Speech by the Honourable Deputy Minister of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Honourable Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize
During the Occasion of
40th Commemoration of the Soweto Uprisings
Mathole Secondary School
17 June 2016
Theme: Youth Moving South Africa Forward: “Rural Youth Skills for Economic Inclusion”
Mr H Nkosi – Mathole Secondary School Principal;
Councillor Ester Qwabe – Deputy Mayor, Zululand District Municipality;
Cllr M.J Ntshangase – Deputy Mayor, Ulundi Local Municipality;
Councillor Ngcobo – Ward 6 Councillor;
Mr JM Mtshali – Deputy Inkosi, Buthelezi Royal House
Mr MK Buthelezi – Deputy Inkosi, Buthelezi Royal House
Councillor Mlambo – Ulundi Local Municipality Speaker
Cde Victor Dlamini – ANC Regional Secretary (Abaqulusi)
Cde Dubazane – ANC Sub-Regional Secretary ( Ulundi)
Mr Khakalethu Tshaka – Vodacom, school connectivity Manager;
Mr. Arthur Makhuvha – Finance Manager, MTN SA Foundation Mr. Lesimola Selepe – MTN SA Foundation
Mr. Tirron Moleko – South African Post Office
I greet you all!
Programme director allow me to first start by thanking all our stakeholders who heeded to our call when we said to them, there is a school in deep rural areas of Mahlabathini that we need to support. A very special thank you goes to tomorrow’s leaders, our disciplined learners who never said that government gave us a long weekend but against all odds made it a point to come and welcome what government has to offer them. To all of you young people present today, you already possess one of the qualities that will make you a great achiever in life, persistence. Keep it up!
By today, I am sure that all of us gathered here today we know that in South Africa, the entire month of June is celebrated as a youth month. During the Youth Month, we pay tribute to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 Soweto Uprisings. This years’ celebrations are special in that it is the 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprising where more than 15 000 students gathered at the Orlando West Secondary School with the intention of participating in a peaceful march to the nearby Orlando Stadium were attacked by the police and armed forces.
The Youth of 1976 Struggles and the Youth of 2016 Struggles
As the youth of the present day South Africa you should be asking yourselves a lot of questions about this day or this month of June. What are we celebrating and why are we celebrating? What was so special about the youth of 1976? How was their leadership and aspirations?
During their time, there was a whole lot of things which they could have protested for as young people, but they protested against Afrikaans being used as a medium of instruction. What are your challenges today apart from “fees must fall”?
The world has changed dramatically since 1976, you have new set of challenges, and one of these is technological change. This to a larger extend affects your learning, it can be for good or for worst depending on your reception.
The provincial unemployment rate for Kwa-Zulu Natal was recorded at 20,4% in the third quarter of 2015. This is a 3,2 percentage points decline from the figure of the second quarter which was recorded at 23,6%. This is a clear indication that government’s efforts of improving the livelihood of people in rural and semi-urban areas is coming to fruition.
Perhaps coming from Ulundi Local Municipality is a disadvantage and an advantage at the same time. The fact that you are away from major towns and cities is a disadvantage. The advantage is that, government puts more emphasis on servicing the rural and the semi-urban areas. This brings opportunities to your neighbourhood.
We are part of the revolution that is driven by fast speed internet broadband access. The Department has a specific mandate which focuses on the radical socio-economic transformation of our society using ICTs to deal with the effects of structural challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty left behind by the legacy of apartheid.
We are working on multiple interventions to ensure an inclusive access and affordability of the Internet. Prior to our national broadband rollout project, it was discovered that the ICT market structure was inefficient, costly, duplicates infrastructure in urban areas and could not roll-out ICT infrastructure and services to reach all South Africans in line with the long term vision of a connected society.
Schools Connectivity Programme
Our programme of connecting schools is an ongoing programme whereby we identify rural schools establish computer laboratories for them and connect them to the internet. Since the announcement made by the President of our country Honourable Jacob Zuma, our focus has now been to the eight districts that he identified as the first priority for broadband roll-out. He said: “The year 2015 will mark the beginning of the first phase of broadband roll-out. Government will connect offices in eight district municipalities.
These are Dr. Kenneth Kaunda in North West, Gert Sibande in Mpumalanga, O.R. Tambo in the Eastern Cape, Pixley ka Seme in the Northern Cape, Thabo Mofutsanyane in the Free State, Umgungundlovu and Umzinyathi in KwaZulu-Natal, and Vhembe in Limpopo.”
One will notice that the eight districts listed above excludes Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces which have already gone far in terms of broadband rollout. We have set out plans for the implementation of digital opportunities programmes in the NHI pilot sites to ensure that residents in these areas are able to benefit from the rollout of broadband infrastructure.
The hard work of getting South Africa Connected started back in 2013 when the then Department of Communications and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) started on a project 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” kilometers (km) which translates to a calculation of route-distance equaling 88000 km. This was one of the compelling reasons why the entity was made a lead agency in the roll-out of Broadband.
We are also working this hard to be able to realize the targets made in our National Development Plan (NDP). Our targets in terms of the NDP are to achieve 100% broadband penetration by 2020. By 2016 the Broadband access in Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) per user experience is estimated to be 50% at 5 Mbps and by 2020 the estimation is 90% at 5 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) and 50% at 100 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps). By 2030 the estimations are 100% at 10 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) and 80% at 100 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps).
For schools the targets are 50% at 10 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) by 2016; 100% at 10 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps), 80% at 100 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) by 2020; and 100% at 1 Giga Bits per Second (Gbps) by 2030. For health facilities the targets are 50% at 10 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) by 2016; 100% at 10 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps), 80% at 100 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) by 2020; and 100% at 1 Giga Bits per second (Gbps) by 2030. The targets for public sector facilities are 50% at 10 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) by 2016; 100% at 10 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps), 80% at 100 Mega Bits per Second (Mbps) by 2020; and 100% at 1 Giga Bits Per Second (Gbps) by 2030.
The Youth and the ICT Sector
The ICT sector is relatively new many of you participate through things such as communication and social media. Beyond this, youth participation is very low. This is a sector which young people here in South Africa must be taking advantage of. Most innovative ideas are found in the ICT Sector, how many young innovators do we have? There are also plenty opportunities available in this sector, the challenge is skills shortage.
With the widespread availability of broadband there are some unintended consequences which the youth end-up being victims of. Issues such as online identity theft; online bullying; exposition to violent, exploitative and degrading practices. Young people are to this stage still not safe in the cyberspace. It all brings us back to our individual responsibilities, do we carry the same moral standards which we practice in the real world to the virtual world? The main problem is that what seems to be so difficult to do in real world all of a sudden becomes easier to do virtually. If you couldn’t be comfortable with a stranger in a real world why would you be comfortable in the virtual world?
These are some of the issues that we have realized as a department that they need our serious attention otherwise our moral fiber as a society will be weakened. We have a Cybersecurity Strategy which was approved in 2012 and work has long started in conducting awareness campaigns. In other instances we are partnering with organizations such as Google, Child Line South Africa and the Film and Publication Board to create awareness about being safe online as well as adherence to age restrictions.
South African is the member country of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and as a result the Department’s Child Online Protection programme is based on the ITU Child Online Protection (COP) Guidelines. The key objectives of the ITU COP are as follows;
• Identify risks and vulnerabilities to children in cyberspace
• Create awareness
• Develop practical tools to help minimize risks
• Share knowledge and experience
The children learn and get a lot information on the internet but there has been other negative developments and aspects of being online that children need to be made aware and be protected from, these include amongst others, the following;
• Exposure to inappropriate materials like pornography and extreme violence
The Department has started implementing the awareness component of Child Online Protection Programme by implementing awareness workshops in schools. In the previous financial year the department implemented the workshops at the following schools: Eersterust Secondary School (Pretoria), Ikusasa Comprehensive School (Thembisa) and Nongeke Senior Secondary School (Bhizana).
I Thank you.