ACTING DIRECTOR-GENERAL DONALA LIPHOKO OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS AT THE DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION STAKEHOLDER MEETING
6 November 2014
Honourable Minister, Faith Muthambi
Ladies and gentlemen,
A very good morning to you, the critical stakeholders of Digital Terrestrial Television.
In setting the scene for today‟s important engagement which will see a roadmap for taking South Africa forward into an Information Society it is important for us not to lose sight of the bigger story we are forging with DTT. How is this process contributing to our 20 Years of Freedom story? our commitments to Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan and what legacy are we planning to leave ?
Today‟s engagement is a culmination of various stakeholder interactions led by the Honourable Minister Faith Muthambi. We are fortunate that such political will is behind the important work that we are undertaking.
The Honourable Minister has invested her time and energy to ensure that in just over eighteen months we can look back at today as a turning point in taking our country into the Information Age and setting South Africans on the path towards a better life.
Our work here gives effect to the Constitution which compels us to create the conditions in this digital age that will improve the quality of life of all South Africans and enable each person to reach their full potential.
In line with our Constitution obligation, government must provide all South Africans with information about its policies and activities to ensure their effective participation in our democracy
Even as far back as the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) there was recognition that it is not possible to have development without mass involvement. And by extension it is not possible to have mass involvement without information: an informed citizenry is a citizenry that can actively participate in changing its life for the better.
Ladies and gentleman
Our deliberations here today and the work of the DTT project team give expression to South Africa‟s Vision in the National Development Plan (NDP) of a “seamless information infrastructure by 2030 that will underpin a dynamic and connected vibrant information society and a knowledge economy that is more inclusive, equitable and prosperous.”
This information infrastructure forms part of an ecosystem of digital networks, services, applications, content and devices. The NDP refers to this ecosystem as being “firmly integrated into the economic and social fabric of the country.”
The aim is to provide an “enabling platform for economic enterprise, active citizenship and social engagement and innovation.
Digital television is an important technological development to bridge the divide between the „connected‟ and „unconnected‟. It offers us the opportunity to realise our vision of ensuring a people centred and inclusive information society.
It will connect public administration to the active citizen; promote economic growth, development and competitiveness; drive the creation of decent work.
It also foster a greater exchange of cultural information and a deeper understanding of each other, assisting in our goals of nation-building and strengthen social cohesion; and support local, national and regional integration.”
The task at hand may seem overwhelming. However, working together to move South Africa forward we can ensure that our country is not left behind in the digital revolution and our prospects of economic growth, development and job-creation from this initiative is not compromised.
Our work here is clear, we cannot allow the digital divide between us and other countries to increase. We cannot allow the digital divide between the connected and unconnected or the haves and the have-nots to increase, so increasing the social inequalities in our country.
Our Constitution places an emphasis on the need for „development communication‟. Underscoring the need for content that empowers people with information about their rights and obligations as citizens; that informs them about socio-economic programs and opportunities and how to access them.
We live in an age when governments need to do more than simply introduce legislation to enact their policies. Successful government involves both persuading the public and professionals communities of the need for legislation and engaging them in the process of developing laws and processes that will deliver the agreed policy aim.
No single player can ensure the success of the transition to DTT, the only way that we can ensure that our digital ecosystem works is for all stakeholders to Work Together to Take South Africa Forward.
Issued by: Department of Communications