According to minister for the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Service (DTPS), Siyabonga Cwele, the R720 million which has been allocated to the SA Connect initiative will not be enough to deliver the necessary broadband services.
SA Connect has been tasked with providing internet connectivity to all schools, health facilities, government offices, Thusong Centres, and post offices in eight municipal districts.
“There is a need for the eradication of all duplications and the use of all available resources to deliver on our collective goals through the shifting of resources to enable e-government and ensure the training of staff.
“As an example, the money that was used for textbooks needs to be reallocated as we will now have e-books, tablets and Internet connectivity. We hope the NCOP will work with us and monitor the provinces in terms of this reprioritisation of resources,” said Cwele, speaking at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) policy debate
“The roll-out of South Africa Connect, the country’s broadband plan, is aimed at rolling out ICT infrastructure, services and skills to ensure we can use technology to improve the quality of services delivery. The largest broadband infrastructure gaps are in rural areas.”
SA Connect is the first step in the Government’s plan to provide ubiquitous connectivity by 2020. In February, President Jacob Zuma announced Telkom would be the lead agent for the project due to their extensive broadband infrastructure
“We are in the process to establish the governance structure on the rules of engagement between the department and Telkom, and how the delivery of these services is monitored, so that we can demonstrate value for money. This is a project of national importance which we cannot afford to delay,” said Cwele.