Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Budget Speech & response by DA


10 Jul 2019

Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, gave her Budget speech on the 10th July 2019


Theme: Growing the Economy and Driving a Digital Society through the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Honourable House Chairperson
Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana
Chairperson & Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee
Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Chairpersons and CEOs of State-Owned Entities
Captains of Industry

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Afternoon.

We dip our banners and join South Africa in mourning the tragic loss of Mr Mandla Maseko, the aspirational astronaut who died in a bike accident over the past weekend. His untimely death comes as the continent prepares to laud him as the first black African to travel to space.

We also learnt with sadness about the passing of veteran actress, uMama Nomhle Nkonyeni earlier this morning. A recipient of the Order of Ikhamanga in silver, Mama Nomhle boasted a career than spanned 50 years and starred in various television, film and stage productions such as Igazi, Gazlam, Red Dust and Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena.

May their souls rest in peace.


Distinguished guests

Delivering the inaugural State of the Nation Address of the sixth democratic administration, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, emphasised that the resolution of our developmental challenges - the triple evils of unemployment, poverty and inequality, largely depends on growing our economy.

We must add that this economic growth that we desire must be inclusive, to gain traction given the historic exclusion of the black majority. The importance of inclusive growth is becoming more pronounced given the reality that key sections of our society such as the youth and rural communities are bearing the most brunt of a sluggish economy.

Within the construct of inclusive economic participation; government, labour and the private sector must work together through a social compact that recognises the need to be single-minded in accelerating economic growth.

Contributions must come from all industries and our efforts must seamlessly be felt within and outside the borders of our country.

In this respect, our response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents us with a unique opportunity to harness our individual and collective talents, energies and strengths to decisively address the economic and social challenges that we currently face. It presents an opportunity for all in society to participate in the digital economy, whether it be for social welfare or business interests; as creators or consumers of goods and services; and whether trading locally, regionally or internationally.

Irrespective, the Fourth Industrial Revolution represents an opportunity for inclusive contributions to the national effort of turning around our economy and society for the benefit of all.

At its core, it represents the extent to which the digital economy is becoming a key ingredient to the production processes, in various sectors such as education, health agriculture, manufacturing, financial services or infrastructure development.

Further, it represents the extent to which societies can overcome their traditional challenges and people can lead dignified lives, be it through better guarantees of safety and security, easier access to effective healthcare, broader access to education, better social mobility through gainful employment or more comprehensive and responsive social protection systems.

Public services are also not immune from this development as governments and cities recognise the need to invest in smart digital services to better understand societal needs and optimally design legislative, policy and regulatory responses to those needs.

Recent studies by Accenture and the World Economic Forum estimate that the aggregate value that can be derived by our country from the digital transformation of our society and the economy is about R5 trillion. More specifically, this economic value addition would result in roughly four million new jobs.

Whilst we acknowledge that some jobs will become obsolete, we cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand and ignore this critical phenomenon, the opportunities it presents, and the necessary steps that we must take as a nation to minimise risks and maximise benefits.

As a government, we are committed to transforming the telecommunications and digital industries market structure. Key to such an objective is the requirement to remove barriers to entry for new market players, noting that the mobile industry is highly concentrated.

We must therefore be forthright in investing in digital skilling and re-skilling of our people as an imperative for inclusion in the digital economy.

Trade and Digital Economies

House Chairperson,

In June, Minister Ebrahim Patel and I had the privilege of participating in the G20 Summit that was held in Osaka, Japan. This summit brought together, for the first time, Trade and Digital Economy Ministers from various selected countries to present opportunities and deepen understanding of the interface between trade and the digital economy.

As respective G20 Ministers, we acknowledged the fact that digitisation presents both benefits and challenges to society. We also agreed that this phenomenon of digitisation presents us with a rare opportunity to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

This has reaffirmed our resolve as the South African government to locate digital innovation at the core of our economic growth.

In our quest to digitally transform the nation, we also acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of our people still lack access to digital infrastructure, which is the bedrock for the digital economy.

In this respect, the 4IR must therefore be viewed as providing impetus to the objectives of the National Development Plan. Our challenge therefore is defining the strategic areas of investment in 4IR that will position South Africa as a leader in this revolution.

Presidential Commission on the 4IR   

It is against this background that in March 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa established the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution comprising of eminent persons drawn from a cross section of industries, academia, labour and civil society.

The Commission as chaired by President Ramaphosa and his deputy, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, has been inducted and is already hard at work focusing on the following six delivery areas:

  • policy and legislation, 
  • human capital and the future of work,
  • research, technology and innovation,
  • infrastructure and resources,
  • industrialisation and commercialisation and
  • economic and social impact.

To ensure that the work of the commission is realised into government priorities, the President has appointed the Inter-Ministerial Committee on 4IR which comprises of the Ministers of Communications & Digital Technologies, Basic Education, Employment and Labour, Higher Education Science and Innovation, Trade, Industry and Competition, Mineral Resources and Energy and Small Business Development.

Within the next few months the Commission will engage with key stakeholders and the public, working towards the development of South Africa’s blueprint on 4IR.

Digital Economy Summit

Honourable Members,

On the 5th of July, we hosted the Digital Economy Summit in Midrand as the first step towards bringing all economic and social players to the table on the collective effort of understanding the drivers for unlocking the value of the 4IR within the economy and society and with a focus on the specific drivers for job creation in this new world.

The outcome of the Digital Economy Summit will serve as an input into the work of the Presidential Commission.

Further, to showcase technological innovation, we enacted, through a collaboration with Nokia and Vodacom, a replication of the summit in Rustenburg using a holographic projection. This was the first time that a Head of State was broadcast live utilising 3D holographic technology. This move signalled our readiness to cement South Africa’s position as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

Policy Review for the Digital Economy

The Electronic Communications Act has played its role in transforming the industry to its current position. However, overhauled instruments need to take into account the plurality of players across all aspects of the value chain as well as new emerging markets.

As indicated, we need to immediately overhaul our policies in order for them to respond to a changing industry that is increasingly dominated by data and an ecosystem of digital platforms.

Reconfiguration of the Portfolio

The merger of the Ministries of Communications and Telecommunications & Postal Services into a single Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies is designed to ensure better alignment and coordination on matters that are critical to the digital economy and 4IR.

We have, since our appointment, been seized with the task of creating a new department that places at its centre, the digital transformation of government and support for a digital economy and society.

We are currently designing an optimal structural and institutional framework that will speak to our new mandate. This entails defining the focus areas and operating model of the new Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and aligning these with the outcomes of the Presidential Commission in order to ensure that the new department is indeed the champion leading on matters related to the 4IR.

The design and alignment of work will inform and guide how our continuing operations in relation to some of the key public policy promises made under the previous department.  To this end, we are also engaging our stakeholders, departmental employees and unions about the new mandate.

All these processes will culminate in the finalisation of the organisational structure for the new department and a strategic plan. The Annual Performance Plan will therefore need to be reviewed and amended in line with the new mandate and structure that will feed into a single budget for the new Department.

SOEs under the department are also being reconfigured in line with the new mandate.

Through the reconfiguration of some of our SoEs, we will establish a new infrastructure company that will be responsible for the rollout of infrastructure and connectivity. As part of the creation of this company, we will ensure that all state infrastructure initiatives are harmonised and coordinated.

We will further reconfigure our entities to create a streamlined regulator that will respond to the emerging needs of the digital society. 

As we ready South Africa to take its leading position in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we will also position NEMISA to be a digital skills institute that will train government employees and members of the public.

As part of ensuring development of the sector, we will also present to Parliament, the Digital Development Fund Bill to establish the fund to support innovation.

In order to drive digital transformation in government, there is a need to establish the State IT Company. This will entail the repurposing of the current State Information Technology Agency to drive innovation, transformation, localisation, cyber-security, e-government and IT service management. 

We will further repurpose the South African Post Office to take advantage of the thriving e-Commerce and financial services environments, with the latter through the Post Bank.

Finally, government is actively looking at strengthening the South African Broadcasting Corporation. As we reported in the Portfolio Committee last week, we continue to engage with National Treasury on a lasting financial solution for the public broadcaster.

To this end, working with National Treasury, we will in the next ten days, provide a portion of the interim relief and the remaining balance within the next 45 days.

However, this is subject to the SABC meeting all the set conditions and requirements. In this regard we will work with the Minister of Finance towards an institutional mechanism to support the turn-around effort, and this includes the appointment of the CRO.

Digital Transformation of Government

The digitisation of government services is an important pillar of digital transformation and therefore the department will lead the process of fast tracking the digital transformation of government services with a particular focus on front line services.

In responding to the President’s call for the district service delivery model, we will be working with all government departments and stakeholders to support cities in digitising their services. Government will, within ninety days identify priority districts for this purpose.

Broadband Rollout – Connecting South Africa

To date the Department has facilitated broadband connectivity to 570 facilities including schools and health facilities. This is in addition to what the industry is doing. For example, Telkom has about 160 000 km of fibre which will be critical as we move forward into the 4IR. Broadband Infraco has rolled out 15 000km of fibre and 147 Points of Presence throughout the country. Sentech has an extensive wireless network with more than 300 sites to deliver digital and broadband services.

Going forward the Department will focus on rolling out broadband services to additional 400 facilities, majority of which will be schools and health facilities. Through ICASA, we will also review the current universal service obligations to ensure alignment with SA Connect standards.

During the Medium Term we will review the download speeds to be in line with  international best practice. This will form part of the work we are currently doing with the Development Bank of South Africa which will be concluded by the end of the financial year. 

Furthermore, the feasibility study for the second phase of the rollout will be coordinated and the study will investigate cost-effective and efficient ways, inclusive of public-private partnership models, of rolling out services as well as funding broadband on a much larger scale.

High Demand Spectrum Licensing

On the licensing of Unassigned High Demand Spectrum, we will within the next seven working days, issue the Final Policy and Policy Direction to ICASA.

As the international ICT community prepares for the World Radio Conference that will be held in Egypt in October 2019, plans are afoot for South Africa’s participation in the discussions in SADC, Africa and International Fora to ensure that this time we are not left behind and do not delay our people and country the meaningful role they can play as 5G is not only telecommunications based but cuts across all sectors.

Accelerating the Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) programme

Within 90 days, the department will present the reviewed broadcasting digital migration delivery model in order to enable the swift release of the high demand spectrum needed for the rollout of broadband and effective DTT migration.

Skills Development as a key tenet of the 4IR

The late former President Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Indeed, the language that we use, influences the way that we think and act. Therefore, making content readily available in multiple languages enables a connected society.  As such and as part of the Internet for All Initiative we have established a Working Group on Content which has commenced with translating Wikipedia content into the ten official languages of South Africa, save for English.

To this end, both isiXhosa and SiSwati translations have been completed and learners from schools in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga have already started with the project.

You will recall that in my 2018 Budget Vote speech, I made a bold statement to train one million young people on data science and related skills to ensure that they are equipped to take advantage of new digital technologies, unlock future jobs and drive competitiveness.

To this end, the National Digital Skills Strategy has been submitted to Cabinet for approval and we have, through a partnership with portfolio entities and stakeholders such as MICT SETA, Telkom, Cisco, Vodacom, MTN, Google and Microsoft; amongst others, trained more than 20 000 young people in data science and related skills including; cloud computing, digital content production, 3D printing, drone piloting, cybersecurity and software development.

Further, Accenture is investing in Future Skills development with a special focus on the youth and contributing to the township economy. This is exemplified by the Accenture Java Academy in partnership with Codex and the longstanding, proven Skills to Succeed Programme. We invite partners to join us in this digital skills revolution.

Honourable members,

Cumulatively, portfolio entities and private sector companies spend approximately R20 million per year on bursaries for tertiary students studying in the STEM fields. The sector also utilises about 300 interns, most of whom are then absorbed into the respective companies.

Honourable members,

Present today are young e-gamers and e-sport enthusiasts from TAM gaming. This is one of the fastest growing sectors enabled by the Fourth Industrial Revolution that presents an opportunity for young township entrepreneurs to enter into this multi-billion industry. 

Huawei has partnered with these young entrepreneurs to ensure that young people in townships and rural communities are exposed to and capacitated to compete in e-sports.  The Department is also working with SEDA to assist TAM gaming to offer training in township and rural areas.

SMME Development

The Department is working on a programme to support and sustain existing ICT SMMEs, including the ISPs supported in the 2018/19 financial year. Around 180 ICT SMMEs will be capacitated on cellphone repair and other key business management skills. The programme will be implemented in partnership with the Technology Innovation Agency, NEMISA and SEDA.

Additionally, 100 SMMEs and individuals will be trained on fibre and Wi-Fi deployment skills, in partnership with the Wireless Access Providers Association (WAPA). This is in line with the NDP priority of unlocking the potential of SMMEs to contribute to the target of creating 11 million jobs by 2030.

Honourable Members,

Growing SMME’s in the ICT sector and the digital economy in particular will be prioritised in the coming financial year. Portfolio SOEs will, at the minimum spend 40% of their capex budget on youth and women owned SMME’s.

It is crucial that we focus on the SMME sector as it has significant labour absorptive capacity more than the larger firms that are currently restructuring to respond to a challenging economic climate.

In the previous financial year, portfolio entities and private sector companies spent over R1 billion on SMMEs and have committed to spent more this financial year.  In our oversight function, we will monitor the extent to which this commitment is sustained.

We have also engaged big mobile operators in our sector to support SMMEs and provide greater access to their infrastructure at a cost that is sustainable.  The feedback we received from the mobile operators is that they are already factoring the procurement spend for SMMEs in their capex.


In conclusion, it is important to point out that the first movers in any industrial revolution derive the most benefit for generations to come. It is our considered view that setting aside resources to invest in the 4IR will ensure that South Africa plays a leading role in the continent with its 1.3 billion population.

Honourable Members 

Allow me to conclude by making A CLARION CALL under the theme of Khawuleza which must define our work now and in future. The youth of our country cannot wait anymore.   We have to deliver on the commitments we made in the manifesto of the governing party.

Honourable members, this brings me to the Appropriation of our Budget. The Budget allocation for the Department of Communications in the financial year 2019/20 is R1 576 100 billion. The allocation for the Department of telecommunications and Postal Services for the financial R1 684 574 billion. I invite the house the adopt the Budgets as presented.

In ending, I wish Bafana Bafana well in their AFCON game against Nigeria.

I thank you.


Address by the Deputy Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies Cde Pinky Kekana on the Budget Vote Debate for the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies

10 July 2019

Madam Speaker
Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
Other Ministers and Deputy Ministers here present
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Honourable Hope Papo
Members of the Portfolio Committee
Director Generals of respective Departments
Commissioners of the Presidential Commission on the 4IR
Captains of Industry
Distinguished Guests
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen

Let me start out by apologising to the house for the regrettable incident that took place at last week’s Portfolio Committee session. This was not out of disrespect to the Portfolio Committee and all South Africans; it was the effects of taking new Flu medication and bearing the consequences thereof.

I unconditionally apologise.

With eight days left to Mandela Day, as the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, we are guided by the words of our former President, Nelson Mandela, when he said “the Brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.
With many challenges to face and the many unknowns that come with the advancement of technology, like Madiba said, we have to be brave and conquer those fears.

As we head into the fourth industrial revolution, our drive needs to be underpinned by strong institutions especially the state-owned enterprises, agencies and regulators. Significant strides have been made to transform the SABC from being the mouth piece of the apartheid government into a true public broadcaster.

The uninterrupted coverage of the 2019 national and provincial elections enabled South Africans from all walks of life the opportunity, to receive pertinent information about the elections therefore facilitating a participatory democracy.

 This once again positioned the National Broadcaster as an important pillar of our democracy and is probably best summed up by the analysis of Media Monitoring Africa, an independent media monitoring group, which concluded the following:

“SABC’s coverage of the 2019 general elections are to be strongly commended, not just because they were overwhelmingly fair, but because:

  1. There was a clear shift to offer more citizens voices,
  2. Political parties were equitably covered
  3. SABC stood up for their editorial independence
  4. Provincial coverage was in line with general population spread,
  5. To the best of our knowledge, no formal complaints about the SABC’s failure to run party adverts or messages were lodged.”

This happened at a time when the SABC was faced with unprecedented financial challenges which were mainly the result of mismanagement, corruption and an outdated funding model.

Government understands these challenges and commits itself to finding a lasting solution, which includes working with the SABC and other stakeholders.

In this respect, the Department of Communications & Digital Technologies, has commissioned the Government Technical Advisory Centre at National Treasury to assist with the development of the Corporate Strategy of the SABC to ensure that it is sustainable and forward looking.

It is within this context that the Minister of Finance has charged his Director General, to determine how the SABC can be assisted from within treasury’s contingency reserves. We are truly indebted to the board, management and staff of SABC who have continued to steer the ship through stormy seas which were not of their own doing. We will be working studiously and speedily with GTAC, and National Treasury to ensure that the SABC gets the assistance it desperately needs.

The Department has also identified policies that need to be amended to create an enabling environment for the turnaround and complete recovery of the SABC, taking into account the changing market and technological advances. This will entail amendments to the Broadcasting Act and the Electronic Communications Act.

We call upon all government departments and state entities to use the SABC as a platform to educate, inform and entertain about your specific areas of work, cutting across your various sectors such as health, sport, transport, etc. This will enable us to position the SABC as your home, within the homes of South Africans. This CAN and should happen, if we get all government departments to understand that the SABC is a fundamental platform for public content.

I have no doubt, that we can build a public broadcaster, which makes the paying of TV licences, worthy.

A good and viable broadcaster is central to the development and growth of the Audio-Visual Content and Creative industries. The Creative Industry was identified by WEF as a high priority industry, and our current discussions on the renewed Industrial Policy has affirmed it as one of the future economic growth sectors, for South Africa.

In this regard, the Department will prioritise the development of an Audio Visual and Digital Content Strategy. Engagements with the creative industry are ongoing and the department has already committed funds to support this initiative.

In support of the development of more local content, as required by section 38 of the Broadcasting Act, the Ministry will appoint members of the public and industry to serve on the South African Broadcast Production Advisory Body which will advise on strategies and plans towards the creation of a South African local content industry.  

This will take into account efforts towards positioning South Africa as a significant player in the global digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Honourable Chairperson;

Financial inclusion is an important pillar of any economy.  Over the years Government has positioned the Postbank to become a trusted bank for many in our country especially those who cannot access current banks. Currently, the Postbank has about 5.8 million clients with R5.3 billion in deposits, excluding SASSA which amounts to 7.8 million grant recipients. Our competitive edge remains rooted in decades of building trust in communities, and supporting South Africans, who would not normally have access to banking, and giving them a form of economic emancipation.

A significant number of South Africans started their banking with the Postbank and still do, even when access to another bank is possible. The payments of social grants, through the postal network has brought convenience and even dignity, to many of our people because of the extensive network of the Post Office, across more than 1000 outlets. As we speak, Postbank is developing its strategy, which will be unveiled in the next few months. This will enable it to compete in the market, while focusing on its immediate responsibilities to ensure financial inclusivity.

The Banks Act did not previously allow state entities to hold bank licences.
This has since been amended, and paved the way for the licensing of the Postbank. During the current financial year, we will amend the Postbank Act to align it with the Banks Act. The Department has already delinked the assets of the Postbank from those of the SA Post Office.
It is safe to say we are in the process of concluding the regulatory framework for the first state owned bank in the democratic dispensation.

Honourable members;

The corporatisation model of the Postbank will ensure that we progress to a State Bank which will fulfil both economic and social transformation mandates, serve the unbanked and underbanked, offering accessible, simple, and affordable banking solutions.  

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The postal market is undergoing critical changes impacted by the rapid pace of technological advancements. Throughout the world the traditional mail volumes are in severe decline, which necessitated a complete rethink of the role of the Post Office. In South Africa the Integrated White Paper on ICT Policy already recognises the strategic role of the Post Office in the changed market and ever-changing technological environment. In this regard, the Post Office will launch an e-commerce platform which is being implemented jointly with the Universal Postal Union, a UN agency for postal services. Last year we committed to partner with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to make SAPO one of the three hubs in Africa.  

I am pleased to report the increased co-operation with regional operators to enable trade and logistics solutions in the region and internationally. In addition to e-commerce the department will work with the Post Office to redefine its mandate in the rollout of e-government as set out in the White Paper.  The diversification of the mandate of the Post Office follows on government’s financial investment in the Post Office over the last three years. This will also enable the Post Office to digitise its network by connecting all post offices to high speed internet.

As we continue to focus on the digitisation of the postal network, SAPO will continue to rollout addresses to assist government to comply with what is called the Tlokwe ruling of the Constitutional Court.  In the past two years the department has supported the Post Office with funds to rollout addresses and about 4.9 million new addresses have been introduced, far exceeding the original target of 3.5 million.

This assisted the IEC, greatly, in preparations for the 2021 Local Government elections. The rollout of these new addresses will enable the recipient communities and households to participate in the economy, and over and above that, it gives our people, a sense of belonging.

To sustain the postal network, government has reinstated the Universal Service Obligations fund and dedicated R1.5 billion over a three-year period. This is important considering the huge cost of sustaining a postal network.

Due to the successful implementation of this project, of a R50 million funding from the DTPS, and an additional R35million grant was approved to support the development of the National Address Database envisaged in the National ICT Policy. The focus for the coming year to obtain approval on an amendment to our legislation that approves the Data Custodianship for addresses.
Honourable members,

The socio-economic conditions that are faced by women, youth, and people with disabilities, remain at the centre of our programmes and policy framework. Rightfully so.

In the 2018/2019 budget vote speech, the Department committed to host and implement programmes targeting women, children, people with disabilities, and SMMEs.

We hosted the National ICT Accessibility Symposium in Mafikeng where over 225 persons with disabilities were in attendance, where the outcome of the symposium was a heightened awareness amongst the attendees of what is available to them in the ICT sector. It also provided an opportunity for the sector to showcase what innovations and technologies are available in South Africa to support persons with disabilities. We are passionate about the use of innovation and technologies that support and empower persons with disabilities.

As with anything, there is a negative side to technology. As such, the protection of our children is a key priority for the Department. We hosted the Child Online Protection Program, providing support to the Web Ranger Program, which is a national digital literacy initiative, to equip young people between the ages of 12 and 17 to empower themselves and their peers, to be safe online. The Program reached just under 1500 young people across the country, equipping them to be web rangers in their respective schools, with the idea to catalyse the awareness and behaviours of safe online activity.

The Schools Social Media Policy, which previously only focussed on the restriction of cell phone usage in schools, now has been expanded, with a priority on policy changes, to include aspects of cyber bulling, sexting, and sexual grooming.

The department has implemented the e-Parenting Program across all nine provinces, with just under 500 parents, to date. The program includes providing parents with information on how to parent in a digital age, which is definitely harder than it sounds. We have partnered with the private sector and non-governmental entities such as The Film Publications Board, Facebook, Google South Africa and ChildLine South Africa, to implement the program.

The Department will be implementing the Digital Inclusion Awareness Program in 2019/2020, focusing on the benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution for four components of society, namely women, youth, children, and people with disabilities. This will include the Young Women in ICT Dialogue in August 2019, with a focus on the benefits of 4IR. The event will be held in the Western Cape as the host province, and participation will include young women from the Northern Cape, and Eastern Cape, and relevant stakeholders such as Ministry of Women, NYDA, SOCs, and ICT Sector Companies. The aim is to integrate policy changes that may need to be made in respect of safety of women in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


The nature of the digital communications sector is such that we have to work with other countries through bilateral interactions and multilateral platforms.

South Africa is currently a member of various international organisations such as the International Telecommunications Union, World Intellectual Property Organisation, as well as regional and continental formations dealing with the sector. Our strategic focus is mainly around the creation of a fair and equitable global communications environment, harnessing the value of strategic resources such as the radio frequency spectrum and universal standards. 

Last year, we hosted the ITU Telecommunications World Conference, which was for the first time in Africa. Later this year, our country will participate in the World Radio Conference, which is held every five years to discuss topical issues related to the use of the radio frequency spectrum. The 2019 WRC will take place in November hosted by Egypt.

The advent of the Continental Free Trade Agreement offers an important opportunity for the growth and development of the digital economy, on the continent, creating a market for Africa’s goods and services. As one of the biggest investors on the continent South Africa continues to take an active interest in emerging opportunities. Accordingly, we are currently chairing the Fourth Industrial Revolution committees at both the regional and the continental levels. These positions will require us to increase our international budget and presence in various platforms.

All these initiatives constitute elements of a dream of the South Africa we want, and the actions we are going to take to make those dreams a reality.

I started out my speech today by quoting Nelson Mandela, and I want to close with a famous Madiba quote, in this, Mandela month:

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

Malibongwe Igama lama khosikhazi

I thank you.