12 August 2019 - NW147
Majozi, Ms Z to ask the Minister of Communications
(1)Whether she has established a date on which 5G high-speed mobile network technology will become widely available; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether her department has any strategic partnerships with other countries or companies in rolling out 5G technology; if so, will she furnish Ms Z Majozi with a list of the countries and/or the companies with their country of origin; (3) whether she envisages that the roll-out of 5G infrastructure in alliance with her department’s strategic and investment partners may pose any potential state security threats due to information being shared with the specified partners; if not, why not; if so, what are the (a) relevant details and (b) steps taken by her department to ensure that the security of the State is not compromised; (4) whether she has found that 5G infrastructure can be used to breach individual property and privacy laws; if not, how can she guarantee that this will not happen; if so, what (a) are the relevant details and (b) measures has her department taken to avoid such a breach; (5) whether the White Paper on 5G Radio Network Architecture has been drafted and made publicly available; if not, why not; if so, will she furnish Ms Z Majozi with a copy of the specified white paper?
I have been advised by the Department as follows: -
1. The Minister is not responsible for technology launches and thus does not determine technology launch dates.
Suffice to say, the Minister provides policies that establish an enabling environment and broad frameworks for creating equitable opportunities for all market players.
2. The department is working with various industry players who are rolling out latest 5G technology. As an example, the department recently partnered with Nokia and Vodacom during the recent Digital Economy Summit wherein President Ramaphosa, speaking at Gallagher Convention Centre, had his address simultaneously broadcast as a holographic image to the Rustenburg Civic Centre.
3. The national security agencies and the departments in the security cluster, continuously scan the environment for any potential threats to the State and its people, and if there is any potential security threat, it will be dealt with. Furthermore, the Cybersecurity Hub in the department falls under the Government’s broader security mandate and such engages with other government security institutions and industry players to implement safety standards and measures.
4. With regards to security, 5G is no different from previous generation networks and the same established security principles will need to be applied. As stated, national security agencies and the departments in the security cluster are continuously scanning the environment to deal with any potential threats to the State and its people. The government has legislated the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA) and the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act. Government has also developed the Cyber Security Policy Framework and the department is currently working on the Data Policy. All these policies and legislation, inter alia, address issues of security.
MS STELLA NDABENI-ABRAHAMS