As the 2014 national elections draw closer, the race is on between parties to spread their manifesto‘s and encourage people to vote for them.
This year, however, many parties are hammering on about telecommunications, digital prowess and everything internet – perhaps more so than previous years.
With the need for better, cheaper and more reliable internet getting bigger across the country, various parties are promising improvements in this sector, should they get your vote.
The ANC has also come to the party on this note, and promised their supporters (and of course the rest of South Africa) significant improvements in this area.
On Saturday, the ANC revealed their 2014 election manifesto to a rather large crowd at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
The man himself, president Jacob Zuma, addressed the crowd and, while making promises about the usual, compulsory things like job creation and education, JZ also revealed the ANC‘s plan to better internet in the country.
By expanding access to the country‘s ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) infrastructure, JZ and his friends hope that this will have a positive effect on education as well as the rapidly grown African informations market.
And just how do they plan on doing so? Well, firstly, they want to introduce a new, comprehensive plan to expand broadband access throughout South Africa, while also reducing the cost of communication.
This is a tough one to crack; with the price of Internet in South Africa already being sky high, surely improving the broadband speed and access would result in price hikes? However, if they manage to come up with a plan to do so, they can go right ahead.
Free WiFi. This term has been thrown around back and forth by many companies as well as the government over the past few months. The ANC said that they will support and develop free WiFi in cities, town and rural areas.
No doubt a great initiative, yet surely healthcare and other basic needs should be satisfied first, before they start rolling in free internet.
Linking in with the eternal issue of education in this country, the manifesto revealed the ANC‘s plans to connect all schools, public health and other government facilities through broadband by 2020.
Also within 6 years, the ANC promises to have at least 90% of communities connected with super fast (yes, they actually used the term “˜super fast‘) broadband.
This one we‘re not really holding our breath for. Six years might seem like a long time, but having to connect a mammoth amount of schools and other government-run facilities by 2020 would be a feat on its own.
The ANC also promised a helping hand to entrepreneurs in the local electronic industry. They plan to stimulate these entrepreneurs as part of their effort to support the manufacturing industry.
While their plans for tech and digital development look good on paper, it will, as always, be a case of actions speaking louder than words.
Is this yet another talk talk talk but no action plan? Will South Africa be able to stand tall with the rest of the digital world come 2020? Tell us what you think!