On 13 February 2020, President Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in South Africa. Here are five key aspects of relevance to the ICT sector:
- Education: In respect of basic education, the government is currently engaged in a process to “issue tablet computers to school students”. Furthermore, this year, the government will be introducing coding and robotics in grades R to 3 in 200 schools, with a plan to implement it fully by 2022. In respect of higher education, the government will establish a new University of Science and Innovation in Ekurhuleni for young people “to be trained in high-impact and cutting-edge technological innovation for current and future industries”.
- Smart city: A new smart city is being established in Lanseria, with the process being led by the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency, together with the relevant provincial and local governments. The smart city “will not only be smart and 5G ready but will be a leading benchmark for green infrastructure continental and internationally”.
- Competition Commission’s Data Services Market Inquiry: The President noted that the Competition Commission is “working towards a resolution with the large mobile operators to secure deep cuts to data prices across pre-paid monthly bundles, additional discounts targeted at low-income households, a free daily allocation of data and free access to educational and other public interest websites”.
- Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The President noted that the digital economy “will increasingly become a driver of growth and creator of employment”. In respect of the Presidential Commission, he indicated that it has made “far-reaching recommendations that impact on nearly every aspect of the economy and in many areas of our lives”.
- Licensing of the high-demand spectrum: The President indicated that an important condition for the success of the digital economy “is the availability of high demand spectrum to expand broadband access and reliability”. In this regard, he indicated that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has undertaken to conclude the licensing of high-demand spectrum via auction before the end of 2020, and the licensing of the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) during the course of 2021.
The full State of the Nation Address is accessible (via the Parliamentary Monitoring Group) here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest, and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].