SA Connect, the nation’s plan to roll out broadband connectivity to 90% of the population by 2020, needs its “SA Post Office” moment if it is to succeed.
This is according to the DA’s Marian Shinn, who said the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, and his department failed to attend a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on the progress of the project on 27 January.
“[This] indicates that they have been defeated by the scale of managing this massive programme,” said Shinn.
“The politically-brave move last year to appoint Mark Barnes from the private sector to rescue the South African Post Office must be copied here.”
Shinn said the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services failed to meet 21 of its 29 targets in 2014/15, and does not have the expertise, capacity, or management skills required for SA Connect.
In the 2015 Budget, National Treasury allocated R739 million over the Medium Term Economic Framework for SA Connect.
“There has been no clarity on how the R739 million was to be spent,” said Shinn, adding that Telkom was announced as the lead agency for SA Connect.