The department of telecommunications & postal services will on Friday launch the National ICT Forum.
The forum, which will take place at Emperors Palace, will for the first time bring together leaders from government, industry, trade unions and civil society “to engage on critical issues of mutual interest” in South Africa’s information and communications technology sector.
The forum has its genesis in the ANC’s Mangaung resolutions and is over two years in the making.
This is the first time government will convene an all-encompassing gathering that will include the telecoms, broadcasting and IT sectors.
Provincial and municipal governments will also be included.
Telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele is currently visiting broadband pilot sites announced by President Jacob Zuma in the state of the nation address in February. This is expected to be a discussion point at the first meeting.
In the past, government has interacted with industry bodies on an individual basis, rather than meeting with roleplayers broadly.
The forum aims to coordinate government and private sector initiatives on a variety of issues, including the roll-out of e-skills and better utilisation of state funds.
Government wants to ensure firstly that citizens are able to access government services online. It also aims to turn citizens from merely consumers of ICT products to developers of applications and technology.
Broadband roll-out is one of the areas identified in the National Development Plan that is essential to building an information society and knowledge economy and is one of the issues to be raised at the conference. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media