South Africa’s National Treasury released its medium-term budget policy statement today, showing that the Department of Communications (DoC) performed abysmally when it comes to ICT job creation and broadband penetration rates.
According to the National Treasury, the DoC only created 150 jobs through ICT related projects by mid-2012/13, against the annual target of 17,322.
This means that the DoC only met 0.9% of its annual ICT jobs target in the first six months of the 2012/2013 financial year – which means that the department will need to increase its performance by 11,000% (eleven thousand percent) to meet its ICT jobs target.
The Treasury explained that funds for ICT projects for job creation were “re-prioritised away from these projects towards other spending pressures within the department”.
The National Treasury further indicated that the communications department made no progress on meeting its broadband penetration targets.
According to the treasury’s report 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.
“The Department is currently reviewing the broadband policy in consultation with all related industry stakeholders,” the treasury said.
“Similarly, no ICT SMME Hubs have been created in the provinces due primarily to human resource capacity constraints.”
The poor performance in ICT job creation and increasing broadband penetration rates is not where it stops.
The Treasury’s report on communications further highlighted that no e-cooperatives were established within the first half of the year, which would have increased the entry of youth owned small enterprises into the ICT sector.
This failure, the Treasury stated, was due to re-prioritisation within the communications department.
No community radio stations were provided with broadcasting infrastructure to date, caused by a delay in tender documents.
“There is a dispute regarding performance and payment for the services in terms of the contract between service providers and the Department for work done on Community Radio Stations,” the Treasury said.
The DoC has achieved 60 per cent household coverage of digital television transmission infrastructure thus far.
“Sentech has experienced project delays in rolling out infrastructure as a result of the Minister of Communications’ announcement of the adoption of the DVBT2 technology as this meant that Sentech had to first upgrade the already rolled out infrastructure before they could continue with new infrastructure rollouts,” the Treasury report stated.
“The Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project rollout programme is being accelerated to be ready for the full switch-on by December 2013.”
The Treasury said that the rand reduction in per minute cost of mobile phones and fixed phones per year has been successfully achieved as set out in the call termination rates regulations.
“This reduction relates to interconnection rates, which are the fees the mobile operators charge each other and other network operators to carry calls onto their networks.”