Speech by the Deputy Minister of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Honourable Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize
During the Occasion of
The Second Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri Memorial Lecture
At Boet Troskie Hall, Central University of Technology
29 April 2016
As we celebrate the second annual memorial lecture, we remain humbled and deeply honoured to host this memorial lecture in remembrance of our revered former Minister of Communications, the late Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri. It was her conduct when serving people, the level of dedication she gave to serving this nation, and the passion she has shown as one of the early adopters of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) that separated her as a leader par excellence.
We still have vivid memories of the time when leaders celebrated her life during the late Minister’s funeral. Of particular interest was what Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe the then President of South Africa, said when addressing masses who turned up to pay their last respect to the fallen heroine, “It is no accident that, among her counterparts on the African continent, she was known as ‘Mama ICT Africa'. She saw ICT as a means to achieve Africa's developmental goals”.
What mostly characterised the late Minister was the role that she has played in the sector as a visionary with a passion for communications, as well as also for being able to touch the lives of many by her generosity. Many of us can attest to her astonishing talents, wisdom, gentleness, laughter, and her motherly and sisterly love which she shared with all she came across with.
CONNECTING SOUTH AFRICA TO SUBMARINE CABLES
Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri’s track record speaks for itself. We have seen how during her tenure we were connected to the entire continent and inevitably the entire world. During the late Minister’s time, the government of South Africa has invested in the undersea cable projects coming down the east and west coasts of Africa through our interests in Telkom, Broadband Infraco. These projects creates an additional eight (8) terabits of capacity for Southern Africa which is over sixty (60) times the capacity available from the SAFE cable project that preceded the two projects. The two projects connect the African continent with the rest of the world at high speeds and these increased capacities will result in a reduction in the prices of broadband connectivity.
To date Africa is connected to eight (8) submarine cables, which are:
• SAT3/ SAFE - Links Portugal and Spain to South Africa,
• GLO-1 - Connects Nigeria with the United Kingdom and other African countries,
• TEAMS - Connects Kenya to the rest of the world,
• SEACOM - Serves the East and West coasts of Africa,
• LION - It connects Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius,
• EASSy - Links South Africa with East African Nations,
• MAIN ONE - links South Africa with Portugal, and
• WACS - links South Africa to the United Kingdom
This has culminated into the convergence of mobile communications and internet, radically transforming the lives of billions of people. The influence of the ICT sector can never be underestimated and we need to take advantage of the benefits derived from this for enhancement of economic inclusion.
LATE MINISTER’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE KIGALI PROTOCOL
It is because of the involvement of people like Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri that the South African government has always been at the forefront of creating an enabling environment for modern ICT broadband infrastructure investment. In 2006, whilst she was actively the Minister of Communications, the SA government was pivotal in the development and adoption of the Kigali Protocol. This is the Protocol on Policy and Regulatory Framework for NEPAD Broadband Infrastructure. This Protocol led to substantial investment made by government and private sector in the laying of submarine cables and providing infrastructure to enable more bandwidth across Africa.
BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE GAP ANALYSIS STUDY
Even the work that was concluded by our predecessors finds its resonance from the solid foundation already laid by Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, for instance the broadband infrastructure gap analysis study. Back in 2013 the then Department of Communications and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) commissioned a study to identify broadband gaps in the entire country. This entailed the process of identifying which areas were connected to broadband and who were the owners of this broadband. The study revealed that:
• Telkom has the largest fibre footprint. Mostly above-ground along poles next to roads.
• Broadband Infraco is using fibre on Eskom and Transnet. Mostly above-ground along power lines.
• National Long Distance (NLD) or Co-built: Vodacom+MTN+Neotel consortium with SANRAL for long distance ducts. Each partner has its own pipe in the duct under the road.
• FibreCo has long distance ducts under road, open access fibre.
• DarkFibreAfrica has majority of city fibre networks (underground), some long distance networks (underground)
• Liquid Telecom has long distance duct under highway
• Other fibre infrastructures included PRASA, B-Wired, Metros, security estates, which had a very short distance links.
Most other “operators” use fibers from the above, and sell as fibre services. Owners/controllers of access to routes/ducts/servitudes/rights-of-way were found to be: SANRAL, Provincial road authorities, Eskom, Transnet, Prasa, and Cities.
Telkom was found to be owning more than 147 000 “cable” kilometres (km) which translates to a calculation of route-distance equalling 88000 km. This was one of the compelling reasons why the entity was made a lead agency in the roll-out of Broadband.
SOUTH AFRICA CONNECT POLICY
The policies which we are currently driving the ICT sector giving guidance to the government and industry are part of the positive points in her track record. In December 2013, Government approved South Africa Connect, i.e. “South Africa’s National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan”. This was fruition of the late Minister’s constant call of the reduction and ultimate elimination of the digital divide gab. This policy details government’s intention to extend the broadband infrastructure and services to the most marginalised communities of South Africa by 2020.
During the period between now and the year 2020 priority will be connectivity to schools, health facilities, police stations and other government facilities to enhance public administration and service delivery. The target primary is to achieve 50% broadband penetration by the end of 2016 as outlined in SA Connect with average access speeds of 10 Megabit per second (Mbps) for the above facilities. We also want to ensure that broadband services are affordable. By the year 2020, Government intends to achieve 100% broadband penetration for schools and health facilities, eighty percent of which should be connected through high-speed broadband infrastructure, enabling data speeds of up to 100 Megabit per second (Mbps).
South Africa Connect Policy seeks to address the digital divides between those with resources and capabilities to access and optimally use the full range of broadband services and those who are marginalised. The policy has a good strategic framework in place that will lead to the sustainable usage and sustainable access by 2020. These broadband strategies encompass both “supply and demand” side initiatives. These approaches will ensure that the country achieve the 5A’s objectives (Availability of broadband network, Awareness, Accessibility of broadband at a national level, Affordability and Ability to use the application).
South Africa Connect Policy has four pillars:
• Digital Readiness: the creation of an enabling policy & regulatory frameworks; institutional capacity to facilitate broadband rollout while protecting the broader public interest.
• Digital Development: Aggregating public sector demand to address critical gaps, by procuring high-capacity and future-proof network capacity at more affordable cost to address public sector broadband requirements.
• Digital Future: Facilitate wholesale open access that will enable sharing of infrastructure and enable service based competition.
• Digital Opportunity: Ensuring that the citizens are up skilled & there is institutional capability, encourage research and develop (R&D), Innovation & entrepreneurship, development of local content and Applications.
NATIONAL ICT POLICY REVIEW
The department has been hard at work reviewing all the available pieces of ICT policy that you can ever come across in the country. The basis of this recent work on the National ICT Policy Review also forms part of the solid foundation laid by the late Minister’s work. The National ICT Review process culminated into a White Paper. This White Paper outlines the overarching policy framework for the transformation of South Africa into an inclusive and innovative digital and knowledge society. It reinforces and extends existing strategies such as South Africa Connect, the national broadband policy, the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework, 2012 and the National Information Society and Development Plan.
The National ICT Policy Review is strongly influenced by ICT Vision 2020. Immediately assuming duties as a Minister after the late Minister, then-Minister Gen. Siphiwe Nyanda, in his Budget Vote Speech of June 2009, launched the ICT Vision 2020 process, announcing intentions to develop an Integrated National ICT Policy Framework. The ICT Vision 2020 was to:
• provide a roadmap for the ICT industry’s long-term development and growth and for South Africa to become a leading country in the information era,
• entail the development by industry, in partnership with government, of a unified vision and strategy towards clearly defined goals and an aspirational vision of the industry to be achieved by 2020, and
• include research on: various components of the sector; local and international factors to affect it in future; and best options to be followed for future development.
The then-Minister of Communications, Gen. Siphiwe Nyanda reinforced and strengthened the trajectory already initiated by the late Minister. This action was at the time and still is much more relevant to the country’s Vision 2030, National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP allows for a greater co-ordination and coherence in the South African ICT policy environment, with a promise of achieving the enabling milestone of making high-speed broadband universally available at competitive prices.
CYBER SECURITY & CYBER SECURITY HUB
During the times of Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, the agenda was not only to get everybody connected but attention was also given to important aspects such as the security of citizens online. It is for this reason that we the successors had to prioritise and place all cybersecurity policy frameworks under the oversight of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster. As a department, we have already begun to implement some aspects of the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework including the establishment of the National Cybersecurity Advisory Council and a Cybersecurity Hub.
It was through the late Minister’s eagerness to see a black child prosper that she publicly launched the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative in Durban at the Africa Summit of the World Economic Forum on June 12, 2003. This initiative has been adopted as a continental priority undertaking aimed at ensuring that African youth graduate from African schools with the skills that will enable them to participate effectively in the global information society. The aim of the initiative is to impart ICT skills to young Africans in primary and secondary schools as well as harness ICT technology to improve, enrich and expand education in African countries.
We remember during September 2004, when Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri announced that schools were entitled to a 50% reduction in their Internet fees. This was subsequently gazetted a month later as part of the overall telecommunications liberalisation announcement. This discount came into effect on 1 January 2005. This bold move was to achieve a two-fold benefit, i.e. to liberalise the telecommunications sector whilst also increasing access for the poor.
To amplify the roll-out of connectivity to schools, the DTPS secured an amount of R374,2 million from the savings of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Project. The objective was to pilot provision of connectivity to schools, so that lessons could be learned before the roll-out could be provided to all the schools in the country.
To date, out of a total of over 24 000 government schools in the country more than 5000 schools, which is 22% of the total, have been connected for teaching and learning. In all our visits wherein we were launching computer laboratories, one issue kept on popping up, security of the hardware tools i.e. the computers/laptops.
THE DEPARTMENT’S INVESTMENT IN THE EXPANSION OF WI-FI HOTSPOTS
It is because of the solid foundation that has been laid by the likes of Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri that today we are talking of connectivity means such as Wi-Fi. Making use of Wi-Fi hot-spots as the main means of connecting society, Metropolitan Municipalities have been leading in the implementation of Smart Sustainable Cities, particularly metros in our three golden cities i.e. Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.
Some of the municipalities have dedicated resources towards improving productivity, continuously working with the private sector. The City of Tshwane has rolled-out 633 Wi-Fi public sites to provide free Wi-Fi. Gauteng and Western Cape provinces have expanded fibre networks to connect 150 and 186 Government facilities.
The private sector has contributed to increased mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure expansion. 3G Population coverage increased to 96% whilst Long-term Evolution (LTE) 4G population coverage increased to 35%.
To ensure growth of free Wi-Fi hotspots, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services has allocated about R40 million to six (6) Metropolitan Municipalities whereby about 230 sites will be connected to Wi-Fi. We believe that the move will assist us in realising our goals of universal service access thereby closing the digital divide.
The City of Mangaung is one of the Metropolitan Municipalities which applied for the funding from our department. In this metropolitan three townships with approximately 500, 000 residents will be connected to Wi-Fi. These townships are in the following areas: Bloemfontein, Thaba Nchu, and Botshabelo. In these three areas thirty-six Wi-Fi sites will be connected with a total budget of R 5.3m.
Once these areas are connected, the connectivity can be used innovatively to realise the following smart city activities:
• Smart Meters – Which will record consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less. Communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes.
• Smart Grid – Electricity networks that can intelligently integrate the behaviour and actions of all users connected to it — generators, consumers, and those that do both in order to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic, and secure electricity supplies.
• Bus Rapid Transit System – is a City project aimed at providing better public transport, reducing congestion on public roads, improving the environment and creating jobs. A high-tech control room monitors the buses and stations, ensuring that the bus system matches world-class standards. The control room has real-time tracking of bus movements and staff can communicate with each driver, ensuring that buses run on time and quick solutions are found for any eventuality.
• Smart City free Wi-Fi – whereby the city will have hotspots available at bus stations across the city, as well as at 50% of all libraries and clinics across its seven regions.
As a country we have grown and continue to grow in the field of ICTs, this is a result of the expertise and discipline showed by great leaders like Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri. We are now moving towards paperless government with other provinces already implementing online school application and the country itself adopting smart IDs. These are the ideas which were born and brewed during the leadership of Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.
As leaders of today we need to reflect deeply on ideas such as smart cities and villages because their future is unknown and therefore calls for our thought leadership. This thought leadership is cross-cutting at multiple levels of our society including industry, institutions of higher learning and government.
I thank you.