Monday, February 15, 2010

South Africa - Zuma fails in ICT plans

[itweb] While president Jacob Zuma spoke of the future of troubled Eskom, the fate of state-owned enterprises, Sentech and Broadband Infraco, is still murky as he failed to acknowledge the role they play in development.

The president, in his second state of the nation address yesterday, spelt out his plans for the future of the country's power utility. He stated that, as Eskom continues to build additional generation capacity and improve the maintenance of its power stations, government would introduce independent power producers to protect the poor from rising electricity prices.

Zuma also promised reductions in broadband, cellphone, landline and public phone rates. However, he failed to provide any insight into government's plans and the role major entities, such as Sentech, Broadband Infraco and the State IT Agency (SITA) would play.

While the president's mention of ICT in his speech was seen as a good step, industry players note that the president's omission reveals major questions plaguing the industry.

Motse Mfuleni, secretary general of the Black IT Forum, says the president's failure to mention Sentech and SITA reveals gaps in government policies on service delivery and unequal approaches to underperforming units.

“Companies such as Sentech and SITA are key enablers for service delivery. Government must make reference to ICT as an enabler of its focus areas and acknowledge that it forms part of its priority areas,” says Mfuleni.

Analyst at Africa Analysis Dobek Pater notes that the address didn't say anything new and there was no clarification on the role of the troubled Sentech and the part Broadband Infraco would play in service delivery.

Zuma fails in ICT plans

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