Source: The Department of Communications
Title: SA: Address by Dina Pule, Minister of Communications, at the launch of the SABS Set Top Box
standard, ICT Indaba, Cape Town
Thank you for your presence. I'd like to express my appreciation of the relationship we have. We view the media as one of our key stakeholders in this government's efforts to transform our society.
Indeed, we shall stop at nothing in ensuring that our citizens' lives are progressively improved.
We have to feed off this incredible energy generated by the conversations we have had over the past two and a half days. All the building blocks that we need to build a prosperous society are in place.
The world and our continent, in particular, have humbled us with their willingness to share their experiences and best practices. We have also shared our learnings from the formative years of our democracy.
This conference has strengthened our resolve to investing in developmental infrastructure. This infrastructure has to be delivered in partnership with the private sector.
Universal access to infrastructure will enable governments to deliver e-services of high quality such as e-health and e-education to rural areas.
The two Inter-Ministerial meetings have highlighted the need to address education challenges from primary schools up to tertiary levels. These are the areas that we’ll focus our energies on in relation to e-learning.
This conference also highlighted the need to harness Africa's human capital in technology to fast track socio-economic development and economic growth. An investment in developing people will result in greater innovation. We have to find our own solutions to the developmental challenges we face. Of course, we have chosen to do so in partnership with Africa and the rest of the world.
This is the context through which we should view the launch of the Set Top Box standard today. It is one of the milestones that we have reached in the broadcasting digital migration process.
Thank Chairperson of the SA Bureau of Standards, Bahle Sibisi and your team.
The standard is the latest demonstration of this government’s commitment to ensuring that the digital migration process starts later this year.
The launch of the standard also helps us to answer the question that many people have been asking about our ability to meet the targets for delivering Digital Terrestrial Television. My answer is that we are on track.
Through this standard, we are inviting local manufactures to be innovative, within this framework, to deliver decoders that will improve the television experience of our citizens.
We have always insisted that we want our products to compete with the best in the world.
Other milestones of this conference include the initiation of the process to close the gap between policy development and input from stakeholders, particularly SMEs and business.
At the plenary and at the Inter Ministerial meetings, we have identified the regulatory bottlenecks that we need to eliminate if we are to extract the maximum benefit from the use of technology to improve the quality of life of poor people in the developing world.
Harmonising ICT policies and regulations in the continent is the first step in encouraging innovation that will boost the economy and benefit the poor and SMEs.
As we march towards achieving a prosperous information society and knowledge economy, we need to be mindful of the challenges that could derail our efforts.
Two such challenges are cybercrime and the high cost to communication in the continent.
Access to broadband is meaningless if it is not affordable to the majority who are willing to use it.
We are concerned about the high cost to communication, in particularly international roaming costs.
We need to find ways to lower these costs because they can hinder development.
Industries such as Business Process Outsourcing can flourish in the continent if we work hard to create an enabling market environment for it.
Later today or tomorrow, we shall issue a Statement of Intent from the ministers who have gathered here over the past two and a half days.
That statement will elaborate on the points I have made and all other areas we have discussed.