The department of telecommunications and postal services has published a comprehensive discussion and options paper setting out the policy options for developing South Africa’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry.
“The gazetting of the national integrated ICT policy options paper is the latest milestone in the department’s implementation of the National Development Plan, which envisages that a new policy framework will be needed to realise the vision of a fully connected society,” said telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele.
“We need to ensure that the ICT sector contributes in the radical transformation of our country by contributing to the achievement of 5% economic growth and modernising the way government delivers services and how citizens access these services.”
The gazetting of the paper also marks the last consultative stage before the submission of final recommendations to government and the tabling of the draft white paper, a policy position statement of government before legislation is enacted.
The policy review process started in 2012 under former communications minister Dina Pule.
A framing paper was issued in April 2013 and a green paper in January 2014. The new discussion paper discusses inputs from the green paper responses received from the individuals, companies, advocacy groups and government, the telecoms department said. Consultations were done in all nine provinces and meetings were held with industry stakeholders and four intergovernmental meetings were convened.
In an introduction to the discussion and options papers, the telecoms department said the National Development Plan, adopted in 2012, is “in many ways the foundation of the ICT policy review process”.
The policy review is not happening in isolation from other policy developments such as the national broadband policy, called South Africa Connect, which was adopted last year, the department said.
“The ICT policy and new white paper will reinforce and extend the objectives set in this broadband plan. The policy process also recognises that the environment is changing rapidly and that policy interventions will need to be continuously assessed against the objectives set. It is thus being developed with a 2030 vision but a focus on the next five years.” — © 2014 NewsCentral Media
- The national integrated ICT policy review process option paper is available on the telecoms department’s website