26 September 2017

South Africa: State Failed to Deliver On Connecting the Majority

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/The New Times
(file photo).

Nothing illustrates better the paucity of the ANC's developmental state philosophy than the failure of the South Africa Connect broadband roll-out plan to connect 50% of the population to the internet by 2016 and 90% by 2020. By MARIAN SHINN.

According to World Wide Worx, 40% of South Africa's population will be able to connect to the internet this year. Most of these connections are mobile and urban.

What has crippled SA Connect - energetically driven by former Communications Minister, Yunus Carrim, through extensive nationwide public participation processes to Cabinet approval in November 2013 - is the ANC's myopic belief that it has to be seen to be the deliverer.

"It" in this case means entities of the state.

In the mistaken belief that Telkom was a State-Owned Company (SOC), President Jacob Zuma announced in the 2015 State of the Nation address that it would be designated to be the lead agency responsible for rolling out the first phase of the multi-billion rand project.

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyanbonga Cwele, told me that he hoped that, in return for all the business, Telkom would be willing to roll out SA Connect at bargain basement prices.


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