Apartheid blocked Internet in SA: Zuma

The South African Presidency launched its Twenty Year Review at an event in Pretoria on Tuesday, 11 March 2014.

In it, the Presidency claimed that massive advancements in telecommunications in South Africa only happened thanks to the end of apartheid.

The document credited the former regime with setting up broadcast, postal, and fixed-line telephone infrastructure, but added that these lagged behind global advancements in telecommunications in many respects. They were also mainly focused on the minority, the document said.

“While the rest of the world had been enjoying television for decades, South Africa only began limited television services (mainly for a white audience) in the mid–1970s,” the review argued.

“Widespread home satellite systems, internet services and mobile cellular telephony only became a reality with the advent of democracy and the end of the apartheid security state.”

The document goes on to provide a broad overview of how the telecommunications landscape changed in South Africa over the past 20 years, after which it argues for stronger regulation of the information and communication technology sector.

“Despite rapid post-apartheid modernisation and high levels of private-sector participation and investment, the cost of communications in South Africa remains above world averages, while digital speeds and service offerings have remained relatively low,” the Twenty Year Review stated.

“To address this, regulation of this sector needs to be strengthened, while maintaining the appetite for investment, continued modernisation and greater access to information and communication services for historically marginalised communities.”

President Jacob Zuma speaks at the release of South Africa's 20 year review document at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, Tuesday, 11 March 2014. Zuma said the review was government's "factual and frank" account of how South Africa had fared since 1994. "The review is packed with facts and figures, it is honest and frank in its approach. Where facts indicate that we have challenges and we have made mistakes we say so," said Zuma. "It is government's most accurate account of work done in the past 20 years... it is about progress made and work that still needs to be done to move South Africa forward." Picture: GCIS/SAPA
President Jacob Zuma speaks at the release of South Africa’s 20 year review document at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, Tuesday, 11 March 2014. Zuma said the review was government’s “factual and frank” account of how South Africa had fared since 1994. “The review is packed with facts and figures, it is honest and frank in its approach. Where facts indicate that we have challenges and we have made mistakes we say so,” said Zuma. “It is government’s most accurate account of work done in the past 20 years… it is about progress made and work that still needs to be done to move South Africa forward.” Picture: GCIS/SAPA

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Apartheid blocked Internet in SA: Zuma