South Africa’s National Treasury released its 2013 budget recently, revealing that the Department of Communications (DoC) met its “percentage of broadband penetration per year” target of 7%. However, this figure is curiously high.
In the Treasury’s medium term budget policy statement for communications released in October 2012, the report stated that the DoC achieved 0% (zero percent) of its 7% target for the “percentage of broadband penetration per year”.
The treasury explained that the lack of achievement in broadband penetration within the first six months of the financial year is due to delays in finalising the national broadband strategy.
Fast forward six months, and the target has been met. This was achieved without any significant intervention and developments in the local broadband market.
What is even more curious is that this target was achieved despite the fact that the national broadband strategy is still not finished.
In the 2013 communications budget the National Treasury said that “funding for broadband is placed on hold to allow more work to be done on the broadband strategy and subsequent implementation plan.”
According to the Treasury, the DoC is still busy with the development of a broadband master plan, which will be ‘developed and implemented’ by March 2014.
So with broadband funding being withheld, and the broadband master plan still under development, how did the Department of Communications achieve its 7% annual target within six months?
|2012/2013 Mid-year performance status||Projected for 2012/13 as published in the 2012 ENE||Achieved in the first six months of 2012/13 (April to September)|
|Percentage of broadband penetration per year||7%||0%|
|Percentage of broadband penetration per year||Unknown||2%||Unknown||7%||10%||15%||Unknown|
DoC to be interrogated about broadband figures
“In the year since I’ve been in the communications portfolio I have concluded that the department is focused on non-crucial issues and is rudderless – failing to meet its targets and spend its budget,” said Shinn.
Shinn added that the DoC is due to present its strategic plan, third quarter (2011/13) report and its strategic plan for 2013/14 to parliament’s portfolio committee on March 19, and they will be interrogated on these figures then.
MyBroadband asked the Department of Communications for details about the “percentage of broadband penetration per year” target, but they could not immediately explain the figures.
The DoC promised to provide details about the curious broadband figures on Thursday 28 February, but no feedback was received by the time of publication.