Advancing Universal Connectivity and Digital Literacy for Inclusive Digital Economy

2 mins read
south africa universal connectivity

Minister Mondli Gungubele, growing up in eNgcobo, the Eastern Cape, could not have imagined that one day villagers would be able to watch a live budget vote debate from the comfort of their homes. Thanks to technological advancements in communications and digital technologies, South Africans can now access information and stay connected, irrespective of their location. The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) is dedicated to promoting growth in the digital sector while ensuring universal access to reliable, affordable, and high-speed connectivity. This article explores the latest efforts by the South African government to accelerate universal connectivity and promote digital literacy towards building an inclusive digital economy.

Connecting South Africa

South Africa has a highly developed digital ecosystem, with over 300,000 kilometers of fiber distributed throughout the country. The government’s flagship program, SA Connect, aims to bridge the digital divide by providing Wi-Fi access to communities and ensuring universal access to the internet. In 2023, the government plans to deploy 9,900 Wi-Fi hotspots in 16 districts across the country, with a goal to achieve 80% connectivity by 2024. The ambitious project has been granted a funding of R1.3 billion.

Next Generation Spectrum

Spectrum is a fundamental resource in the digital economy as it enables wireless signals to travel through the transmission of radio frequencies. To support economic modernization, the Department has published the draft Next Generation Spectrum Policy for public comment in September 2022, seeking to allocate as much spectrum as possible. The final Spectrum policy will be issued by September 2023, with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) responsible for licensing.

Digitalisation of the State

The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) is responsible for integrating core government services within the financial year to facilitate seamless exchange of citizen data across departments for effective and efficient government service delivery. SITA aims to ensure complete digitalization within the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

The Post Office of Tomorrow

Despite some challenges, the South African Post Office (SAPO) remains fully operational and committed to delivering essential services. The Post Office of Tomorrow Strategy focuses on improving customer experience through innovative technology solutions, such as online portals and mobile applications, to simplify and streamline processes. With a budget allocation of R2.4 billion, SAPO will revise its strategic role and concentrate on becoming an integrated logistics and e-commerce service provider.

Towards a State-Owned Bank

The corporatization of the Postbank is in progress, with the South African Postbank SOC Limited Amendment Bill approved by the National Assembly in March 2023. Once signed into law, it will enable the registration of the Bank Controlling Company (BCC) for the Postbank, allowing it to become a fully licensed commercial bank owned by the state.

Repositioning Public Broadcaster

The newly appointed SABC Board is responsible for developing an optimal strategy and business model for the public broadcaster. The government aims to provide an enabling policy and regulatory framework that is agile and balanced. The guidelines will inform the SABC’s Corporate Plan for 2023/24-2025/26.

Accelerating Universal Connectivity and Promoting Digital Literacy for an Inclusive Digital Economy

The South African government’s commitment to bridging the digital divide and building an inclusive digital economy is evident in its allocation of a total budget of R3.5 billion for the DCDT for 2023/24, including R1.6 billion for transfers and subsidies for ICT Enterprise Development and SOE Oversight. The government will continue to invest in critical initiatives that accelerate universal connectivity and promote digital literacy for the benefit of all citizens, thereby fostering an inclusive digital economy. In summary, the efforts being made in South Africa to enhance connectivity, develop digital skills, and support the growth of the digital economy are significant and hold great promise for the country’s future.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Deputy Minister Philly Mapulane’s Vision for South Africa’s Digital Future

Next Story

Illegal Gold Refinery Discovered in South Africa

Latest from Blog

Unveiling the #WhoSpeaksForUs Movement in Cape Town

The WhoSpeaksForUs movement in Cape Town is a campaign organized by SWEAT to advocate for the decriminalization of sex work and equal representation for marginalized communities in politics. Last Thursday, over 50 sex workers and civil rights champions organized a protest in front of Parliament to demand their voices be heard. With the upcoming elections, there is concern among sex workers about whether the political leaders will champion their cause, and various advocacy groups have joined together to fight for equal rights and representation. The movement serves as a desperate cry for equality and a demand for political leadership that mirrors the complex society it serves.

The Cradle of Tranquility: Paternoster and the Gonana Collection

Experience the serene and sustainable Gonana Collection in the peaceful fishing village of Paternoster, where each of the seven properties is powered by solar energy and offers a warm embrace of the idyllic environment. Discover a tapestry of sustainability woven from unrefined local materials and collaboration with local craftsmen. Embrace the Gonana lifestyle and contribute to the evolution of travel in this sanctuary for contemplation and mindfulness where nature and elegance intertwine.

A Golden Display: South Africa’s Fynbos Triumph at the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show

South Africa’s Fynbos plant species won the gold medal at the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show, earning the country its 37th top award for fynbos displays since 1976. The fynbos species are a significant source of revenue through exports, generating around R85 million in revenue. The success at Chelsea and the thriving fynbos industry narrate a deeply inspiring story of South Africa where the beauty of nature intertwines with the lives of the communities that cultivate it, culminating in a harmonious blend of growth, diversity, and prosperity that transcends national boundaries.

A Homage to Fallen Heroes: Honoring MK Freedom Fighters

The unveiling ceremony in Soweto honored 21 former MK Freedom Fighters who served in the Umkhonto we Sizwe operations between 1986 and 1990. The event was a reminder of the sacrifices these men made during a tumultuous chapter in South Africa’s history and a crucial component of a constitutional mandate that compels South Africans to acknowledge past wrongs and salute those who bore the brunt in the pursuit of justice and independence. As South Africans, it is our duty to ensure their legacy perseveres by extending our support to the veterans and their families.

Upholding Traditions: Cape Town’s Youth Connect with Their Past

Cape Town’s Arts and Culture and Environmental Planning and Sustainability Branches collaborated to offer a unique heritage education programme for young people, allowing them to connect with their roots and learn about the city’s history. The programme included engaging and immersive activities, such as educational sessions at the Attic Exhibition and guided tours of the Company’s Garden. This initiative aims to promote social harmony and unity, inspire curiosity in environmental planning and sustainability careers, and encourage the youth to shape a sustainable and cultured future.