Resolutions of the ANC's 53rd National Conference, Mangaung, December 16-20 2012
7. COMMUNICATIONS AND THE BATTLE OF IDEAS
1. The serious advances made by the ANC, the Alliance and democratic formations in transforming South Africa into a non- racial and non-sexist democratic society.
2. The real advances that have been made by the NDR to change the lives of the people of our country for the better through focussed service delivery that impacts on real people's lives in areas like health, education, rural development, access to amenities and general services.
3. The democratic conditions that have been created to deepen peoples" participatory democracy, access to regular government activities and information.
4. Despite all these the battle of ideas is being waged between the theoretical and practical underpinnings of the democratic developmental state and neo liberal paradigm.
5. This ideological battle is being waged mainly through the market forces which seek to dislodge the democratic forces as the drivers of change and to substitute the objectives of the NDR with a neo-liberal market driven paradigm.
6. The Democratic forces need to assert hegemony, propagate and popularise our ideas of transforming South Africa into a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.
The on-going problem facing South African society is that the media and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) reflect patterns of ownership, control and distribution of the past.
7. There is a need to focus on redressing and correcting past discriminatory practices as well as provide firm foundation in policy for a communications sector that embraces all South Africans and treats them equitably.
8. The greatest source of negative portrayal of ANC is misconduct and public ill discipline of ANC members and the use of the media and other platforms to advance their personal and factional interests.
9. The hegemony of the ANC and the democratic forces in the battle of idea is central to the advancement of the National Democratic Revolution. The ANC must operate in a coordinated and disciplined manner to set the agenda in the battle of ideas. Our interventions must be informed by the ANC Strategic and Tactics, and Organizational Renewal.
10. The war of ideas must be fought like a real war therefore there must be strict coordination of content and messages between all structures of the organisation.
The advent of community and public media offers an additional potentially progressive opportunity for the ANC, depending on the ability to influence this media and provide it with adequate support.
11. There should be an increased participation of all ANC cadres in public debates on political and ideological matters and comrades should be trained on how to respond effectively to the growing onslaught against the movement in all media.
12. ANC Political education syllabus should be inclusive of media training, research and ICT literacy, and be part of developing young and future communicators. The ANC must develop means through which it communicates beyond its membership 51 base to reach constituencies outside the ANC. It must urgently increase the use of ICTs for organizational work and effective communication with its structures, communities and society as a whole.
13. A National Dialogue is needed to reignite and deepen the battle of ideas to, amongst others, achieve the following:
■ Reassert the position of the ANC as a progressive leader of society
■ Forge unity for accelerated transformation; and
■ Intensify interaction with broader society.
14. To strengthen the information sharing exercise, no edition of ANC Today, Umrabulo and other publications should go on publication without an article from an ANC government executive (a minister, provincial minister and mayor) highlighting their department's programme, progress and achievement with regard to the implementation of the ANC's programme of action in government. This must be mandatory.
ON ANC INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
15. There is a need for an effective and efficient internal ANC communication system as a tool for organisational management, internal democracy and discourse within the ANC. The engagement on the issues of communications remains an important part of the ANC organisational strategy.
16. The assessment of the membership system indicates that there are a number of challenges in the ‘membership system value chain' that can be classified as information systems and technology problems.
17. That the 51st National Conference Resolution, reaffirmed by the subsequent national conference and national general councils, called for all ANC regional offices and branches to be connected to the internet, so as to aid internal communications and improve efficiency.
18. The advent of ICTs offers an opportunity for the ANC to improve its internal communications processes throughout the organization. There is a need for an integrated strategy for the use of ICTs to improve ANC's ability to communicate, administer its processes and ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.
19. The ANC should promote usage and universal access to information and communication technologies amongst ANC members and the citizenry to:
a) advocate for and monitor the achievement of universal access to ICTs, issues of affordability and expansion of broadband, through its organisational structures and government.
b) ensure that its members are encouraged to understand the advantages of ICTs, and that they empower themselves through attaining e-skills.
c) encourage branches to use ICT in communicating with individual members, including bulk SMS and sending emails on branch and regional activities. In addition the ANC website should be used to communicate with members and the public.
d) develop and expand use of social media to engage with especially younger members.
20. The NEC should develop an ANC internal ICT policy and strategy to drive the ANC's administrative and political systems. The said ICT policy and strategy must encompass the overall training of ANC staff and leaders at all levels of the organisation to develop capacity to service the administration and management of the organisation including membership management.
21. Consistent with the decision of the 51st Conference all ANC provincial offices must have internet access with high speed connectivity. This should include provincial websites linked to the ANC home page.
"One branch, one connected office by 2015", to give effect to the 3rd NGC campaign and programme.
22. The ANC should build a unified ICT capacity to enable it to engage with all its members using latest technologies. It should ensure availability of ANC content using traditional and modern platforms to reach ANC members and broader society on a 24/7 basis.
23. All ANC regions should be connected to high-speed ICT services by 2020. The national and provincial offices in the allocation of communication resources must prioritise branches. This should include access to fax-to-mail, and/or faxes, photocopiers, printers, internet and email.
Each ANC branch must have a permanent email linked to the ANC domain (that is www.anc.org.za) 24. The ANC should improve the membership system, learning from other institutions that also have mass membership systems, including:
a) Creating a secure online system for applying and paying for membership, as an option for those who have internet access.
b) A secure SMS based system for applying for and paying for membership as an option for those who have mobile access.
c) improved security of ANC membership system and databases to make them less open to manipulation, and consider the use of biometric technology.
25. There should be a political champion to drive the ANC ICT policy and strategy including overseeing the implementation. The proper authority regarding the IT systems should champion the roll out and connectivity of ANC regions and branches, to develop and strengthen ICT platforms, manage membership system, including managing all conference registrations, and the like.
26. The NEC should develop social media policy to guide members conduct in the use of social media.
ON GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS
27. The great strides made by government to communicate with citizens in a transparent and accountable manner through a whole range of mechanisms including quarterly and annual reports, parliamentary programmes, regular cabinet briefings, online publications etc.
28. The Government's ability to communicate with citizens is critical in the delivery of services, deepening democracy and the ability of citizens to interact with government. The weakness of government communications is amongst other factors behind the ideological onslaught, misinformation and the general lack of awareness on the progress achieved since the advent of democracy.
29. The ANC's communication machinery and effectiveness as the ruling party is as strong as the ANC government's communication machinery and effectiveness.
30. The need to enhance Government communication in order to be accountable, influence and set the agenda of public discourse.
31. Whereas weaknesses have been identified in government communications, the media continues to have a propensity to publish mainly negative news on government disregarding the good service delivery record of government. The media continues to distort and ignore information provided by government in a transparent and accountable manner.
32. That access to government communications is important to a well-functioning democracy and only when citizens are informed about government policies and programmes can take part in the improvement of their lives. There is a need for a pro-active and coordinated government communication platform that enables the three tiers of government to communicate effectively.
33. Government is one of the biggest advertising spenders. All spheres of government should advertise in the community and small commercial media that produce media in the languages spoken by communities, to assist with media transformation and diversity, and the sustenance and growth of these media.
34. Government's ability and capacity to communicate in a coordinated manner across the 3 spheres of government, and within the 3 spheres needs urgent attention, and ggovernment needs to investigate possible options of unmediated government communication systems like bulk SMS and sending emails, in view of the advent of digitisation and new media.
35. Government's ability to communicate with the different segments and strata of South African society needs to be enhanced.
Government's work must be made visible and relate to ordinary South Africans. Media sensationalism must be tempered with concrete examples of government at work delivering services.
Therefore resolve that the NEC should ensure that:
36. The ANC need to establish a coherent framework and an institutional arrangement that enhances collaboration, effective planning and oversight within the ANC and government communication.
37. The ANC and government need to strengthen other effective communication methods to reach targeted communities like using community broadcasting and public broadcasting services (radio and print) to highlight government service delivery in the battle of ideas. The executives (Cabinet, MECs, Councillors) should champion communication and dissemination of government information.
38. Government communication should reach all citizens and be in all languages.
39. Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) should be strengthened in order to coordinate information flow among different departments and among all three spheres of government (national, provincial and local).
40. The local government communication should be strengthened through enhanced training programmes. The GCIS should further offer communication support to parastatals and other state agencies in order to properly profile work of these institutions.
41. Government should encourage and enforce compliance with Codes of Good Practice in procuring services from the media.
Government advertising must be used to drive efficiencies and transform the media industry. Government must diversify its adspent to empower community, emerging commercial and public media.
42. Government must review the implementation of the COMTASK Recommendations including responding to challenges of government communications, agenda setting, empowerment of the citizenry with government information in order for the people to be their own liberators including supporting efforts to favourable position our country as a preferred destination for foreign direct investment and tourism must be reviewed.
43. Government must review the effectiveness of government communications including:
vision, structure and co-ordination. It must also increase financial, human and other resources within all spheres of government and further invest in the expansion of its communication platforms.
ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
44. Over the last three decades, the world has experienced an unprecedented social and economic revolution driven by the advent of high-speed Internet networks or information and communication technologies (ICTs) capable of transmitting huge chunks of information across borders.
45. This revolution, known as the information society, has fundamentally transformed the way people live and relate to one another and their societies. This has made the world a much smaller place, in which individuals can access information and services from anywhere they are in the world.
46. As globalisation intensifies, driven by ICTs, it has also sharpened inequalities between and within communities. It has produced winners and losers. South Africa is by no means an exception to the rising tide of inequality between the haves and have-nots.
47. Since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa has made significant strides to facilitate the transformation of the ICT industry. Meanwhile, in recent years South Africa has lagged behind in a number of key global ICT indicators, especially on universal access to the internet, broadcasting and e-governance.
48. Although government has made advancements through Codes and the reform of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework (PPPFA), Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy, the transformation of the ICT sector remains weak due to some contradictions in underlying statutes.
49. Despite the consistent growth of the ICT market pattern or owners and participation by Black owned and emerging companies is minimal and requires support from government to speed up the pace of transformation.
50. There should be local manufacturing of ICT products for domestic and exports and government ICT procurement should benefit South African companies including SMMEs.
51. There are several reasons for current state of the ICT sector in the country and these include:
a) The lack of a comprehensive National ICT Policy, leading to overlaps and competition within government.
b) Institutional misalignment and limited accountability.
c) Limited e-skills within the state and society as a whole.
d) High turnover, and corporate governance challenges in the key institutions and relevant departments.
e) Inadequate funding of projects aimed at promoting universal service and access.
f) Failure by the policy and regulatory institutions to enforce compliance with the law.
g) Limited and misaligned research and development.
h) Policies are not based on evidence, hence they keeping on changing even before the results can be realised; and i) Failure to implement some of the decisions of the previous ANC conferences and the National General Council.
52. ICT is a critical enabler of economic activity in an increasingly networked world. It is critical for South Africa to remain globally competitive. The sector needs long-term policy certainty to be in a position to take the country into the next trajectory. This applies to entities in which the state owns shares such as Telkom. Conference directs government to develop a strategy to ensure that we derive maximum value from the competencies that lie within these entities.
53. Our drive towards a new vision of the ICT sector, in the context of the National Development Plan (NDP) should seek to provide a long-term approach to addressing these challenges.
54. The National Development Plan (NDP) in respect to ICT should be underpinned by a policy focus and desire to ensure universal access to affordable and quality high-speed infrastructure and services throughout the country.
55. To provide a detailed sectoral plan to strengthen the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) in order to maximise the value of the development of the ICT, and to also accelerate the uptake and usage of the ICT tools, the ANC must create a coherent and co-ordinated National Policy Framework and Strategy on ICTs.
56. The National ICT Policy should:
i. promote the provision of universal access to high speed, quality and affordable networks and services to ensure that government, communities; business and all our people become part of the Information Superhighway and the knowledge economy.
ii. inform the deployment of ICTs across the country - national, provincial and local infrastructure. It should also outline the different roles of the state, private and community sectors in achieving this goal.
iii. align uptake and usage of the development of indigenous knowledge systems and the revival of the local content industry.
iv. inform regulatory interventions to ensure a world-class digital infrastructure connecting business centres and households in all areas of the country including in rural areas.
v. set out targets to increase population coverage of high speed Internet access to 100% by 2030. This means that by the determined period, every South African should be within the reach of the ICT infrastructure.
vi. provide for an institutional framework that enhances collaboration, effective planning and oversight.
vii. outline approaches to ICT uptake and usage to promote e-applications in e-government, health, education and fighting crime.
57. National Cyber Security Policy should be in place by 2014 to prevent the distribution of harmful and anti-social content.
58. The role of the ICT's in the Green economy should be a priority in the National ICT Policy.
59. There is a need for a review of the institutional framework of the ANC government and its ability to discharge its services timeously within the available resources. This review must ensure that the ICT interventions are coordinated across all spheres of government.
60. The ANC government should develop and enhance policy-making capacity. A National ICT Forum should be created comprising government and industry to engage on critical issues of mutual interest. Civil society should also be invited to participate in the Forum.
61. There must be a realignment of government shareholding in the various telecommunications entities involved in the sector. The following state institutions must be rationalised to address existing overlaps, duplication and undue competition within the state:
i. State Information and Technology Agency (SITA)
ii. Office of Chief Government Information Council (GITOC)
iii. Government Information and Technology Officers at provincial level
iv. Broadband Infraco and any other state owned entities in the ICT sector
vi. Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA)
vii. Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA)
viii. National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA)
ix. Meraka Institute
x. Media, Advertising, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA)
xi. Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M SETA)
xii. Film and Publication Board
62. The 3rd National General Council pronounced that e-skills should become a compulsory subject in all public schools to promote an e-literate society. The curriculum should focus on end-user-computing as well as encouraging young people to pursue careers in the ICT sector.
63. For South Africa to be a leader in the development, uptake and usage of ICTs, the country needs more skills than are currently available. The ANC government must also maintain a comprehensive database of the current skills as well as those that will be required in the medium to long term. This would require harmonisation and creation of synergies between public and private sector initiatives.
64. Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges should be used as schools of excellence to create opportunities for out of school and unemployed youth. A dedicated funding plan is needed to ensure that rural universities and FET colleges can contribute to the new e-skills revolution. The Skills Fund must prioritize the ICT skills development.
65. Media and ICT studies should also be made available in all provinces using existing tertiary institutions and Further Education and Training institutions (FETs). The two new universities must be dedicated to media and ICT studies and the Northern Cape University should be developed as a Centre of Excellence in ICT's building from the successful bid for the Square Kilometer Array.
66. Government must introduce comprehensive e-Skills Development Plan that would include incentives to mobile industry cooperation for the benefit of young people.
This must be in place by 2014.
67. Basic computer literacy should be introduced in all primary schools and a focus should be given also on advanced e skills including software, programming and end-user computing for tertiary institutions and FETs.
TRANSFORMATION OF THE INDUSTRY
68. The transformation of the ICT sector needs further attention in order to ensure that all our people participate in the sector.
69. There is a need to institute practical measures to drive transformation with milestones and measurable outcomes.
70. As part of the proposed National ICT Policy vision, the ANC should target completing the ICT sector transformation process by 2030. At the end of this period ownership and control of the sector should reflect national demographics including the increased role and participation of black people, women and persons with disabilities in the sector.
71. The ANC needs to prioritise the following interventions:
i. A review of the empowerment targets in all the ICT subsectors and elements of the ICT value chain by 2014. This review will consider whether such targets are appropriate, reasons why they have not been met - in instances where they have not been met - and what additional considerations should be given with regards to empowerment targets. The review would consider the regulatory and institutional structures overseeing the realisation of empowerment targets. To this end the regulatory capacity will be strengthened to ensure that Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is capable to set and enforce empowerment obligations on the industry.
ii. In accordance with a drive towards vision 2030, the ANC should ensure that the empowerment rules apply equally to all entities - big and small local and international/multinational.
The ANC should ensure that strong preference is given to new companies to access scarce radio frequency resources going forward.
iii. The review of the Broadcasting Policy by 2014 should be underpinned also by the policy desire to reduce barriers to entry, especially in the pay TV market. The new policy environment should be specific about areas that 57 constitute barriers to entry in the entire broadcasting value chain.
iv. It is ANC policy to support the convergence of technologies and services. However, the regulation of the ICT sector in the converged environment should not lead to the creation of consolidated vertical and horizontal monopolies or to abuse of dominance by the existing operators.
Competition rules and regulations dealing with opening the market to competition will be prioritised.
v. The Universal Service and Access Agency (USAASA) charged with promoting access and universal service in under-serviced areas should be reviewed after over ten (10) years of existence in order to redefine its focus towards increasing the uptake and usage of ICTs.
vi. A new state entity to provide funding to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), Co-operatives and other Not for Profit initiatives in the electronic communications, broadcasting and postal sector should be created out of the merger between USAASA and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) by 2014.
The contribution by the industry to the merged entity should be uncapped and should be accompanied by a coherent plan to expend the current allocation.
vii. The ANC should ensure that endeavours to resource ICASA in line with the decision of the 3rd National General Council should have commenced by the time of the National Policy Conference.
ICASA should be self-funding using licence fees, subject to Parliamentary procedures and oversight, by the beginning of 2013 financial year.
72. Licensing and use of the Radio Frequency Spectrum, which is a public asset, is another central pillar towards the creation of an industry that is responsive to the needs of all the people. In order to facilitate the diffusion of ICTs across society, licensing of the scarce radio frequency resources should be underpinned by the following factors:
i. Alignment of the spectrum allocation and licensing regime with the prevailing social and economic development context, while taking into consideration future needs.
ii. Equitable allocation of the frequency spectrum to new licences, including SMMEs, to reduce entry barriers iii. Requirements and obligations to achieve universal coverage. This should be linked to building regulatory capacity to enforce compliance with the law.
iv. Promote Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment at the minimum of 30% to 50% direct ownership and control of ICT and broadcasting, including the empowerment of women and youth development. This must be achieved by 2020.
73. To maximise the value of the scarce or high demand spectrum, government must set aside spectrum for the provisioning of wholesale services or open access network by the merged entity between Sentech and INFRACO.
74. This infrastructure must prioritise government services and provide modern communication services to government departments, municipalities, schools, hospitals, clinics, police stations, multipurpose community centres and courts to ensure that they are connected and can provide e-services to the people. Excess capacity should be geared to further connect rural areas to help achieve full access to high speed internet networks by 2030.
75. Government should provide capital to Greenfields operators starting business to provide amenities to under-serviced communities. These entities should also be entitled to a preferential interconnection (asymmetrical interconnection) rate and this should be mandatory.
76. The fact that South Africa does not design new innovations in the sector while a lot of money is pumped into the Science Councils is a serious missing link. For the country to position itself as an ICT hub for the continent, it requires high levels of research and development, and innovation, 58 to allow for all manner of new inventions and technologies to emerge.
High speed internet infrastructure and services
77. It is the responsibility of ANC government to maximise opportunities for all South Africans to benefit from the digital economy by laying firm foundations for digital infrastructure to reach all and sundry.
78. Access to digital infrastructure, or more specifically high-speed internet access, must be considered a basic utility for South Africans.
79. Informed by the National ICT Policy, ANC government must introduce a National Broadband Plan. The National Broadband Plan must be revised and reviewed to take into account the proposals herein. The Broadband Plan must provide for:
i. A world-class digital infrastructure connecting business centres, households in all areas of the country and people, particularly the poor, in the urban and rural areas is a prerequisite to the introduction of high speed access to modern digital means of communications, work and commerce.
ii. Affordable quality services that will ensure that the majority of South Africans have access to the internet platforms necessary for them to transact with each other, their government and the private sector.
80. To expedite the deployment of high quality services, the National Policy should explore the combination of various reliable technologies such as satellite, wireless, fibre and other emerging technologies. The wholesale services provided by the merged entity between Sentech and Infraco should use these technologies.
81. High demand spectrum that can be used to deliver high-speed services using emerging technologies should be prioritised for assignment to new entrants. This should also encourage the use of emerging technologies that are spectrum efficient to increase competition and provide value for consumers.
82. On regular basis government through its regulatory capacity must conduct a review of spectrum usage to determine usage and re-allocation of unused spectrum where necessary. A strengthened competition framework that also addresses the quality and affordability of broadband infrastructure and services should also find expression in the National Broadband Plan.
83. The National Policy should also deal with the security of the High Speed Internet Networks (cyber security) to ensure information security, including the protection of vulnerable sectors of society such as children. A national cyber security policy is needed without delay.
84. In the light of the drive towards the new policy vision, there is a need to accelerate the endeavour to define needy people in order to address the utility expectations of, amongst others, people with disabilities, children, rural and urban poor. The needy people, clearly defined, should benefit from special subsidies to access and use communication services.
85. Public finance through the fiscus and the Developmental Finance Institutions (DFIs) should be set aside to fund broadband rollout as a national priority. There should be clear complimentary interventions between the contribution of the fiscus, DFIs and the merged entity between USAASA and the MDDA subsidising needy people.
ON BROADCASTING INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
86. Various ANC Conference Resolutions and Policy documents capture the vision of a diverse South African broadcasting system - owned by the public, private and community sectors and reflective of the cultural, multilingual and demographic diversity and unity inherent in our society.
87. The ANC has consistently upheld the notion that broadcasting operates at two levels.
Firstly, it acts as a means to reflect the rich South African cultural heritage, provides voice to South Africans to participate in democratic dispensation as well as acting as an important platform for community involvement, education and entertainment.
Secondly, as part of the ICT industry, broadcasting is an important economic sector that sustains the South African creative industries.
88. Since the advent of democracy the ANC has been consistent in developing a policy environment that transforms the media sector to meet the broadcasting needs and wants of all the segments of the South African pollution. To this end television coverage has been extended to reach 92 percent of the population.
89. Radio coverage now reaches 95 percent of the population. All official South African languages are now reflected albeit in a limited manner on both television and radio.
The public broadcaster and an array of independent commercial operators provide radio and Television services. All District Municipalities are served by an array of geographic and community of interest stations.
90. The opportunities arising from the digitisation of broadcasting which has a potential to grow the sector through the provision of additional channels, including 24 hour news, sport, educational and all indigenous language programming.
91. That broadcasting plays a fundamental role in democratic expression, fostering of social cohesion, development, economic inclusion and the creation of a united and informed society.
92. Despite the achievements of the democratic dispensation, much still needs to be done to develop a broadcasting system that caters for all the needs of the South African population because of the inherent challenges facing the broadcasting system and the advent of digital terrestrial broadcasting. Some of the challenges requiring resolution include:
i. The public broadcasting system, beset by many structural, managerial and funding problems, needs to be restructured and repositioned to prioritise public service as opposed to the commercial focus that it has displayed.
ii. The 51st and 52nd ANC Conference resolutions on funding have not been implemented due in part to the failure to develop a public broadcasting model that is not reliant on commercial programming, failure to cost the mandate as well as different interpretations on the role of public broadcasting in government.
iii. The series of crises at the public broadcaster reflect a lack of leadership, lack of accountability and poor management. In confronting the crisis more emphasis has been placed on reporting processes without a corresponding attention to holding those responsible to account for the financial and organisational maladministration that has brought the public broadcasting institution to the crisis.
93. Such a situation has prevailed because institutional structures responsible for oversight have not been effective. There has also been an overlap in oversight roles enabling he public broadcaster to forum shop.
94. To review the current model of the public broadcasting system in order to ensure the emergence of public broadcasting that prioritises public service obligation, including education, health, rural development, reflection and development of all South African languages and cultures, information and democracy education and participation.
This review should be undertaken without delay and inform the evolution of public broadcasting system in the digital era and the resolutions of the current challenges facing South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the funding model.
95. The SABC must be restructured to prioritise public services in the digital age. As part of this process, the government must, in line with the resolutions of the 52nd conference, increase it's funding of the SABC. This must be implemented progressively over a reasonable period.
96. Government funding must be ring fenced to be targeted towards public programming such as indigenous languages, developmental and educational programming. In addition to government funding, the SABC requires a long-term sustainability strategy based on a people centred approach to public broadcasting.
97. Programming that is supporting education, health, poverty eradication, rural development, crime prevention and other societal priorities are miniscule compared to programming that is entertainment based. Budgets devoted to developmental programming are reflective of the miniscule programming output targeting the developmental agenda. This needs to be revised as a matter of urgency.
98. The public broadcasting system should not be allowed to lag behind the commercial sector in terms of technological innovations.
In this regard any future strategy of the SABC must position the broadcaster as a leader in the uptake and usage of new technologies including Mobile television and Internet Protocol television.
99. A stable corporate governance mechanism is required to provide long-term stability.
These include strengthening the SABC's accountability to parliament, shareholder (government) and the public. The public ownership of the SABC is central to its existence and sustainability.
100. Significant entry barriers remain in place in the pay commercial broadcasting sector.
Regulation of this sector to enforce effective competition has not produced the desired competition. There is a need to relook at the behaviour of dominant players, access to premium content including sports rights and access to critical infrastructure by the competitors in this sector to enable the entry of new Pay TV services during the migration process, and new Free to Air players after switch-over in 2015.
101. The commercial broadcasting sector is still dominated by foreign programming even though media consumption patterns have demonstrated beyond doubt the predominant preference of South African content. Local content quotas need to be reviewed for all tiers of broadcasting.
Raising the production levels and values of the South African content will in turn require collaboration by the various governmental entities that are active in the cultural creative industries space.
102. While broadcasting is delivered through ever changing technologies, it remains a content and cultural industry. In light of this strategic role of broadcasting, the current local content quotas at 55% for SABC 1 and SABC 2, 30% for eTV and SABC 3 and 10% for Pay TV services do not support our long term vision of a diverse South African broadcasting system - owned by the public, private and community sectors and reflective of the cultural, multi-lingual and demographic diversity and unity inherent in our society.
103. Compared to other countries such as Canada, Australia and Nigeria, South Africa has one of the lowest content obligations in the whole world. Many countries continue to impose foreign content and ownership limitations of the media. In its approach to this matter, the ANC maintains that the broadcasting policy review must prioritise national social and economic goals above private interests.
In addition, the broadcasting policy must also provide a strategy to fast track the local content development industry. The review of local content quotas must be aligned to this strategy.
104. Much still needs to be done to ensure that the community-broadcasting sector is reflective of the communities they serve in terms of directorship, management and programming. There is a need for concerted action to ensure a fair representation of women, the workers, and people with disabilities, children and the aged.
Programming offered by the community sector still need to be diversified to cater for the special needs of these strata while also contributing to community development and upliftment.
105. The capacity of ICASA to effectively regulate in the public interest still shows limitation occasioned by funding constraints, skills shortage and confusion on the means and ways of achieving effective regulation.
There is an overriding need to boost the capacity of the regulator to effective monitor the broadcasters in order to enforce licence conditions and regulations.
106. The analogue system of broadcasting must be switched off by 2015 and a digital terrestrial system should be built to replace it. This will require considerable funds to maintain the penetration levels that have been achieved to date. Given its immense public benefits, Digital terrestrial television (DTT) should be treated as a service with wider implications beyond the ICT sector and broadcasting.
107. The terrestrial digital way of distributing and accessing the television broadcasting services presents a fresh opportunity for South Africa to realise the policy ends that are defined in the broadcasting environment.
There is a need to review the broadcasting system and policy framework in its entirety before 2015, to identify the gaps and barriers that have prevented the realisation of some of the important goals as well as plan for new services. This should culminate in a new forward-looking broadcasting policy to coincide with switchover by 2015.
108. Government must ensure that such a review is open to participation by all segments of the South African population and outcomes informed by their needs. As such DTT should be present an opportunity to create a new industry that is owned and controlled by South Africans. The manufacture of Set- Top-Boxes (STBs) should be linked to a long-term vision to manufacture Integrated Digital TVs (IDTVs) for local and external markets. More emphasis needs to be placed on the inter-operability of STBs on both pay TV and free to air to address consumer and competition needs.
109. For government to promote a new manufacturing environment, the current tariffs should be reviewed, as they do not protect vulnerable industries. Digital broadcasting should be implemented as soon as possible in order to accelerate the release the of "digital dividend" spectrum. The International Telecommunication Union recognises that the Digital Dividend is to be allocated to new broadcasting services, wireless services, mobile broadband, public emergency and other services.
110. The broadcasting policy review should create a regulatory framework for satellite services up-linking in the country as well as those that uplink outside our borders. Appropriate public broadcasting obligations should also be imposed on commercial services, Pay TV and Free to Air Services (FTAs) to ensure that public frequencies benefit more than just the owners and operators.
111. There must be access to broadcasting, internet (voice, data and video) and telephone services.
112. To prioritise the broadcast content in all South African languages reflective of the indigenous cultures.
113. The local content quota should be increased to 60% in the public broadcaster and government should fund the public broadcasting programmes of the SABC.
114. Pornographic content should be regulated across all media platforms.
115. Sentech and SABC should remain in state hands in order to facilitate access to broadcasting services by all and corporate governance and human resources capacity at the SABC should be strengthened.
116. There is an urgent need for the establishment of a dedicated Youth Radio Station.
117. There should be an increase in funding for diversity in community newspaper, community radio stations and community TV stations.
62 ON PRINT MEDIA TRANSFORMATION, ACCOUNTABILITY AND DIVERSITY
118. In 1992, the ANC adopted a Media Charter that set out the organisation's commitment to the creation of an environment that promotes media diversity and media freedom.
Over the years, the ANC has successfully introduced legislation to promote and protect media freedom. At the same time, various interventions were introduced to promote media diversity. The later include the creation of the Media Development and Diversity Agency to support community media and small commercial media outlets.
119. The print sector is still dominated by four big players, namely Naspers, Avusa, Caxton and the foreign owned Independent Group.
These companies also dominate the entire value chain of the market especially printing, distribution and advertising. This integration and the very market structure is perhaps the biggest barrier to market entry and potentially shows possible anti-competitive behaviour. Other mainstream media players include the M&G Media and TNA Media.
There exist a number of small commercial print and community print media, who all face the challenge of sustainability.
120. Despite protestations and evident denial, the print media existed for many years as one of the pillars of the apartheid super structure providing rationale and intellectual support to apartheid system. Whatever progressive media fought for the democratisation of society was initiated and linked to mass democratic movement led by the ANC.
121. The print media continues to be a contested terrain that reflects the ideological battles and power relations based on race, class and gender in our society. It continues to position itself as the main determiner of the public agenda and opinion.
122. Recent reports from the Media Development and Diversity Agency and the Print Media of South Africa indicate that despite changes that have taken place since 1994, regrettably the facts are that the average black ownership in South Africa mainstream print media to date is 14% and women participation at Board and management levels is at the diminutive 4.44%.
123. The 52nd Conference resolution regarding the parliamentary inquiry on the desirability and feasibility of establishing an independent Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT) aimed at complementing and strengthening the existing self-regulatory system of print media.
124. That the proposed MAT was a direct response to the ineffectiveness and varied weaknesses of the self-regulatory regime within the print media.
125. Conference directed that such investigation should examine the principle of a MAT and the associated modalities for implementation.
Pursuant to the ANC resolution on a Parliamentary MAT Inquiry, the print media established its own Regulatory Review Mechanism. This led to the publication of the Press Council Report and further established the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) which conducted the wide ranging review of the current regulatory system of the print media.
126. That amongst others, the reports led to the review of the Press Code and the restructuring of the self-regulatory which is ongoing.
127. There is uncertainty on the extent of the implementation of the entire recommendations of the PFC most of which the ANC supported.
128. Over the years, the ANC has remained resolute that the media including print media patterns of ownership, management and content must reflect the democratic dispensation ensuring the freedom of expression freedom of expression, which includes freedom of the press and other media; freedom to receive or impart information or ideas; freedom of artistic creativity; and academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.
129. That consistently maintained that the freedom of expression does not extend to - propaganda for war; incitement of imminent violence; or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
130. That freedom of expression which includes the freedom of press and other media does not supersedes human rights and other rights enshrined in the South African Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
131. The apartheid patterns and behaviour that treat South Africans in an unequal and discriminatory manner sometimes manifests in some of the conduct of the print media in the content, coverage, distribution, management and opinions. Despite denials, this is natural, such attitudes and practices need to be confronted for the media to be a mirror of the present democratic dispensation. The reality arising out of this situation is that the majority of South Africans do not have media that report and project their needs, aspirations and points of views onto the national discourse.
132. That the PFC recommendations go a long way in responding to the ANC conference resolutions. There remains a lot of work to be done to ensure the full implementation of the principles guiding the ANC resolution and the PFC report. Also, the Parliamentary Inquiry using the PFC report as a basis remains relevant.
133. The ANC needs to review its own Media Charter to take into regard the developments that have taken place since its adoption, strides that have been made in realizing the rights enshrined in it as well as the emergence of new technologies.
134. The ANC remains committed to a media climate that is free from vested political and commercial interests. This has been our guiding principle in all the engagements and ongoing discussions on the media transformation and accountability. Within this understanding, the ANC reaffirms the need for parliament to conduct an inquiry on the desirability and feasibility of a media appeals tribunal within the framework of the country's Constitution that is empowered to impose sanctions without the loss of any constitutional rights.
135. The envisaged parliamentary process should reinforce the South African Constitution Act 108 of 1996; review the existing media accountability mechanisms; balance the individual's rights to dignity and freedom of expression and freedom of the media; and review the privacy laws as well as those dealing with libel and defamations.
136. The departure point of the ANC is that South Africans must enjoy the freedom of expression in the context of a diverse media environment that is reflective of their situations and daily experiences. Accordingly, the following must be introduced to encourage media diversity:
a) Introduction of an economic empowerment charter to promote Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment in the sector. Amongst others, the Charter should address the availability of print media in the languages South Africans speak and communicate with.
b) Strengthening the MDDA to support more community and commercial entities.
c) The Competition Commission should focus on anti-competitive practices within the sector.
137. The recommendations of the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) should be included in the wide raging Parliamentary Inquiry on the regulatory system for print media.
138. The transformation of the advertising industry to ensure its contribution to media diversity must be prioritized
ON POSTAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE POST BANK
139. The postal infrastructure plays a significant role in the socio-economic development of the country. The ANC through its government has over the years pursued 64 efforts to stabilise the Post Office through a range of interventions, including the allocation of financial and other resources for the State Owned Enterprises to meet its obligations.
140. The postal network has been expanded to reach 2 400 outlets. The re-balancing of the postal infrastructure to ensure that 1 postal outlet serves a maximum of 10 thousand South Africans. This re-balancing exercise seeks to redress the imbalances between the urban and rural areas of the country.
141. Part of the strategy is to achieve universal access, including the rollout of addresses and other services to under-serviced urban and rural areas.
142. Progress is being made to transform and corporatize the Post Bank as a preferred bank of choice for the poorest people in urban and rural areas. However, more work is needed to establish a sustainable mechanism for the Post Bank.
143. The challenge however is that the advent of emails and SMS has led to reduction in mail volumes. This has lowered SAPO profitability for re-investment in under serviced areas and to rollout the infrastructure.
144. Through its massive and extensive network the Post Office act as a pay point for many government services including municipality bills and traffic fines. This contribution helps alleviate backlogs in the delivery of services to the people which is the central trust of our National Democratic Revolution.
145. In the view of the ANC, the postal market is not ready for liberalisation. Evidence in the courier market point to local and international courier companies paying more attention to the lucrative urban areas to the detriment of the rural and peri-urban areas who can get services based on internal market cross-subsidization.
146. The Postal Infrastructure and the Postbank are needed for government to deliver services to the people. As such, ownership of the Post Office and the Post Bank by government should be linked to efforts to ensure that the two institutions are sustainable.
147. A State Bank should not only be defined in terms of ownership, but in terms of the services that are delivered by the Postbank.
148. Directing opportunities to Post Bank and Post Office will strengthen revenue diversification and provide a viable alternative for offsetting the cost of services to the under serviced and marginalised areas.
149. That the decision to protect the exclusivity of the Post office should not compromise the provision of affordable, quality services.
150. Postal infrastructure is important in the ongoing efforts to promote regional integration.
151. The National Address System should prioritise the rollout of addresses to informal settlements and rural areas to ensure addressability for all households to achieve economic inclusion.
152. The existing government's financial support for infrastructure re-balancing including the rollout of the National Address System should be continued.
153. Government should introduce policy guidelines to direct opportunities to the Post Bank as a bank of first choice of government and a primary platform for government and citizens' transactions. Over the next ten years, the Post Office should continue with the exclusive rights to all letters up to 1kg.
This is in line with the Postal Licence Act of 1998 which confers South African Post Office (SAPO) exclusive rights and privileges to be the monopoly on the provision of the basic letter service up to 1kg in order "to offset the cost of providing a basic service in low-density, rural or uneconomical areas," as is a common practice globally.
154. ICASA, as a regulator, need to be strengthened with the necessary capacity to regulate the postal market. Strengthening ICASA as a regulator also has to address policy gaps to improve postal regulation 65 efficiency and effectiveness in reserved and unreserved postal services. This includes courier services, courier brokers and extraterritorial offices of exchange.
Extraterritorial offices of exchange refer to international mail houses sending mail either electronically or physically to entities in South Africa. Of concern are illegal operators and broader transformation issues in the sector.
155. National policy should clarify approach to the regulation of cherry picking behaviour of international courier companies. The current practice to dump international mail on the South African Post Office infrastructure without paying anything has a long-term detrimental effect on the sustainability of the South African Post Office. A policy to curtail this practice should be implemented by government. This will include compliance with the international tariff regime.
156. All three spheres of government must be encouraged to use the South African Post Office. For its survival, the postal market must continue to expand infrastructure that will be used in the distribution network. The connected Community Service Network must also diversify services to integrate online services. To this end the South African Post Office must be supported to accelerate evolution and migration of traditional postal services to e-services using innovative technology platforms and electronic channels.
157. The ANC must show leadership and utilize the services of the Post Bank.
158. Mobile Post Offices should be deployed in all needy rural and urban communities.
159. Post Office Public Information Terminals should be upgraded to become fully functioning internet access points in rural areas.
160. The post office and postal infrastructure should have regard to increased attention paid to rural areas. This should include the provision to implement a consistent national address system, taking into account the human settlement expansion in the country.
161. The mandate of the Post Bank is reaffirmed as the bank for the unbankable as a priority, in line with the 52nd conference and the NGC. The Post Bank as a developmental bank, different from conventional banks, should be dealt with in the ETC.
162. That the postal services should be inclusive and address the needs of the people with disabilities. It agreed that there is a need for the postal services and postal infrastructure to accommodate access for people with disability. It was also agreed that print as well as the electronic media should also facilitate access to content for people with disability.
RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION
163. The country continues to demonstrate excellence through major ICT and scientific breakthroughs emanating from research and development programmes. There is great potential in ICT Research and Development and Innovation that needs to be unlocked in order for the country to become more globally competitive.
164. Highlights of recent world-class achievements include the following projects of the Department of Science and Technology:
a) As part of the cyber-infrastructure programme which is implemented by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with universities and other science councils, South Africa today hosts the most powerful computer in Africa, which is among the top 500 supercomputers in the world - currently at position 329. This facility provide South Africa with enormous capability to perform complex scientific and mathematical calculations that solves real societal problems in the environment and climate change, automobiles, bio-medical sciences and astronomy.
b) On the social impact side, some ICT Research and Development and Innovation programmes include the Digital Doorway 66 (DD) - an innovative, robust computer facility that is deployed in under-serviced areas that members of the community can access anytime of the day to gain computer literacy skills and access relevant information, content and various applications.
c) A flagship project that demonstrates the use of alternative, cost-effective and innovative technologies and models to deploy broadband infrastructure and services for rural communities is currently underway in Nkangala District Municipality in Mpumalanga. The project uses Wireless Mesh Network technology to connect close to 200 schools and a few other sites. 114 of these connections have been commissioned to the Internet. The project incorporates a business model that promotes local economic development. Unlike with conventional telecommunication network operator model, the Wireless Mesh Network uses the out-of-school youth who show entrepreneurial and technical potential to operate, support and maintain the network in their communities.
165. The progress made in the development of a long-term ICT Research and Development and Innovation (RDI) implementation roadmap.
166. High impact national programmes such as the digital switchover will facilitate local and international investments in ICT research and development. As a crucial part of the National ICT Policy research, development and innovation strategies and plans would enable a coherent and increased public and private investment in the ICT by providing mechanisms to forecast technology developments in targeted areas; attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) from ICT multinational companies; and identifying critical areas that must be developed to meet South Africa's socio-economic objectives.
160. The above examples illustrate how directed interventions on ICT Research and Development and Innovation can bring about significant socio-economic development. However, to make real impact, the current investment in ICT Research and Development and Innovation need to be increased multiple-fold in order to achieve a critical mass in ICT Research and Development.
161. While ICTs are widely recognised as potent tools and enablers for socioeconomic development, South Africa still lacks adequate competencies, capacity and capabilities and hence the continued reliance on imported ICT products and services.
If the status quo persists, the real impact of ICTs on economic growth will not be realised.
162. There is enough evidence-based studies that show that the world's advanced economies have achieved their status largely because they have adopted and implemented policies that support technological (in most case ICT) innovation based on strong research and development capabilities.
163. To promote and support development of new ICT Research and Development (R&D) plans and strengthen existing strategies and policies to foster robust, well-coordinated institutional arrangements that lead to development of indigenous world-class, technology innovations in ICT through directed national ICT research, development and innovation programmes.
164. To increase the number of Masters and PhDs students enrolling and graduating in ICT. Over the past few years, South Africa has been graduating between 14 and 35 PhDs per year in ICT related fields. The starting point should be to increase the current ICT PhD production by 10 - 15 fold per year in order to enable critical mass of advanced ICT human capital.
165. Within the framework of the National ICT Policy, South Africa will overcome the "Digital Divide" by leveraging advances in ICT to address socio-economic challenges and thus create "Digital Advantage". Through sound investment and effective coordination of ICT RDI activities, the following conditions will be established:
a) advanced human capital and strong institutional capacity, enabling critical mass for research in focussed ICT domains;
b) a flourishing and growing high-tech ICT industry characterised by tight 67 engagement with research communities, as well as fast uptake and promotion of research results and indigenous innovation;
c) a healthy innovation ecosystem, in which research results flow unencumbered to government and industry to achieve impact in society;
d) advanced ICT infrastructure connecting South Africa internally and with the world; and
e) local content and applications that address local needs and also create export opportunities.
166. To increase investments in ICT RDI which must support existing research programmes - and enable creation of new ones - leading to achievement of ICT Research and Development critical mass through appropriate funding for Research and Development in higher education institutions, science councils and research institutions.
167. The ICT RDI roadmap must be adopted by 2014.
168. The building of research infrastructure;
and attraction of foreign direct investment through various incentive schemes that will see large multinational ICT conglomerates setting up research and innovation facilities in South Africa - not just sales offices.
Source: African National Congress. The full and original text of the resolutions can be accessed here - PDF.
Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter