say the following:
Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual
South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 4 of 81
justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human
soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.
Hon Chairperson, allow me to take this House down memory lane.
During the 1990s developing countries were advised to liberalise,
privatise and put in place independent regulators to regulate the
ICT sector. Understanding its socioeconomic development challenges,
South Africa adopted a managed liberalisation policy approach. South
Africa was not spared the mixed result that flowed from this
approach. Today we pride ourselves on the fact that our ICT sector
is competitive and can stand its ground against the best in the
Though the penetration of fixed-line telephony is stagnant at about
10% since 1999, we have seen phenomenal growth in the uptake of
mobile telephony in South Africa. Mobile penetration is estimated at
more than 100%, which is one of the highest rates in the world.
Currently, there are no authoritative statistics on broadband
penetration in South Africa. Estimates put broadband penetration at
2% for fixed-line broadband, around 4% for mobile Personal Computer,
PC, broadband and 17% for broadband penetration using smartphones.
This nation cannot be satisfied with these statistics. We have to
find practical solutions to fast-track the uptake and usage of
broadband services by the majority of our people. We have thus
decided to conduct a study into broadband coverage, penetration and
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 5 of 81
speed in South Africa. The postal sector is competitive, with the SA
Post Office being the dominant player in the reserved market and the
unreserved market being fully liberalised.
One of the key achievements of the SA Post Office, Sapo, has been
the significant growth in the roll-out of residential addresses in
the country since our democracy. The broadcasting industry is
competitive, with significant market players in the radio and
television markets. We are encouraged by the fact that the majority
of our people have access to these services. Our focus is to ensure
that those who do not have access are catered for in the short to
Hon Chairperson, in this financial year and for the medium-term we
have prioritised three flagship programmes which are at the core of
building a digital information and knowledge society. These include
the acceleration of building a modern digital infrastructure as well
as the policy reforms which position the country for an advanced
knowledge economy in 2030. These programmes are: developing a
National Integrated ICT Policy; rolling out a national broadband
network; and implementing the digital broadcasting migration policy.
These programmes are aligned to government’s goals of building a
developmental state that will contribute to rural development,
improving the quality of education and delivery of health care
services and relentlessly fighting the scourge of crime and
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corruption that disadvantages the state in the delivery of services,
especially to the masses who are both in rural and urban areas.
As we pursue these goals we want to ensure that our communities
receive their share of the socioeconomic dividend that is a result
of our democratic freedom. We are focused on elevating the role
played by women in the sector. Therefore, in November 2012 we shall
be hosting a “Women in ICT” conference to celebrate the female
trailblazers within the sector and also highlight the ICT career
options that are available to our young women and girls - ICT has to
be a career of choice for them too.
It is important to note that the department is spearheading
ICT programmes focused on youth, children, women and people with
disabilities. As part of this work we have placed 300 young people
in health and education centres to do community service which gives
them work experience and allows them to earn their living, even
though it’s minimal.
We are doing this as part of our contribution in the fight against
unemployment, especially of young people. A country where one in
every four people of working age is unemployed has to do everything
it can to return the dignity of its marginalised people by creating
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We are unshaken as the department in our commitment to change this
untenable situation that is corroding the fibre of our society. We
are happy to mention that our partners in business in this sector
are also contributing in improving the lives of the people. Despite
the recession, they have created numerous jobs; for example,
MultiChoice has created 531 jobs with Vodacom contributing another
450 jobs last year. MTN has created 4 543 direct and 14 500 indirect
jobs since 2010. Working together, we believe that the sector can
create more jobs while enriching the lives of South Africans.
Young people across the world are leading ICT entrepreneurs, and the
most successful are among the richest people in the world today and
their applications have changed the lives of millions of people.
There is no reason why the next Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame and
fortune cannot come from South Africa.
In cultivating these types of entrepreneurs and to honour the pledge
of the International Telecommunication Union to increase the numbers
of women in the sector, we seek to involve girls in our programmes.
Hon members, today we have ten scholars from schools around the
country in attendance. Could you please stand up and be seen?
[Applause.] Thank you for coming. We have made arrangements with
their schools to ensure that these scholars catch up with the
academic work that they will have missed while they are here. We are
grateful for the co-operation we have received from the Department
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 8 of 81
of Basic Education and the schools in this regard. We want these
scholars to have an opportunity to meet captains of industry,
legislators and, of course, officials from the department. Please
meet them. We hope this will ignite and strengthen their interest in
pursuing careers in the sector.
Young people tend to be very good with word-of-mouth marketing. We
hope they will write about their experience today on their social
media profiles on Twitter and Facebook and tell their friends that
South Africa and the ICT sector are alive with career possibilities.
On 19 and 20 April 2012, we hosted a successful National ICT Policy
colloquium under the theme: Defining a new era in ICTs for all South
Africans. We also used the occasion to invite 20 students from the
University of Johannesburg to attend the colloquium. We wanted them
to rub shoulders with leaders of the sector and to have front row
seats in this policy development process.
The colloquium has helped to unpack key issues we have to confront
in our plans to craft the digital future our country deserves. The
colloquium was unanimous in its support for the ICT policy review
and the development of a national integrated ICT policy for the
country. This policy review should address availability,
accessibility and affordability of broadband.
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Broadband is an essential digital resource for accessing basic
services, products, commerce and job creation. It has the potential
of creating opportunities and opening new markets that allow
businesses, particularly small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs,
Given the strategic importance of this enabling infrastructure the
department, together with the ICT industry, has committed to
delivering 100% broadband penetration and delivering a million jobs
by 2020. Our partnership with the ICT industry gives us confidence
to galvanise sufficient resources to deliver on this commitment. At
this point I would like to extend my gratitude to the ICT industry
and acknowledge their commitment to working with us.
During the 2011-12 financial year we made substantial progress
towards the implementation of the Broadcasting Digital Migration
Policy. In February 2012 final amendments to the Broadcasting
Migration Policy were published in the Government Gazette for
implementation by various role-players.
The Independent Communications Authority of SA has commenced with
the process to finalise the Digital Terrestrial Television
regulations. It is envisaged that the final gazette will be
published in June 2012.
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The SA Bureau of Standards, SABS, standard according to which
locally manufactured set top boxes will be built has been completed
and is currently undergoing public consultation in a process led by
the SABS. The standard will be finalised by the end of May 2012.
I want to affirm to this House that we are on course on the Digital
Terrestrial Transmission, DTT, process. Our state-owned enterprises,
the SA Broadcasting Corporation, or SABC, Sentech, and the Universal
Service and Access Agency of SA will play a key role in assisting
the department to deliver digital broadcasting in the country.
Sentech has already achieved digital signal coverage of more than
60% of the population on the Digital Video Broadcasting
Transmission, DVB-T2, standard. We have launched the Digital
Terrestrial Transmission, DTT, awareness campaign where we are
educating the South African public to understand what digital
broadcasting means and the need for them to take action. This
campaign is being conducted in a phased manner and will be rolled
out in all the provinces.
We believe the migration to digital broadcasting will increase the
demand for content due to the increase in the number of channels
available to broadcasters. We anticipate that communities and
individuals will seize this opportunity to tell their own stories to
the world. They can also be active participants in the growth of the
online entertainment industry through dedicated services.
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Our efforts are geared towards supporting the development of
education, health and cultural content in South Africa. Several
initiatives are under way to increase the availability of digital
content as we speak.
This financial year the department has prioritised the amendments of
the Electronic Communications Bill, the Independent Communications
Authority of SA, Icasa, Bill, the Post and Telecommunications
Related Matters Amendment Bill and the Electronic Communications and
Transactions Bill. These amendments are confined to technical
matters which cannot be deferred until the completion of the longer
process of conducting a comprehensive ICT policy.
One of the most common observations from engagements with business,
particularly SMMEs, labour and civil associations, is around the
cost associated with communications services. Affordability of
services remains a challenge. Everyone in the ICT sector has a
contribution to make in building affordable ICT infrastructures. One
of the key and immediate contributions we can make is to have
honest, open and progressive discussions about how we can lower the
cost to communicate. Chairperson, I also want to acknowledge that
work has been done on lowering the cost to communicate thus far.
We shall be hosting the International ICT Indaba from 4 to 7 June
2012 in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 12 of 81
Our goal is to use this annual event to achieve several objectives,
amongst others, to attract investment.
We are happy with the support that this initiative has received from
our local operators, including MTN, Vodacom, Telkom and many others.
Stabilising our state-owned companies remains a key priority for the
department. This is key to ensuring that they discharge their
service delivery mandates. To demonstrate our seriousness about
these companies we have begun a process to capacitate the branch in
the department charged with the oversight responsibility to ensure
that the department is better informed about the activities of the
state-owned enterprises, SOEs. Our goal is to ensure that by 2014
all our entities achieve clean audits.
Regarding the SABC, we are happy with the progress made after the
board appointed the executive leadership. These appointments are
helping to stabilise the broadcaster and to enable its management to
focus on meeting the conditions of the government guarantees. May I
also add that the turnaround strategy has started to show positive
The SABC is also working towards launching a 24-hour news channel.
We are pleased to say that we support them in their commitment to
forging forward with this initiative.
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We recently appointed new board members and a chairperson at the SA
Post Office, Sapo. The board has already advertised the post of the
chief executive officer last week and is expected to advertise the
other executive positions over the next few days. We expect that
these posts will be filled soon.
The board will also have to oversee the processes of integrity
systems testing at the Postbank to avoid challenges in the future.
At Sentech the board has assured us that it has started the process
of filling all the critical positions.
At Usaasa we are on course to appoint a new board within the month
of May 2012. The appointment of the new chief executive officer,
CEO, will be finalised in due course.
Hon members, at the fourth Brazil, Russia, India, China and South
Africa, Brics, Summit held on 28 to 29 March 2012 in India, ICT was
discussed. This laid the foundation for talks on areas of common
interest such as connecting the partner countries and fighting
cybercrimes. The theme of the Summit was: Brics partnership for
global stability, security and prosperity.
The department participated in the, International Telecommunication
Union’s World Radiocommunication Conference in February 2012; the
Universal Postal Union meeting in preparation for the congress which
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 14 of 81
will be held in September 2012; and the GSMA Mobile World Congress,
which took place in February 2012.
The department will soon be hosting the Southern African Development
Community, SADC, ICT Ministers meeting to further our processes of
regional harmonisation of ICT policies in June 2012.
We are continuing to reposition the department to fulfil its
mandate. We have focused on filling vacancies in the new
organisational structure, prioritising the acquisition of skills in
areas such as broadband, telecommunications policy, postal services,
economics, frequency spectrum and ICT research. As a result of this
focus and resignations over the year, our vacancy rate is at 29% in
We are confident that we can reverse this trend within the first
half of this financial year because most of the recruitment work has
been done and we are now close to finalising the appointments across
all employment levels.
We have established a project management office to deal with matters
that relate to the DTT chairperson on a daily basis. This office is
I wish to thank the director-general of the department and the team
of the Department of Communications, DOC, for the good work they are
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 15 of 81
continuing to do. Also, I will not forget to thank my colleague,
Stella Ndabeni, for the support that she is giving me on a daily
Also, allow me to express my appreciation to the chairpersons and
CEOs of the public entities reporting to the DOC and leaders of the
ICT industry who have enthusiastically come on board to work with
us. They are always available when we call them.
Finally, and through you, Chairperson, I would like to invite the
hon members to approve Budget Vote No 27 of the Department of
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr S E KHOLWANE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister,
members of the portfolio committee, colleagues, Director-General of
the Department of Communications and staff, chairperson and other
councillors, if they are here, chairperson, board members and chief
executive officers, CEOs, of the information communications
technology, ICT, sector, the chairperson, board members and the CEO
of the state-owned companies, members of the media and distinguished
guests, it is my pleasure to introduce, on behalf of the Portfolio
Committee on Communications, Budget Debate Vote 27 of the Department
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 16 of 81
Firstly, on behalf of the committee, I would like to convey our
sincere condolences to the people and social institutions that
nurtured and cared for the late former Minister of Communications,
Comrade Roy Padayachie. To his family and political home, the ANC,
receive our heartfelt condolences, and our prayers are with you
during these trying times.
This is our first Budget Debate Vote after the passing of our
beloved, the late hon Nontsikelelo Mavis Magazi, who, during her
time, served the people of South Africa with distinction. With the
advent of concepts such as digital cities and global villages, the
importance of ICT cannot be overlooked. The communications industry
plays a vital role in education, information dissemination, cultural
development, rural development and agriculture, health,
entertainment, national identity and the free flow of information to
enhance an open government.
Despite the constitutional guarantees to access to information, the
reality is that in South Africa, the cost to communicate is still
high. We acknowledge and appreciate the intervention by the
regulator to reduce the interconnection rates. However, compared
with other emerging economies, our cost to communicate remains
stubbornly high. According to the Africa prepaid Mobile Price Index
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 17 of 81
Mobile prices are cheaper in over 30 African countries than they
are in South Africa with prices in Kenya and other countries only
a fraction of the prices of even the lowest priced services in
South Africa. In South Africa, even the modest reductions imposed
on termination rates have generally not been passed on to the end
I am fully aware that some of you, in particular the operators, are
disputing this fact. It’s well, good and fine. To this end, as a
committee, we will embark on public hearings on the impact of the
call termination rate before the end of June 2012. Furthermore,
these hearings will not be limited to the call termination rate, but
will, in general, include the cost to communicate in the entire
The matter of data bundles was raised by the community of
Bushbuckridge during the consumer rights awareness campaign on 21
March 2012. To that end we have requested the regulator and the
operators to look into this matter. South Africans are complaining
that this data bundles issue needs to be addressed. I think we have
to adhere to what they are talking about and try to address this
matter. If they are wrong, we have to clarify it for them, but this
matter needs to be attended to. People can no longer complain about
data bundles which they don’t understand. Some of them are saying
that they buy it and it expires at a certain time. I did not use it,
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 18 of 81
and so on. Someone, somewhere must give guidance and clarity on the
We urge the Minister to consider section 21 of the Electronic
Communications Act to encourage rapid deployment of electronic
communications facilities. Furthermore, we urge the SA Broadcasting
Corporation, SABC, to comply with sections 10 and 11 of the
Broadcasting Act, Act 4 of 1999, in relation to the public service
and commercial services regarding, among other things, the
separation of accounts of the public broadcaster. This should be
enforced by the board.
We are clear on the matter that we are going to hold the board of
the SABC to account for sections 10 and 11, which call for the
separation of accounts. When they come before us they must be able
to account for the public service and commercial service separately.
We can no longer ignore the provision of the legislation as this
Chapter 9 of the Broadcasting Act of 1999 advises that the Minister
must establish an SA Broadcast Production Advisory body to advise
the Minister on how the development, production and display of local
television and radio content can be supported. We urge the Minister
to do so.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 19 of 81
In his fourth state of the nation address, the hon President
pronounced an infrastructure-led development. I won’t go into it at
length; we have already dealt with this particular matter. We are,
however, concerned, as a committee, that the ICT Infrastructure
Development Programme, in the department, has spent only 11,5% of
their budget during this third quarter of 2011-12. We are concerned,
because that is the division that must lead the infrastructure
development, but they have no capacity to spend. I hope what we have
said about capacitating the department will ensure that this
programme is able to spend because if they don’t do so, it is going
to disadvantage our people.
We are also mindful about the processes you have started, hon
Minister, of engaging the industry, starting with the colloquium
which you had. We think this is a step in the right direction. As I
have indicated, we hope that the 29% vacancy rate that you have
talked about will be dealt with. We’ve no doubt it will, as you have
already shown your capability in dealing with these matters.
Access to information for all South Africans is a constitutional
right enshrined in the country’s Constitution. As such, we appeal to
the Department of Communications to lead the industry in a national
strategy that will ensure that all people receive broadcasting
services, whether it’s radio or television, despite their
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I am raising this matter deliberately, because one of the reasons
why our people in rural areas find themselves without services is
this notion of population coverage. There is something wrong about
population coverage because it is thought of as coverage to the
entire country. Our poor people living in rural areas - I will
repeat “our poor”, because those who can afford it are able to have
some alternatives - continue to suffer under the auspices of
population coverage. We have to move away from population coverage
and face this matter head-on and deal with geographical coverage of
the country. [Applause.]
During the presentation to the committee by the department, we came
to the conclusion that the department is doing well in trying to
deal with the issue of the digital migration processes. However, we
have been receiving conflicting messages from the department and
other entities. To this extent, we will then call upon the
department to come before the committee on a date which we will
determine, so that we can be given an integrated digital migration
strategy in respect of where we are going as a country.
We are also mindful about the pressure of the timeframes as they
have been set out by ourselves, as a country, to the International
Telecommunication Union, ITU, and also to the Southern African
Development Community, SADC.
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The ANC has resolved that by 2014 all municipality areas must have
community radios and publications. It is therefore our joint
responsibility, as different spheres of government, to recognise the
importance of creating an enabling environment to facilitate the
development of a community broadcasting sector.
Once again, I take this opportunity and commend both the Independent
Communications Authority of South Africa, Icasa, and Sentech for
acting with urgency in reducing the signal distribution cost facing
the community broadcasters by 33% for community television and 65%
for community broadcasting, in terms of frequency modulations, FMs,
and so on. The outcome of this process will ensure the long-term
sustainability of community broadcasters.
Bendisithi niza kuliqhwabela izandla iGunya eliZimeleyo
lezoNxibelelwano laseMzantsi Afrika kwakunye noSentech. Kanti,
banjani na aba abantu? [I thought you were going to give the
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, Icasa, and
Sentech a round of applause. Tell me, what kind of people are you?]
Findings from different independent researchers indicate that the
Internet is the first communication tool that allows every user,
receiver, narrator and broadcaster in a global sphere. Within this
context, access to technology affects every sphere of life and with
a broadband penetration rate. As we have said, it is unconfirmed and
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 22 of 81
we are not sure. However, compared to the global average of 30% for
developed countries and 21% for developing countries, I’m definitely
sure that as South Africa we are lagging behind.
Bearing in mind what has been said above, it is therefore befitting
that the Department of Communications has sought a 20-20 vision to
ensure 100% broadband penetration in eight years’ time. This will be
in line with the ANC resolution that government should increase
access of information communications technology, ICT, services to
previously disadvantaged communities.
We have noted in the strategic plan presented by the department
before the committee that indeed we are dealing with the matter of
an integrated broadband master plan that will facilitate capital
investment, innovation and rural access. In this regard, we urge the
department to finalise the broadband strategy and consolidated
national broadband plan. Through this platform, our communities will
be empowered with access to information and two-way communication
with government, service providers and amongst themselves. Uncertain
markets coupled with the escalating demands for digital alternatives
have meant sustained and progressive mail volume decline, and this
is the new reality. We are saying, hon Minister, that we understand
that the decline of mail volume is going to cause a lot of
challenges to the Post Office. Indeed, one of the issues that we are
raising is that the immediate task of the newly appointed board of
the SA Post Office, Sapo, is to come up with a strategy to mitigate
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 23 of 81
the mail volume decline and a plan to sustain the Post Office moving
The ANC-led government always puts diversification at the centre of
our people’s interests. To this end, we support the final
realisation of the commitment which we made in the 1998 White Paper
on Postal Policy by finally enacting processes that assisted in the
establishment of the Postbank. However, Minister, I must indicate
that we need to indicate as a committee that the department needs to
do more around the issue of corporatisation of the Postbank. To be
honest, we are not satisfied that more work has been done around
this particular area. I am raising that as a member of the ANC, the
party that advocated that the Postbank must be established. We are
not happy with the progress. We hope that the department will put in
more effort and make sure that the next time they come to report
some progress will have been made will have been made to this
In conclusion, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the
Minister, the Deputy Minister, the director-general and the entire
department for taking the lead in this sector; state-owned
enterprises for their continued effort as the implementing arm of
government; and the industry for its robust contribution. We are
also encouraged that the budget, as requested, is sufficient to
address the ICT requirements and will support the state of the
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 24 of 81
nation address imperatives in terms of infrastructure development,
e-learning and job creation.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the
parliamentary support staff assigned to the Committee on
Communications, and also my Personal Assistant, Ms Beverly Walters,
who is currently on sick leave.
Before I conclude, I also want to reflect on the fact that three of
our members are not here today: hon Morutoa and hon Schneemann, who
are sick; and hon Muthambi, who is abroad due to work engagements.
I would like to take this opportunity to conclude with the following
words borrowed from an American industrialist, the founder of Ford
Motor Company and sponsor of the development of the assembly line
technique of mass production, Henry Ford:
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.
Working together we have done and will indeed continue to do more.
The ANC supports the Budget Vote. [Applause.]
Ms M R SHINN: House Chairperson, hon colleagues, I would like to
begin with a tribute to the late former Minister of Communications,
Roy Padayachie, who died this past weekend. While I did not know
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 25 of 81
him, my colleagues who previously served on the Communications
Portfolio Committee remember him with affection and respect. Our
sympathies go to his family and colleagues who have lost a man of
warmth, vision and dedication. The industry saw in him a man who
recognised the importance of technology, but he worked for a
government that has no clue about the critical role communication
plays in economic growth, job creation and the delivery of services
in South Africa. If it did, the President would have given it weight
in his state of the nation address and ensured it was a key player
in the infrastructure development plan. It was barely mentioned.
In the budget, the Department of Communications has been given
R290 million less than last year. This at a time when we need to
pour at least R90 billion into installing a broadband communications
backbone that reaches at the very least into every region and urban
hub and village in the country. We have to understand that without a
widespread high-speed accessible communication infrastructure, we
cannot educate, produce, trade, govern, and deliver services.
Communications technology is not a luxury or an afterthought; it is
a utility, like water, electricity and roads. South Africa’s
communications industry is in desperate need of transformation. It
needs to break loose from the stranglehold of a fixed-line monopoly
and mobile network duopoly and the lethargic regulatory process.
These forces have warped the communications landscape to their own
advantage. Bold, swift action is necessary to make the sector more
accessible and affordable to new and nimble entrepreneurs. They are
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 26 of 81
keen to build on the opportunities technology offers them. Without
their fresh energy, South Africa will fail to fully exploit its full
economic and developmental potential.
Communication and information technology should be a liberating
force, but this government is too inward-looking to allow that. It
has harnessed taxpayer funds to serve the electoral needs of the
governing party rather than the nation. The business sector, the
critical wealth generating engine of our nation, comes a poor second
to government‘s social re-engineering agenda.
Government controls too much of the ICT sector. It is the
legislator, regulator, wholesaler, retailer and nursemaid to start-
up businesses. The idea of liberating the sector from excessive
regulation so that business can prosper and create jobs is too
abstract a concept. Government wants to be seen to be handing over
the pay cheque.
This is in stark contrast to the DA-run Western Cape government. It
knows that to be an internationally competitive ecosystem, it must
have a leading-edge communication technology infrastructure. It
plans within the next two years to implement the largest wireless
mesh network in the world, connecting homes and businesses in the
industrial development zone on the West Coast, Khayelitsha and
Mitchells Plain. This will drive economic growth and jobs for all.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 27 of 81
The Western Cape plans by 2014 to have all the schools in the
province connected to broadband infrastructure. By 2016, every
municipality in the province will be connected to a broadband
By working better together, with vision, purpose and energy, the
Western Cape government and business sectors will make this province
a destination for internationally competitive enterprises to grow
and prosper in a connected world. It will be a destination of
The Western Cape’s target for widely accessible broadband, pips to
the post by four years that of the national government. If we are
lucky, the nation might have 100% broadband infrastructure coverage
in place by 2020, but no one is holding their breath. This issue has
been tossed back and forth for years. Cabinet approved its Broadband
Policy in 2010.
It took another year before a compact on this issue was signed with
30 major players in the ICT industry. Now the department is
exploring what broadband infrastructure exists in South Africa and
will spend some time finalising the broadband strategy before it is
released for further public comment. So the cycle of endless
consultation and consensus-seeking goes on and on. Meanwhile,
economic opportunities pass this country by and South Africa slips
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 28 of 81
further and further down the global rankings of ICT-empowered
In 2009, the SA National Broadband Forum called on government to
make the development of a comprehensive National Broadband Strategy
a high priority. If government had acted on its plan, every town and
village in South Africa would have broadband access by 2014, that’s
2 years away. We would have the cheapest broadband access in Africa
and lead the continent in terms of broadband penetration, but we are
eating the dust of other African countries.
The reasons for our Department of Communications’ inertia are many.
There has been a succession of disinterested and incapable
leadership in both Cabinet and the department. The relevant skills
and experience to grapple with complex technical issues are not
there, so they busy themselves with easy options. These include ICT
skills development, nurturing small and medium enterprises, SMEs,
expanding infrastructure to rural government facilities, regional
co-operation, digitising cultural heritage, and running emergency
call lines. All these may be worthwhile endeavours for
nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, or private enterprises but they
are not critical to the department’s focus. This must urgently give
life to the vision that this nation needs fast, accessible,
affordable communication infrastructure to help redress the economic
and social exclusion that deeply wounded our people in the past.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 29 of 81
The hon Minister is new in her job and the sector is giving her time
to settle in and get to grips with the enormity and complexity of
the sector. She is the third Minister of Communications in as many
years, but I hope she has quickly picked up the anger and cynicism
among the ICT market players towards her department’s inability to
shake the sector free of vested interests.
The sector needs to encourage new, dynamic and nimble players who
welcome competition to sharpen their game and win new markets.
However, government is not listening to them. It was clear at the
department’s recent ICT colloquium that the event was held to tick
the box of public participation as one of the necessary steps in
Participants were given scant warning about the event and little
time to become familiar with the necessary documentation to inform
the discussions on streamlining South Africa’s ICT policy.
Cynicism was there from the start when the assembled panel at the
opening session comprised entrenched incumbents who have shaped the
current communications environment to their own advantage. I doubt
whether many of those who took part, except for the inner circle,
expect much that is new and necessary to come from the colloquium.
It is likely to be business as usual as the department plays it
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 30 of 81
Another headache the department has to manage is the SABC. This is a
high-profile distraction because of the endemic corruption that
festered for years through the ranks of the corporation and the
board. I have no doubt that the new management is determined to turn
this behemoth around. Its radical surgery and disruption of comfort
zones means that this will be a bumpy ride. I wish them well.
However, the SABC’s ambitions need to be cut according to its cloth.
Treasury has not allocated the SABC all the money it needs to
complete its envisioned transformation to digital terrestrial
television. So, it must sideline its ambitions to launch 12 new TV
channels because the resources are not available. It must focus on
getting right its existing commercial channels so that it can regain
lost viewers and attract advertising.
These commercial channels must then be sold to help pay off its
debts and enable the SABC to focus on its public broadcasting
mandate that will mainly be funded by licence fees. Privatising its
commercial channels will also help support the diversification of
Another drain on the government’s resources and its ability to
rapidly liberate the communications sector is Telkom. Government is
the major shareholder of this entity that has a hefty R3,5 billion
fine hanging over its head because of the anticompetitive behaviour
that crippled our communications landscape.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 31 of 81
Whatever the details of Telkom’s negotiations with KT Corporation,
the net result should be that government relinquishes its
shareholding and the deal is structured in such a way that South
African investors and ICT industry players have a greater stake in
what should become a communications infrastructure wholesaler.
It should absorb Broadband Infraco and Sentech, which have done
little to deliver affordable communications infrastructure to the
nation. The department should also part company with the National
Electronic Media Institute of South Africa, which should move to the
Department of Higher Education and Training. The Universal Service
and Access Agency of South Africa should be closed down entirely. It
has achieved little except to enrich its management, many of whom
are being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit. The
Presidential National Commission serves no purpose and should be
closed immediately. The .za Domain Name Authority should revert to
the private sector and the Independent Communications Authority of
South Africa should be an independent, self-funding body.
This should free up the department to concentrate on its key mandate
of developing policies that open up the market to a diversity of
players, large and small; ensure easily accessible and affordable
communications infrastructure nationwide; regulate for a dynamic and
flexible environment that is technology-independent; and safeguard
the industry against monopolistic tendencies.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 32 of 81
South African ICT entrepreneurs are desperate for the opportunity to
exploit the potential of communications technology. It needs bold,
driven leadership to open up these opportunities for all and let the
nation prosper. I challenge you, hon Minister, to break with the
past failed record of this department and open up this sector to
effective competition. [Applause.]
Mrs J D KILIAN: Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister, colleagues,
the director-general and all other state entities and their leaders,
on behalf of Cope, I firstly want to express our deepest sympathy to
the family of the former Minister of Communications, the late Mr Roy
Padayachie. May his soul rest in peace. May his family find solace
in the thought that he served his country with dedication and
passion. Our condolences are also conveyed to the ANC.
With an approved new departmental structure which, according to the
strategic plan, was developed to underpin departmental priorities,
Cope hopes to see that the department, together with the regulator
and state-owned entities reporting to it, will in the coming year
have a meaningful impact on the ICT industry in South Africa.
Chairperson, Cope supports the five overarching strategic goals of
the Department of Communications. In order to fulfil this strategic
role in our country successfully it is necessary for the department
to engage the communications sector in a complete policy review.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 33 of 81
South Africa has had no major policy review of telecommunications
since the mid-nineties, when it embarked on a major consultative
process that resulted in a White Paper on Telecommunications and the
consequent Telecommunications Act of 1996. Therefore, Cope supports
the intention of the department and the Minister to work towards the
development of a White Paper on Communications and only to make
minor and technical adjustments to legislation in the interim
We have to look at the reality in South Africa today. The
exponential growth of ICTs and the impact thereof globally has over
the past 15 years created an information revolution. Our country has
unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, lost its competitive edge
on the African continent as well as amongst middle-income countries
globally. Whereas mobile penetration - the Minister has referred to
that - in South Africa is estimated to be at more than 100%, we
still face serious challenges with regard to universal access and
the costs of mobile equipment. This leaves communities underserviced
and rural areas still socially and economically marginalised.
One of the most critical areas that requires immediate and focused
attention, and some of my colleagues have already referred to it, is
affordable broadband connectivity. In this regard, it is a matter of
concern that the department has not been able to finalise the
National Broadband Implementation Plan which has, amongst others,
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 34 of 81
made it impossible for Sentech to roll out the National Broadband
The most recent South African ICT sector performance review
indicates that South Africa, in terms of broadband access, continues
to compare poorly against other lower-middle-income countries and,
on our continent, against North African countries such as Tunisia,
Egypt and even Mauritius and the Seychelles. Notwithstanding the
interconnect price reductions during the past two years, the costs
for private subscribers remain far too high, I have to agree with my
colleagues. As a result of the premium prices charged for these
services, broadband, ADSL and 3G penetration remains very low
compared to other middle-income countries.
We will clearly not regain our international ranking as continental
leader with the current interconnect arrangement. We will need
further regulatory intervention to push down broadband costs. This
matter requires priority attention of the Minister, the department
and the regulator.
Affordable broadband access holds the key to economic growth, social
inclusion and improved education outcomes that our country sorely
needs. This is the highway to an information and knowledge society.
Successful digital migration is and remains one of the key
departmental priorities for the year ahead. However, according to
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 35 of 81
the department’s strategic plan it identifies it as a potential risk
It seems that there is uncertainty as to whether or not the
Department of Communications will have the capacity to meet national
and international expectations. We need confirmation from the
Minister, today, that this matter will receive her focused
Valuable time was lost during former Minister Nyanda’s tenure, with
his brief flirtation with the Brazilian and Japanese standards.
South Africa cannot default on international agreements and must
demonstrate the capacity to manage this process successfully.
As far as expenditure trends in the department are concerned, we
have to raise our concern about some of them, with regard to some
key strategic programmes, such as information and communications
technology, ICT, policy development only spending 44% of its
allocated budget and ICT infrastructure development, as the
chairperson has already mentioned, spending only 11,5%.
The only programme that achieved more than 70% expenditure is
Programme 1 – Governance and Administration, which does not augur go
well, because with the new organisational structure having been
approved by the Department of Public Service and Administration, the
head count will increase to 439, from 270 in 2008-09. The fact that
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 36 of 81
the growing bureaucracy will lead to an annual increase in the
expenditure on compensation of employees, does not mean that there
is necessarily success in this sector. Growing expenditure on
salaries will not determine the success of the department. Only
effective management of certain key strategic programmes will have
the desired impact.
Cope is carefully optimistic that the SABC Board has resolved the
internal squabbles that have plagued the public broadcaster since
2008. The internal politics, no doubt, had a negative impact on
sound governance, as well as the financial management of the public
broadcaster. Our advice to the SABC Board leadership is that they
must not allow the governing party’s elective conference in Mangaung
this year to again destabilise the broadcaster ... [Interjections.]
... and to spill over in board and management differences and
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr JD Thibedi): Order! Hon members,
Mrs J D KILIAN: No interference in the editorial policy of the SABC
can be allowed – not commercial or political ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr JD Thidedi): Hon member, your time has
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 37 of 81
Mrs J D KILIAN: I beg your pardon, Chairperson?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr JD Thibedi): Your time has expired.
Mrs J D KILIAN: We will not allow any political interference. I
thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M A MNCWANGO: Hon Chairperson, I also share the sentiments of
sympathy with all other colleagues, regarding the untimely passing
on of Minister Padayachie. Our prayers are with members of his
family and friends as they go through this difficult time.
The government continues to grapple with communication challenges.
We are citizens of an information age, an era in which access to
knowledge and information is power, and where successful citizens
are those who understand this currency and are able to use it to
advance their interests. Like business and civil society, the
knowledge economy is one that government, too, must engage in.
At the most basic level, government must do this through good
communication with citizens. This should mark a break from the past
practice, with a recognition that government is able to improve the
lives of the people it serves in a number of ways, including through
the free flow of information.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 38 of 81
In the not-too-distant past government communication was synonymous
with propaganda. This included expensive marketing exercises to
legitimise minority elections and impose constitutions. At its most
insidious, it included infiltrating the newsrooms of some of the
country’s top newspapers. Good government communication had no
precedence in pre-1994 South Africa, and achieving it remains a work
in progress in the new South Africa.
In acknowledging the diversity of this country, with its 11 official
languages, different levels of literacy and access to mainstream
sources of information make good and accessible communication even
more of a challenge; particularly since new laws and policies, which
should be shared with the broadest segment of the population as many
of them have the potential to change and improve lives, are
constantly being enacted. Government communication is just beginning
to tackle these challenges with mixed success.
Some examples of government communication illustrate an inability to
successfully define the audience it is trying to reach and then
speak directly to it. A recent publication, for instance, placed in
KwaZulu-Natal newspapers on “social and economic development in
KwaZulu-Natal” looked like it was trying to lure investment and
enterprise into the province.
In the opposite of the spin, the publication began with a peculiar
section describing the province as one “plagued by social needs, few
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 39 of 81
of which seem to be receiving any attention”. It went on to talk
about “constant fallouts between communities, business and
government” and noted that “more than anywhere else in the country,
groups are clannish and insular, with constant bickering between
political players”. The rambling narrative painted a picture of a
province in chaos, and one that no right-minded investor would like
go anywhere near.
This extreme and expensive example of poor government communication
is probably the exception, but points to an area that requires
development. Many government departments have sizeable budgets for
communications, but tend to pour these into expensive and often
uninspired newspaper advertisements and supplements that reach an
It is also debatable whether or not verbatim extracts from
ministerial speeches make any real impact. Good governance requires
good communications from all spheres of government. Many relatively
privileged citizens suffer when trying to reach the right
bureaucrats to solve their problems, particularly at municipal
level. The problem is compounded for the poor, who do not have the
resources to spend long periods on the telephone when trying to
remedy an electricity or water problem.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 40 of 81
All too often good government communication falls at the point where
government interacts with most people, through accessible one-stop-
shop call centres.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr JD Thibedi): Hon member, your time has
Mr M A MNCWANGO: The IFP supports the Budget Vote. [Applause.]
Mrs W S NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and hon
members, and visitors in the gallery, I too would like to convey my
condolences to the family members of the Minister of Public Service
and Administration, the late Minister Padayachie, as well as to
those of former Minister Shiceka, and also remember our comrade, the
Today in this Communications Vote, my focus will be on the Universal
Service and Access Agency of SA, Usaasa, and the National Electronic
Media Institute of SA, Nemisa, as well as the role of both agencies
in the provision of skills in South Africa, in order for us to meet
the goals of job creation as requested by our President in his 2012
state of the nation address.
I would like to quote a statement found in its strategic plan where
they stated that:
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 41 of 81
By 2020, every man, woman and child, whether living in the remote
areas of the Kalahari or in the urban areas of Gauteng, can
connect, speak, explore and study using ICT.
This is the work of Usaasa, whose vision is to be the leading
organisation in the promotion of the goals of universal service and
access to information, communication, technology services and social
economic development. Its mission is to facilitate the establishment
of access to ICT services in partnership with all stakeholders
towards achievement of an information society.
Therefore, it is with concern that I read in Usaasa’s report, when
they reported to the portfolio committee, that South Africa is
ranked 86th on the digital opportunity index out of 207 countries.
This ranking is alarming for a developmental country such as us and
in the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals and the World
Summit on the Information Society. Implementation seeks to connect
villages, schools, hospitals and libraries and to ensure that over
half of the world’s population has access to International Corporate
Communications, ICC, by 2015.
Both Usaasa and the National Electronic Media Institute of South
Africa, Nemisa, need to be able to assist South Africa and its
residents in achieving access and connection for all our people.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 42 of 81
When Usaasa came before us as a portfolio committee they mentioned
that there were four projects that they aligned with the national
outcomes as well as the Minister’s performance outputs and the
objectives of the Department of Communications. I will only focus on
one of these outputs linking to job skills. Usaasa will deploy 200
community access centres through an entrepreneurship model involving
public and private partnership. They will claim 400 personnel on e-
skilling and they will also work within these centres.
The committee also requested that Usaasa retrain their own employees
and redeploy personnel to positions in line with their skills; the
current vacancy positions in Usaasa be filled; and also that the
skills capacity challenges be addressed. The committee also urged
the Minister to speed up the process of appointing board members to
ensure the smooth functioning of Usaasa. We were informed as a
committee that this will be finalised this month.
The current work in Usaasa is being done by staff of the Department
of Communications - they are currently the caretakers of Usaasa. The
committee urged that suitable people be appointed to this board.
Nemisa’s vision is to become a transformed national leader in the
training and development of world-class ICC electronic media skills
in pursuit of knowledge and innovation in South Africa and on the
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 43 of 81
The mission of Nemisa is to accelerate ICT and electronic media
training research and development for the advancement and
empowerment of South Africans through harnessing strategic
partnerships in a sustainable manner. The mandate for Nemisa’s
establishment was that it provides the much-needed skills training
at an advanced level for the broadcasting industry. It also offers
diploma courses, short courses and internships in three subjects,
namely TV production, radio production and creative multimedia.
The emphasis is on equipping students to be market related in a wide
range of broadcasting disciplines and to have the ability to work
effectively in constantly changing conditions.
When Nemisa appeared before the portfolio committee it mentioned
that market conditions and the changing ICT environment demanded
skills in multimedia technology, and the training courses originally
offered by Nemisa had to be adjusted accordingly.
The digital terrestrial television programmes also demand skills in
digital broadcasting and in the installation as well as the
maintenance of the set-top boxes, a value change study which
indicates business and job opportunities and to see what skills
would be required.
Some of Nemisa’s 2011-12 achievements include accreditation from the
Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 44 of 81
Training Authority, MICT Seta, which enabled them to finalise the
certification of students as well as developing a training programme
for lecturers receiving Microsoft accreditation and having student
productions accepted by e-tv. However, one concern from Nemisa was
that the SABC was not employing Nemisa graduates to the desired
The portfolio committee is also concerned about the limited number
of students enrolled at Nemisa. Due to the limited space available
it is only able to register 130 students. A model is now being
developed that will allow the training programme to be offered in
six other universities situated in different provinces and Nemisa is
also developing a network with other training institutions to
provide e-skills to the entire country.
As a result of the huge Digital Terrestrial Transmission, DTT,
programme coming up technical skills will be required for the
manufacturing, repairing and maintenance of set-top boxes. This
project will enable small businesses to be established, especially
in the rural areas of South Africa. With the necessary skills many
unemployed people can benefit from this project. Nemisa must please
encourage people with disabilities to be aware and to be part of
this project so as to enable disabled people to be employed and
skilled in this sector.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 45 of 81
Nemisa also informed the committee that they are now collaborating
with Telkom and they are aware of Telkom’s training facilities where
there is a bigger venue with the possibility of accommodating more
students for future jobs. There are also vacant positions,
especially the position of the chief executive officer, CEO, which
the committee hopes to fill soon.
For the year 2012-13, Nemisa’s budget is R34,1 million, but the
committee would like to see the report and presentation about the
possible merger of Nemisa with the Institute for Satellite and
Software Applications, ISSA, and Meraka e-Skills Institute to form
one integrated ICT institution.
During my first term at Parliament I had the opportunity to visit
ISSA with the portfolio committee and we were very impressed with
the training and the resources that we saw at this facility. Nemisa
and the Department of Communications can consider ISSA’s venue as a
possible training location for Nemisa. The new institutions are both
intended to fill the skills gap in the communications sector, and it
is recommended that at least one of them specialises in the ICT
The Department of Communications needs to look into how the
department can work with the industry to fast-track the skills gap
in the ICC sector and provide the necessary employment in this
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 46 of 81
Chairperson, the ANC supports the Department of Communications’
Budget for Usaasa and Nemisa for the year 2012-13. Thank you, Chair.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Chairperson; hon Minister of
Communications Ms Dina Pule; hon members of the House and members of
the executive; Chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee on
Communications, distinguished guests from the information
communication technology, ICT, sector; ladies and gentlemen; and,
lastly, my sisters in school uniforms over there, allow me to greet
you in the name of the Lord, our Saviour, as we celebrate May as the
workers’ month and, historically, we commemorate the fifth president
of the ANC, Comrade Pixley Ka Seme. May the centenary flame of the
ANC provide light and the spirit of Ubuntu to all of us.
In 10 days’ time, on 17 May 2012, we will be celebrating World
Telecommunication and Information Society Day under the theme “Women
and Girls in ICT”. Together with the industry and in collaboration
with the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, we have planned a
festival of activities from 17 to 20 May 2012 to encourage and
acknowledge the role of women in ICT.
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 the
ANC-led administration. In building information highways, we will
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 47 of 81
indeed be able to: connect rural and urban, rich and poor in 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 cyberspace; and, most importantly, work
together as a nation to combat child pornography and human
In rolling out 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 this
will be done in the public interest. We are committed to supporting
research, development and innovation initiatives in the information
and communications technology, ICT, sector, which aim to develop a
strong base for an information society and knowledge economy.
Chairperson, in her address, the Minister spoke about the three
flagship projects 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
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 48 of 81
businesses and individuals to access a variety of these services
online. It is therefore critical that a conducive policy environment
exists 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, which 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 cyberwarfare, cybercrime,
cyberterrorism, cyberespionage and others.
This 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. Cybersecurity is
non–negotiable, as government needs 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 cybersecurity awareness
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 49 of 81
programme in conjunction with relevant stakeholders. During this
financial year, we will focus on establishing a cybersecurity hub to
pool public and private sector threat information for the purposes
of processing and disseminating such information to relevant
stakeholders, including the cybersecurity centre. As we are dealing
with the issue of cybersecurity, 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 those that are
beneficiaries of the social grants, nor will we be able to utilise
certain equipment in hospitals due to systems breakdown. Thus cable
theft amounts to terrorism, as it could lead to a loss of innocent
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 this
financial year. The strategy focuses on establishing new access
centres in the 161 priority areas across the country, as identified
by the relevant department. 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
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 50 of 81
dedicated task team comprising the Departments of Communications, of
Basic Education, of Public Service and Administration, of Rural
Development and Land Reform, of Health, and of Science and
In this 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. It 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 areas is a key priority because
communications facilitate socioeconomic development, especially
access to government services. In addition, we have partnered with
the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development and
Environmental Affairs in our quest to provide small enterprises and
co-operatives with connectivity as part of the department’s small
business development programme.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 51 of 81
Hon members, you will all note that I have not said anything about
Further Education and Training, FET, colleges and the universities.
It is mainly because we are still engaging with the Department of
Higher Education and Training on the approach, as we also identify
them as critical stakeholders.
We are committed to increasing the footprint of community radio
stations across the country. Our vision is to ensure that there are
community radio stations 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 will assist us to
develop and implement a comprehensive community radio station
support programme that will focus on content, capacity-building,
signal distribution and infrastructure. Providing support to the
community television sector is a new focus area that will be
addressed during this financial year. Furthermore, the comprehensive
policy review process will consider, amongst others, the best
mechanisms for the growth and development of community television.
In a world where ICT reaches every corner of 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 2012, published by the World Economic Forum, highlighted that
South Africa ranks at 72 out of 104 countries based on availability
of infrastructure, affordability and skills. In addition, a report
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 52 of 81
published in 2008 by the International Data Corporation emphasised
that more than 90% of jobs available in 2014 will require ICT-
skilled workers. The integration process will allow the department
to improve 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 co-ordination hubs, thereby increasing their number
from the current five to nine, aimed at impacting e-skills capacity
development at a provincial and local level. We will increase our
national research network for knowledge production and innovation to
ensure that the e-skills interventions are based on sound evaluative
This year we will host the second e-Skills Summit that will bring a
collaborative action-orientated approach across all stakeholder
groups in government. [Time expired.] Thank you, Chairperson.
Mr I S MFUNDISI: Chairperson, hon members, we in the UCDP also align
ourselves with the sentiment regarding the late Minister Padayachie.
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 53 of 81
The value of ICT in modern life cannot be underplayed. Effective,
efficient communication or ICT use has a direct impact on the
quality of life that people lead. It is therefore no surprise that
the international bodies have proclaimed access to the Internet as a
Effective exploration of ICT also has the potential for creating
jobs and creating creative thinking and productivity in people.
Attention to the protection of human rights through the use of new
communication technologies is an area of growing interest, not only
from the point of view of the technology and communication sectors,
but also from the vantage point of those working hard towards the
betterment of government mechanisms and the continued development of
an equitable global civil society.
We are aware of the ongoing saga regarding editorial powers and
content at the SABC. We hope that it will be concluded with no blood
on the floor, yet to the satisfaction of the public. Editorial
policy has to be improved and consistent, unlike at present where
there are clearly favoured political parties whose events are 100%
covered, whilst events or speakers of other parties are not covered
or broadcast. [Interjections.]
The majoritarian principle applied by the SABC is scary and reminds
the public of the Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie, SAUK, days. In
this country there is no policy of winner takes all. We have to
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 54 of 81
share the same time, the same air and the screen. It is well and
good that most public libraries in urban settings have free access
to the Internet; however, the flipside of that coin is that it
mostly serves those who can afford the Internet in the first place,
whilst the vast majority of our people still do not know the
Internet and are far from having access to it.
The roll-out of ICT services to schools, which in theory would have
been a groundbreaking achievement, has not made any significant
strides worth writing home about. A couple of years ago Sentech
undertook to roll out wireless broadband to 250 schools. This would
have signified that telecommunication companies take their social
responsibility seriously. However, that undertaking is still a
pipedream. More than anybody, schools should have the best of ICT
services, and it is the department’s responsibility to ensure that.
After all, these are young minds that must be kept abreast of ICT
developments and other technological developments as they are the
future. The Post Office is ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr MR Mdakane): Hon member, please
conclude now. [Applause.]
Mr I S MFUNDISI: But we are entitled to time ... [Laughter.] Thank
you. The Post Office is gradually growing extinct because even with
the fast pace of the mailing system, the Post Office does not wake
up to efficient customer service. Rates for letter boxes rise by the
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 55 of 81
year, queues grow longer and longer, staff members are lethargic
while postal stamps are unaffordable to the poorest of the poor in
the countryside, who depend on services rendered by the Post Office.
The UCDP supports the Budget Vote. [Applause.]
Mr C D KEKANA: Chairperson; hon Minister Dina Pule; hon Deputy
Minister, Comrade Stella Ndabeni; distinguished guests from the
sector; ladies and gentlemen, communication is one of the
infrastructures that we were told is necessary for us to grow the
economy further than the current 4,5% in order to create needed jobs
in the country. I am saying this because it was emphasised that all
economies of the world, including the South African economy,
flourished and thrived on the pillars of a strong infrastructure.
That infrastructure in our country was said to be made up of
information communications technology, ICT; road and rail; seaports
and airports - we know that the Fifa World Cup boosted our ports and
roads development; water; and electricity. We were told that if we
developed those five infrastructural facilities our economy would
grow further than it has grown.
In fact, I must mention that, while we are criticising, which is
good because it develops the shortcomings that are there, we should
not forget that, since the advent of our new democracy led by our
father Nelson Mandela, we have done very well economically as a
country. We were told that whilst we are doing well in developing
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 56 of 81
the country’s economy up to 4,5%, in order to create the necessary
jobs that are needed by the country, we need to develop it further
than 6%. This is what we are battling with in this country. We were
further told that communication and ICT facilities are some of the
infrastructural facilities that are very important in this
Development is obviously important in any economy and nation, but we
do not see how we can use all these technologies if they do not
benefit the people. The people are most important. We should not
forget that, whilst technologies are important to develop our
economy, we should not leave people behind. We can never be happy in
a situation where 65% of our youth are unemployed in the country,
including those who have completed matric.
Ten percent of those who finished tertiary education are unemployed
because it is said that their skills should be in line with the
needs of the economy. The Deputy Minister just mentioned that they
are in talks with the education sector in order to see how best this
matter can be handled. I want to mention that we were highly
impressed by the German model, regarding which we were told by our
education department that did oversight in Germany, that 60% of
Germans are actually doing vocational training. They do not go to
tertiary institutions. The vocational industry participates in
assisting with the training of vocational skills because you are
trained on the job while you are being paid. Something similar to
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 57 of 81
what nursing is doing, whereby nurses are trained and paid. Today we
have proud sisters who, even though they did not have the money to
take them to tertiary school, ultimately trained as nurses because
they could at the same time earn something that assisted their
families; and today they are qualified sisters.
We think that module of development is very good. The Germans should
actually be a model for us in South Africa. I hear that the Deputy
President is presently going to Germany. I hope that he will bring
us good news about their talks with the Germans. We think that the
communications sector and ICT should actually start at home,
because, indeed, charity begins at home. We have many entities: the
SABC; Sentech; the Universal Service and Access Agency of South
Africa, Usaasa; the Post Office; and many others.
We went on an oversight tour and discovered that between Limpopo and
Mpumalanga there were 200 vacancies that needed to be filled. In
this day and age, when people are unemployed, why should we have 200
vacancies that are funded but still need to be filled, especially in
a sector like the Post Office? This has actually been a call from
our President, who said that all the unoccupied posts in government
should be filled. We know that in the communications sector many
vacant posts still need to be filled. We are calling on the
leadership in the sector — I mentioned Sentech, Usaasa, the SABC,
the Post Office and others — to fill these posts. Remember, I said
development is about people. We can have cellular phones, computers
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 58 of 81
and all these technologies, but if people are unemployed and
impoverished then we are really not developing. We shall only
develop when there is a better life for all our people.
The 65 million youth ... [Interjections.] I am sorry; can I drink
water, copying from our former President Mandela ...
[Interjections.] [Applause.] The 65% of the youth who are unemployed
and the 10% of graduates who have finished university but cannot be
employed should be employed. We need to communicate that message and
practise it within communication entities, and beyond communication
entities; because communication as a facility is very important.
This is the only way that our President and government can talk to
the nation. We are saying to the nation that we are embarking on a
big campaign as the ANC government to make sure that we create all
the jobs needed in the country. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A C STEYN: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister,
hon members, distinguished guests and the public at large, I too
wish to take this opportunity to convey my sincerest sympathy to the
family of the late hon Minister Padayachie on his unexpected
passing; may his soul rest in peace.
When the department presented their strategic plan, it contained
five strategic goals, supported by 17 objectives and a total of 72
targets. The committee was of the opinion that the strategic plan
lacked focus and that, quite honestly, everything they wanted or
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 59 of 81
needed to achieve, was thrown into a pot and dished out as a
strategic plan. The outcomes were not measureable, and considering
past performance, we believe that the objectives and targets,
particularly with regard to the current financial year, needed to be
more focused and to comply with the Self-Monitoring, Analysis and
Reporting Technology, SMART, principles as identified by the
As a result of our comments, the department agreed to withdraw their
strategic plan as tabled, to review their objectives and targets,
and to resubmit a new strategic plan, which they subsequently did.
This revised plan now consisted of the same five strategic goals,
but now supported by 12 objectives and a manageable 34 targets, less
than half of the previous number.
Unfortunately, two entities of the department had to do the same,
not only because targets could not be measured, but because
information in their presentations did not correspond with the
information in the tabled strategic plans submitted, coupled with
the discrepancies in the budgeted amounts.
This created a dilemma for us. We had a question before us: Do we
consider and vote on the information in the document tabled in
Parliament, or do we consider the revised information in a
presentation which is meant to summarise the information in the
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 60 of 81
Sixty-six percent of the department’s budget is allocated to
Programme 4, Information Communication Technology, Enterprise
Development, which consists of two subprogrammes, relating to public
entity oversight and small, medium and micro enterprises, SMME
development. As we are all aware, and as has been mentioned by the
Minister and others, state-owned entities, SOEs, are the delivery
arms of government. Therefore, stabilising SOE boards and monitoring
and compliance are crucial to ensure that they deliver on their
The late Minister Padayachie in his Budget Speech last year said:
In our efforts to strengthen corporate governance within our
public entities, work is under way to review and strengthen our
capacity to conduct oversight.
Judging by the current status of the SOEs that report to this
department, the hon Minister should have indicated that, with a few
exceptions, mostly the smaller ones, they all qualified to be
admitted, not to an ICT, but to an – an ICU unit intensive care unit
- last year.
The result is that these SOEs are in a state of transition with new
board members and Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, having been
appointed or in the process of being appointed; all are busy with
so-called turnaround strategies. In fact, hon Kekana said that if
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 61 of 81
they are not careful with all these continuous turnaround
strategies, they will find themselves at the point where they
I wish to comment briefly on some of the entities, starting with the
SA Post Office, Sapo, which has again been left rudderless following
the sudden resignation of the acting group CEO. This was confirmed
yesterday, just days after the post was advertised. It also comes as
Sapo is battling a strike by scores of contract workers, with very
little, if any, communication to their clients who have not received
post for the last four weeks or so in Gauteng.
Then there is the Postbank - the chairperson of our committee spoke
about it as well. Its intention was to allow The SA Post Office
through the Postbank to prioritise the banking needs of the unbanked
majority, thereby facilitating their inclusion into the economic
mainstream, through an Act that was signed into law in December
2010. This noble idea is meant to bring about reconciliation and
redress to those that were denied economic participation in the
The licence application should be submitted by next month. However,
this is unlikely to happen, as the application is sure to fail due
to deficiencies in the current IT systems and processes. Even if
this were to happen, the Postbank is doomed to failure because of a
lack of funding. In July last year, it was estimated that
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 62 of 81
R1,5 billion would be required over the Medium-Term Expenditure
Framework, MTEF, period.
In January this year, the former chairperson of the board presented
a revised estimate to the Minister of R2,15 billion, none of which
can be funded by the SA Post Office, either through their own
balance sheet or through loans. The SA Post Office is therefore
looking to their sole shareholder, the government, for a capital
injection, which is not budgeted for over the current MTEF period.
The second SOE I wish to comment on is the Independent
Communications Authority of South Africa, Icasa. The successful
attainment of Icasa’s strategic goals will have far-reaching
consequences for the ICT sector as a whole, and in particular to
redress once again the results of marginalisation of sections of our
societies in the past. While the decision by Icasa to slash the
costs of Telkom’s IPConnect product by 30%, which became effective
on 1 April, is most welcome, much work remains to achieve the
unbundling of the local loop.
The cost of the IPConnect product is the single largest cost
component faced by Internet service providers in providing choice to
the end user for fixed-line Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line,
ADSL, services, and is expected to stimulate innovation and increase
investment, thereby making it possible for a diverse section of our
population to access this service. The next step is to ensure
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 63 of 81
implementation of a Bitstream product by the end of November this
The confusion surrounding the migration of Digital Terrestrial
Transmission, DTT, is reason for concern. While the Minister is on
record as stating that the migration process is on track, and
putting out full page advertisements to inform the public about DTT,
the various entities responsible appear to be in the dark about
Earlier in my speech I quoted the late hon Minister Padayachie, who
said, “work is under way to review and strengthen our capacity to
In the Minister’s opening remarks to the committee, she said, “I
have begun the process of ensuring that there is capacity within the
department in policy development and in exercising our oversight
role on the entities under our reporting line”. This, Chairperson,
is one year later, which just about sums up the current status. I
thank you. [Applause.]
Mme S R TSEBE: Ke a leboga Modulasetilo wa sebaka, le nna ke kopa o
ntetle, fela mo tshimologong ke tseye tšhono e go fitlhisa molaetsa
wa matshediso go borra-Padayachie le go lefapha; gore Modimo o ne o
re adimile, e bile o tshotse. Tsotlhe di mo go ene, ke ene Ramasedi.
(Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 64 of 81
[Ms S R TSEBE: Thank you, Chairperson. First allow me to take this
opportunity to pass my condolences to the Padayachie family and the
department. What God had given unto us He has taken. All is in His
Name, He is the Creator.]
Let me start with hon Shinn. Hon Shinn you are my friend, you know
that - but the truth must be told. You must familiarise yourself
with Sentech and the Independent Communications Authority of South
Africa, Icasa, Act, so that you have a better understanding
regarding their roles. What you said here today just causes
confusion, and you cannot compare a lion or an elephant to a mouse.
This ANC-led government is an elephant. You cannot compare us with
the Western Cape. The Western Cape is not an island in South Africa;
Jacob Zuma is the President ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Let us allow the member
to be heard.
Ms S R TSEBE: Zille is not the President, and she will never be the
President, not in South Africa. [Interjections.] And when you speak
from that bench, you must try by all means to divorce yourselves
because you mislead the people in the gallery. They think what you
are saying is true. You are always distorting information; it is not
correct. You have the responsibility to build South Africa ...
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 65 of 81
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Hon member, please take
Mr S B FARROW: The speaker has now accused hon Shinn of misleading
this House. I would like her to factually explain where exactly that
happened, because I was listening carefully to her speech and all
the other speeches, and there was no misleading there. Thank you.
Ms S R TSEBE: Hon Chair, I don’t have time for that. I have time to
inform and educate our people. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): No, hon members, let us
allow her to be heard - and of course, it was not a point of order.
But you will also take note of the fact that Parliament is a
political body; therefore, from time to time, political matters will
be raised. You may not be comfortable with them, but they will be
raised. Therefore, the point that was not a point of order was very
correct. We must allow the hon member to proceed. Hon member, also
mind your time as you proceed. [Laughter.]
Ms S R TSEBE: Chair, as South Africans we must divorce ourselves
from the DA mindset that the solution to African problems or South
African problems is the Western Cape. It’s not, not at all. The
solution to our problems is the ANC. We have the tried and tested
solution there. Hon Kilian ... [Interjections.]
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 66 of 81
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Hon member ...
Ms S R TSEBE: I am happy that now you know when and where the ANC
congress conference is. When is the Cope conference? [Applause.]
[Laughter.] For how long are you going to remain being the entity?
You are an entity, Cope.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Hon member, take your
Mrs J D KILIAN: Chairperson, may I please enlighten the hon member
because it seems that she did not hear it when I told the National
Assembly in the past? Our national congress will be in October.
Ms T B SUNDUZA: Chairperson, on a point of order.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): No. Hon members, we
would not mind to be here until midnight. We can allow you really to
do what you are doing, and then we can do it until midnight. I
wouldn’t mind really to be here until midnight. Hon Tsebe, proceed
with your speech. [Laughter.]
Ms S R TSEBE: Thank you, Chair. No, I was saying, hon Kilian, that
in the ANC, we have the national executive committee but in Cope,
you have the entity for life. Again, hon Kilian, you missed a lot
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 67 of 81
during the SABC strategic plan presentation. The group chief
executive officer elaborated too much on the issue of editorial
independence. She took the committee further on the systems going
forward. You were not there and so it’s not our fault. Maybe you
were busy nursing your president after he fell from the bicycle or
you were chasing Shilowa. I don’t know. [Laughter.] Where’s Shilowa?
So, that’s not our problem. [Laughter.]
Hon Mncwango from the IFP, I think all that you have said today ...
Mrs J D KILIAN: Chairperson ...
Ms S R TSEBE: Will I ever finish, Chairperson?
Mrs J D KILIAN: Chairperson, will the hon member take a question?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Hon Sunduza ... Hon
member, just hold on a little bit. Hon members on this side also,
you are provoking a lot of anger. Now, only the hon member can take
a decision on whether she will take a question or not. We must allow
that to happen in the House. The question is put. Hon Tsebe, are
you prepared to take a question or not? Hon Sunduza, listen again!
Hon Tsebe, are you prepared to take a question or not?
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 68 of 81
Ms S R TSEBE: No, I cannot take a question, because we have
portfolio committee meetings where we engage. We do that in our
portfolio committees; I cannot do that today. I don’t have time for
that. Hon Mncwango from the IFP, what you have said here, my
brother, is not relevant. You must wait for Thursday for the
Government Communication and Information System, GCIS, Budget
debate. I don’t think our poor hon Minister will be able to deal
with that. It’s relevant to hon Chabane. I don’t blame you, because
you have not attended even a single meeting of the committee; that’s
why you don’t know. [Laughter.]
Hon Mfundisi, my brother from the same rural village in Seolong,
North West Province ...
Hhayi uyilahlile baba. [No, you have lost it, sir.]
I don’t know where you got that. You have lost it. I don’t know
where you got it. [Laughter.] Now, you are saying we must share. Why
didn’t you share with Ntate Mangope? You removed him; you didn’t
want to share. You want us to share today. I’ll also make an appeal
to you that you must start attending portfolio committee meetings.
I‘ve not seen you, not even once. It’s a shame to the people who
have elected you to be here. [Interjections.]
Hon Steyn, I think you have said a lot. The truth must be told. That
means your mind really was on the portfolio committee during the
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 69 of 81
strategic plan presentation. All that you have said is honestly
nothing else. What you have forgotten to inform everybody is that at
the end, after the engagement between the entities, the Department
of Communications and the committee, some of the entities withdrew
their strategic plans and submitted the correct ones. It’s important
to know that also. [Applause.]
Modulasetilo wa sebaka, ANC e amogela tekanyetsokabo e jaaka Tona
Mme Pule Dinah a setse a e tlhagisitse. Re rata fa lefapha le ka
tiisa seatla ka go fokotsa bommadinalanyana le borradinalanyana. A
Lefapha le tseye tsia pegelo ya Morunikakaretso rre Terrence
Nombembe. Go fitlhelela ga jaana, lefapha le makala a lona le dirile
go senene mabapi le ditshitshinyo tsa gagwe thata jang mo tshenyong
e e senang bokao ya matlole le go sa diriseng matlole. Mo
maabanyaneng, Morunikakaretso o bontshitse gore ya gagwe tema o a e
diragatsa ngwaga le ngwaga. E fela go tlhokagala keteledipele ya
Tona le Motlatsatona gore maitlhomo a lefapha a diragale go ya ka fa
dikgatlhegong tsa baagi jaaka re fetisa tekanyetsokabo e, go
tlhokega boineelo le boikokobetso mo badireding ba lefapha. Ke bua
jaana ka gonne go totobetse fa lefapha le makala di tlhagisa
maikaelelo fa pele ga komiti gonne go bontsha tota gore gongwe go na
le mo go se nang tirisanommogo teng. Nnete ke gore kwa bofelong,
lefapha le tshwanetse le tseye maikarabelo go bona gore ka nako ...
(Translation of Setswana paragraphs follows.)
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 70 of 81
[Chairperson, the ANC accepts this Budget Vote just as Minister Dina
Pule has alluded; however we would appreciate it if the department
could deal with corrupt officials. The department should take into
consideration the report by the Auditor-General, Mr Terrence
Nombembe. He has played his part; and not much has been done by the
department and its entities regarding his recommendations on
wasteful and non-expenditure. Political leadership is needed in this
To the Minister and her Deputy, fulfilling the mandate of the
department should be in accordance with the needs of society,
characterised by the officials’ commitment and dedication as we pass
this Budget Vote. The shock amongst officials as a result of seeing
this submission of strategic planning for the first time before the
portfolio committee is a clear indication that there is a lack of
working together between the department and its entities. The bottom
line is that it is the responsibility of the department to ensure
that it sees that in time ... [Interjections.]]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Mind your time; mind
your time. [Laughter.]
Mme S R TSEBE: Monnasetilo wa sebaka, kitso le tlhaeletsano tsa
seteginiki ke mokgwa o o botlhokwa thata go tlhabolola matshelo a
bagaaborona segolothata jang kwa metsemagaeng. Katlanegiso le
kgwetlho ya go tlhabolola matshelo a batho di ikaegile thata mo
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 71 of 81
tirisanommogong ya puso ya bosetšhaba, puso ya bogareng, puso ya
selegae le ditlamo tsa puso. Mmogo re ka dira go le gontsi. A
letsogo la moja le itse se la molema le se dirang. (Translation of
Setswana paragraph follows.)
[Ms S R TSEBE: Chairperson, the knowledge of information and
communication technology is an important aspect in the development
of lives in our society, especially in the rural areas. Both the
success and the challenge of the development of the lives of the
people rely heavily on the national government, the provincial and
local governments, and the government entities working together.
Working together we can do more. The right hand should know what the
left hand is doing.]
Chair, the ANC believes that there is a need to harness information
communication technology, ICT, for socioeconomic development. This
will, of course, improve the quality of life for a better life for
We have also acknowledged in our coming policy conference document
on communication that, “Over the last three decades, the world has
been undergoing, and continues to undergo, an information and
communication technologies (ICT) revolution, which has fundamentally
transformed the way people live and relate.”
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 72 of 81
ICT touches every aspect of our individual and collective lives,
both social and economic activities. Those who use digital network
ICTs are part of the digital economy and will be advantaged. Those
who are left behind in an analogue environment will face hardship to
compete in every aspect of life, including the educational sphere,
employment opportunities, democratic inclusion and service delivery.
Therefore, hon Minister, this Budget must speak and be biased
towards the rural poor so that they become part and parcel of this
digital economy from the beginning.
The primary obstacle in making use of ICT for economic growth and
poverty reduction is the absence and limited scope of the existing
ICT infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Conclude, hon member.
Ms S R TSEBE: In conclusion, hon Chairperson, the ANC supports the
Budget Vote. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon Chairperson, I am tempted to
start off by thanking my sister here, hon Tsebe, for having assisted
me a lot in responding to so many other issues that I did not know
how to handle. For example, Ntate Mfundisi, you talked about schools
and I was totally confused when you spoke about 250 schools whilst
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 73 of 81
all I remembered was that we had 500 Dinaledi schools. And all those
schools have been connected except for 125.
Bab’ uMncwango, bengingasazi ukuthi ngizothini mina ngoMnyango
wezoLwazi neziNhlelo zokuXhumana kuHulumeni ngoba angisebenzi khona.
Mina ngikhuluma ngoMnyango wezobuChwepheshe bezokuXhumana,
ngikhuluma ngamakhompyutha, ezobuchwepheshe njalonjalo. Yingakho
ngivele ngadideka nje, ngaleyo ndlela ngifuna ukubonga udadewethu
umhlonishwa Tsebe. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Mr Mncwango, I didn’t know what to say about the Government
Communication and Information System because I don’t work there. I
am talking about Information and Communication Technology; I am
talking about computers, technology, etc. That is why I was just
confused. I would like to thank my sister, hon Tsebe.]
Angibuyele kuwe-ke Sihlalo ngibonge kutsi usisekele kakhulu
emsebentini wetfu njengelitiko ngesikhatsi uhola likomiti lesigungu
savelonkhe. Sibonga kutsi uphawule tindzawo lekufanele kutsi ngabe
siyatishukumisa, sitisebenta ngendlela lengiyo. Kwekucala nje,
tindleko tekutsintsana tisabita kakhulu kantsi netindleko
tekuchumanisa kwangekhatsi nome imitselo ema-rates, kusabita.
Angibuyele lapha ka-SABC, ngisho kutsi lamuhla Bosihlalo kanye
Nesikhulu Sebaphatsi Betikhundla, CEO, bevile kutsi kufanele
bayewubuka sicephu se-10 nesicephu se-11, natsi sitabakhutsata
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 74 of 81
sisebente kanye nabo kute behlukanise. Inkinga nje kutsi babe
netinkinga tetimali, njengobe sisengakakhoni kufika esivumelwaneni
sekwati kutsi bona basekelwa ngesamba lesingakanani. Ngicabanga
kutsi ngiko nje betibadida letintfo-kodvwa-ke sitabasita kutsi
bakwati kugucula simo. Angetsembise-ke, sihlalo kutsi sitalibeka
libhodi lekwengamela tekusakata kungakabi sikhatsi lesidze kusukela
Sakhiwonchanti semsebenti webhizinisi lesingakayisebentisi imali
yaso ngalokufanelekile kufanele silekelelwe. Sivile sihlalo kutsi
kubaluleke kakhulu kutfutfukisa kusebentisa sabelo setfu setimali.
Loko sitakwati kukwenta masinyane nje nasisuka lapha lamuhla.
Lokunye lesikhuluma ngako kutsi le-broadband kufanele kutsi icale
kusetjentiswa. Kantsi lokunye, sikhuluma nangekuhamba kwebantfu,
lokusho kutsi-ke lemali itabe iyasebenta. (Translation of Siswati
[Let me thank you again, Chairperson, for supporting us a lot in our
work as a department when you were still chairperson of the
portfolio committee. We thank you because you talked about places
that we should activate, and work on in a proper way. Firstly, the
costs of communication are still high and the costs or rates of
internal connection are also still high.
Let me get back to the SABC, and state that today the Chairpersons
and the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, heard that they should go and
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 75 of 81
check chapter 10 and chapter 11. We are also going to encourage and
work together with them so that they can make a difference. The
problem is that they have encountered financial problems, since we
have still not agreed on the amount they should get for support. I
think that is why things were not in order - but we will help them
to turn things around. Let me promise, Chairperson, that we will
appoint the board that will preside over broadcasting in a short
while from today.
A business service infrastructure that did not spend its money
properly should be helped; we get it, chairperson, that it is very
important to improve in regard to spending our appropriation. We
will be able to do that today, as soon as we leave this place.
Another thing that we are talking about is that the use of broadband
should start. And to add to this, we are talking about the movement
of people which means that, that money will be used.]
Regarding access to information, we agree with the chairperson on
the fact that everybody in the country should receive broadband
services. We must also assure the chairperson that we have spoken to
both the SABC and Sentech to make sure that when we talk about
coverage we don’t mean population coverage; from now onwards we mean
geographical coverage. I think we will be able to do that.
I must also assure you that on the strategy of Digital Terrestrial
Transmission, DTT, we have already appointed the team that deals
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with the issues of DTT, as I said in my speech. Therefore, I believe
that the integrated strategy will come out of the department very
soon. That will include what the other state-owned enterprises,
SOEs, are supposed to be doing. Lagging behind in terms of the
broadband processes, as I said, is the fact that we don’t have a
national broadband strategy and we are in the process of handling
Regarding the SA Post Office and the decline in respect of mail - as
Sapo is here, we are going to encourage them, as we have done
before, to actually adopt the e-skills programme which is going to
help them in terms of the challenges that you have raised.
With regard to the Postbank, indeed we agree with the chairperson
that the progress is not sufficient. However, we were waiting for
the two policies that were supposed to have been finalised between
us and the Treasury, which are the lending policy and the borrowing
policy. We want to report to Parliament today that we have finalised
it and the Minister of Finance supported us.
I don’t know what to say to the hon Shinn, because as I stand here I
have a responsibility to roll out broadband for the country and make
sure that every South African has access to broadband. So, I don’t
know whether I should be talking about the Western Cape; I mean I
have nine provinces to look out for and you are talking about one
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 77 of 81
province. Now, I am asking myself whether I should be responding to
you or not, and I have chosen not to, and you know why.
Pertaining to the colloquium, hon Shinn, you must understand that
even at the colloquium we did say that that colloquium was actually
the beginning of the policy review. We know where we should be going
and we know the processes of Parliament, as well as our
responsibility. So, if you missed what I said in my opening remarks,
I don’t know what to say now. Because I did indicate that that was a
process of allowing everybody else to participate and that in the
process of all the processes other people will still be able to
participate; and maybe you can also participate then.
Regarding resources at the SABC versus the wishes in respect of many
channels, I think I will leave that for another day when I come back
to the Portfolio Committee on Communications, PCC, and try to
explain to you what it means. Of course, you spoke about Telkom and
Korea Telecom, KT. I don’t know what that is because I never spoke
about it, and I am not going to respond to it, hon Shinn.
I also want to say that the Presidential National Commission, PNC,
has been included in one of our programmes and therefore we are not
going to be closing it – we want to assure you that it is still
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 78 of 81
I actually want to say thank you, hon Kilian, for supporting us. I
was listening to you and you were supporting us, except that there
were these issues that hon Tsebe addressed, and I am not going to go
back to those. All the issues around your concern about migration –
I don’t think there is any confusion on the subject of migration.
I want to reaffirm here in this Parliament that we are actually
heading in the right direction with this programme. If you looked at
our awareness campaign you would see that it actually explains
things even to the person who might not necessarily understand what
ICT is. We have made it so simple, asked and answered questions, so
that everybody in the country understands. We have done our best and
we will continue doing our best. So, if there is anywhere where
there seems to be confusion, we will try and clarify it.
I have already spoken about the expenditure on the infrastructure
enterprises – the squabbles in the SABC. You know, I thought once in
a while, hon Kilian, you would appreciate that we have done a good
job at the SABC. There are no squabbles at the SABC. I don’t know
why we thrive on wanting to go back to the negative on a daily
basis, even when there is a positive.
By the way, I must say this. You know there is a self-help author,
Brian Tracy. In his book Losers make excuses, winners make progress
he says, “on the shoulders of all of us as individuals we have two
wolves. The one wolf is white and the other wolf is black. You have
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 79 of 81
to choose which one to feed.” On SABC matters, I choose to feed the
white wolf, which is positive.
I think I have to appreciate that hon Newhoudt-Druchen raised all
the matters around the role of SOEs, the Universal Service and
Access Agency of SA, Usaasa, and the National Electronic Media
Institute of South Africa, Nemisa. The Deputy Minister spoke about
these things relating to training and vacancies. We want to assure
this House again that we are on track in filling the positions in
all the SOEs, as I said in my speech.
We have already advertised posts, and even in the department we have
advertised posts. The infrastructure did not have a deputy director-
general for a long time. We have advertised and we are going to be
interviewing – and spending will definitely happen.
Concerning the set-top box manufacturing skills and set-top box
connectivity, I think that the Deputy Minister could have raised it
if her time had not been up before finalising it. However, we are
now training young people at Nemisa in technical skills to do the
job. The other thing is that, as a department, we have a training
programme with Telkom for unemployed youth, where young people are
going to benefit from what they are now being trained in.
The other part is that we have already engaged the unemployed
graduate organisations. We spoke to them and told them that we were
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 80 of 81
willing to retrain or reskill and upskill all those young people who
are sitting there unemployed. I believe that at the SABC they will
need more young people when we add those channels, and that is job
creation. When we talk about content development we will need those
young people to create their own jobs. I think that is positive for
I am happy that the CEOs and the chairpersons of the SOEs are
sitting here, including the director-general of the department, as
well as the industry. You heard for yourselves when hon Newhoudt-
Druchen requested that we should try and increase the appointment
and the training of disabled people. So, I believe that you heard
and you are going to assist the department and me in going in that
direction. I have already responded to the issues raised by the hon
I appreciate the fact that hon Kekana’s comments were very positive.
We agree with you on the importance of infrastructure for economic
development, as well as the fact that we should learn from other
countries. When we talk about infrastructure, especially on
broadband, I must say that we actually visited other countries. Just
last week we were in Malaysia and we found that - for those who
don’t believe that one can double one’s efforts once one has
national broadband - Malaysia was at about 31% in 2009, and today
they have doubled that number because they put in the effort. I want
EPD 8 MAY 2012 PAGE 81 of 81
to assure you that, standing here on a daily basis doing work in
that department, we can do that and we will do it.
Chairperson, I think I am done here, except for the fact that I want
to thank my family, who are here today and have always been very
supportive. I know that it has not been easy, but they have always
been there for me. Thank you. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 16:10.