Minister of Communications reflects on the first 100 days of his term


Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni (Image source: Twitter).

Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) Khumbudzo Ntshavheni highlighted the completion of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) framework for South Africa as one of the department’s achievements during its first 100 days in office.

Speaking in a video clip broadcast by the DCDT, the Minister highlighted several steps taken by her ministry since taking office on August 6, 2021.

She replaced Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was sent to the Small Business Development Department after serving at DCDT since her appointment in November 2018.

According to Ntshavheni, the AI ​​framework for South Africa was completed as part of the AI ​​for Africa master plan, which aims to ensure that all African countries build their national capacities and capacities through the box. generic AI tools to solve current state problems and challenges.

He proposes that the African continent establish regional centers of excellence for AI specializing in different areas of AI to ensure strong focus and collaboration, which would foster the necessary cooperation, among other goals.

She referred to other achievements, including: accelerating the digital migration process, launching the Digitech – SA online marketplace for locally produced digital solutions and completing the revised SA Connect implementation plan.

“We have completed the AI ​​action plan for Africa, through the Smart Africa Alliance. And thanks to this, we have also completed the AI ​​framework for South Africa, which will allow us to launch the AI ​​Hub which will expand across the various higher education institutions, but anchored to the ‘University of Johannesburg,’ she explained.

The AI ​​hub will also serve as an innovation think tank to assess and recommend projects to collaborate on, in line with Agenda 2063 which seeks to promote cutting-edge research in AI, among other emerging technologies.

“Africa cannot afford to be left behind in the economic development opportunities brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution – cloud platforms and digital technologies such as quantum computing, machine learning, l AI, cybersecurity and related technologies have great potential to increase the production of raw materials which abound in Africa and exceed the continent’s key productions.

100 days – achievements

  • Accelerated digital migration

DCDT reactivated and deactivated the Northern Cape, Free State and North West analog transmitters. The last analog transmitter was turned off in November to make way for the continued implementation of the digital migration process, Ntshavheni notes.

In October, Ntshavheni presented SA’s new accelerated digital migration approach to Cabinet and outlined the government’s plan on how the country will cover the ground lost in the transition from analog to digital transmission in all areas from here. March 2022.

In November, the department announced Digitech, an online platform showcasing South African technologies. The online marketplace will list the products of South African companies, including SMEs and entrepreneurs.

Ntshavheni says the DCDT played a key role in stabilizing the route to introduce the provisional spectrum by March 31. In November, the minister endorsed the spectrum plans of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, supporting the decision and the deadlines set for telecom operators to request spectrum.

The high-demand spectrum is expected to meet government social obligations that will allow telecommunications operators to connect more than 18,000 schools, more than 3,000 clinics, more than 1,000 hospitals and more than 8,000 traditional authority offices and centers, according to The Minister.

However, the auction process has stalled again, after Telkom filed a petition asking the Gauteng High Court to review and rescind the invitations to apply for spectrum issued by ICASA on December 10, 2021. .

  • SA Connect revised strategy

Over the past three months, DCDT completed the review of the SA Connect implementation strategy, which aims to ensure that all citizens have access to internet connectivity over the next 36 months.

The initiative was first announced in 2013 to meet the technological goals of the National Development Plan aimed at creating an inclusive information society.

Due to the scale of the project, the government has determined that it should be implemented in two stages: the first and the second.

DCDT has completed a plan to refurbish and distribute laptops and tablets to learners in public schools, starting with grade 12 learners in 2022.

This renovation will be done by hiring unemployed graduates in order to offer them a job, while ensuring the dissemination of the initiative throughout the territory.

SA’s education system is undergoing a digital overhaul, as the government seeks to equip every schoolchild with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet by 2026.


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