Information and communications technology (ICT)
Between 2007 and 2010, the information and communications technology (ICT) market grew by over R131 billion to R179 billion. It was estimated that the sector would grow to R187 billion in 2011, with an estimated figure of R250 billion by 2020. This growth will be driven by the rapid uptake and use of data and applications-driven mobile communications.
The Department of Communications' mandate is to create a favourable ICT environment, ensuring that South Africa has
the capacity to advance its socio-economic development goals and support the renewal of Africa and the building of a better world.
Broadband is an essential digital resource for accessing
basic services, products, commerce and job creation. Broadband has the potential of creating opportunities and
opening new markets that allow businesses to grow. Given the strategic importance of this enabling infrastructure, the Department of Communications, together
with the ICT industry, have committed to delivering 100% broadband penetration and delivering a million jobs by 2020.
During 2011/12, the Department of Communications made substantial progress towards the implementation of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy. In February 2012, final
amendments to the policy were published in the Government Gazette for implementation by various role players. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has commenced with the process to finalise the Digital Terrestrial Television regulations.
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Standard, according to which locally manufactured set top boxes (STBs) will be built, was launched at the inaugural ICT Indaba in June 2012.
The department aims to finalise the selection process of suitable STB manufacturers in 2012. This is an important area of job creation and government expects it to create an
estimated 23 500 jobs across the value chain. ICT infrastructure is a basic foundation for economic competitiveness. During the last few years, government has increased investment in infrastructure to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Government will accelerate broadband-infrastructure spending.
In this regard, an initial R450 million has been allocated,
over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)
period to provide broadband services.
Jobs will be created across various subsectors of the
- providing broadband infrastructure
- establishing content hubs for radio and TV animation
- using ICT in further education and training colleges
- tailor-made solutions for small, medium and microenterprises
- digital broadcasting and the distribution of STBs
- rolling out PostBank.
The Department of Communications has developed the ICT
Rural Development Strategy, which will be implemented
in the 2012/13 financial year. The strategy, over the MTEF
period, focuses on establishing new access centres in the
161 priority areas across the country, as identified by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
The strategy also affirms government's commitment to
connect all schools and health centres in the country.
During the 2012/13 financial year, government has
prioritised the provision of broadband connectivity to 1 650
schools in all provinces as the initial phase of the implementation
of the National Connectivity Plan for schools. This
project is a result of a legacy project of the 2010 FIFA Soccer
World CupTM. The broadband connectivity will enable schools
to have access to the Internet, e-mails and hosting services.
Did you know?
The West African Cable System (WACS), the fifth submarine cable system to link South Africa to the rest of the world, was
formally launched in May 2012, promising further improved
bandwidth connectivity down the west coast of Africa.
WACS was initiated by the South African Government as a
collaborative effort of African governments and leading telecommunications operators.
South African state company Broadband Infraco's investment in WACS entitles the company to 11,4% of the system's total capacity,
which will help the country meet its target of providing broadband
connectivity to all South Africans who need it by 2020.
It will also help the company to further reduce the cost of telecommunications
in the country.
In recent years, South Africa has witnessed tremendous growth in the cellphone industry. Mobile penetration is estimated at more than 10%, which is one of the highest rates in the world.
South Africa has five operators, namely Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile and Telkom.
Internet use in South Africa grew by 25% in the past year, according to the study by research company World Wide Worx and the howzit MSN online portal.
The 6,8 million South Africans using the Internet at the end
of 2010 increased to 8,5 million by the end of 2011.
The number was projected to increase to more than 10 million people by the end of 2012. Penetration is approaching 20%.
The study showed that 7,9 million South Africans accessed
the Internet via their cellphones.
Did you know?
A 2011 study revealed that more than half of the participants
accessed the Internet on their cellphones daily.
Of the 8 000 people who were surveyed, 57% engaged in some form of banking or financial activity on their cellphones, including balance checks and the transfer of funds, while about 21% had paid a bill via their mobile service.
Eighty-nine per cent used their cellphones to research purchasing
a digital or physical product.
Globally, 72% of participants used mobile Internet daily, while 18% no longer used fixed-line access to the Internet. Twenty-seven per cent of consumers said they would make purchases via their cellphone if security issues were better addressed.
Telkom has been operating as a commercial company since October 1991 and is the largest provider of communications services in Africa, according to operating revenue and assets.
In October 2010, Telkom launched its mobile operator.
In September 2011, it launched Telkom Business Mobile, which focuses exclusively on the business market.
The South African Post Office delivers to an area exceeding
1,2 million km2, with more than 2 400 outlets and 5 500 service points. It is the largest business undertaking in the country.
In 2011/12, over 1,71 million new addresses were rolled out to
people in rural and underserviced areas. The delivery standard attained was 96%, exceeding the target of 95% and improving
on the previous year.
South Africa's Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of the press and other media.
The independence of the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), is guaranteed by legislation. The SABC is being corporatised and restructured to better fulfil its mandate.
Did you know?
SABC News and Current Affairs is responsible for:
- 1 255 radio news bulletins in 13 languages on 18 radio stations every week
- 32 daily current affairs radio shows
- six television news bulletins broadcast daily and 10 television current affairs shows on SABC 1, SABC 2 and SABC 3 every
The SABC's online news service attracts about 600 000 visits a month.
The SABC’s national radio network comprises 18 radio stations. Fifteen of these are dedicated specifically to public-service broadcasting and include 11 full spectrum stations, one in each of the official languages of South Africa, a cultural service for the Indian community broadcasting in English, a regional community station broadcasting in isiXhosa and English and a community station broadcasting in the !Xu and Khwe languages of the Khoisan people of the Northern Cape. The SABC boasts three stations in its commercial portfolio.
SABC News provides news and current affairs services to both SABC radio and television. For its domestic coverage, SABC News has 13 editorial offices, while world news is provided by strategically placed news bureaus, foreign correspondents and international news agencies.
Channel Africa Network comprises four language services, reaching millions of listeners throughout Africa. Broadcasts are in English, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Chinyanja and Silozi. The network targets audiences in Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, and concentrates on providing programmes with African content.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has granted licences to the following private radio stations:
Community radio stations have a huge potential for the support of, among other things, cultural and educational information exchanges. These radio stations use all indigenous languages, ensuring that people receive information in languages they understand.
The SABC’s television network comprises four television channels – three of them free-to-air and the fourth pay-TV. Combined the free-to-air channels attract more than 17,5 million adult viewers daily, reaching 89% of the total adult TV-viewing population.
- e.tv, the country’s first privately owned free-to-air television channel, started operations in October 1998.
- M-Net became South Africa’s first private subscription television service when it launched in 1986. Today, it broadcasts its array of general entertainment and niche channels to subscribers in more than 50 countries across the African continent and adjacent Indian Ocean islands.
- MultiChoice Africa (MCA) was formed in 1995 to manage the subscriber services of its sister company, M-Net. It became the first African company on the continent to offer digital satellite broadcasting. In July 2008, Multichoice launched high-definition television, the first in Africa. MultiChoice provides digital media entertainment, content and services to multiple devices, which include pay TV subscriber services to more than 1,5 million customers.
- The pay television provider Top TV was launched in 2010.
Technically, the local print media rate among the best in the world. This is one reason why newspapers and magazines have held their own in a volatile information era, identified by the vast development of various new forms of media-delivery platforms via the Internet.
South African newspapers and magazines are mainly organised into several major publishing houses:
Other important media players include
Since 1994, the major press groups have embarked on programmes to boost Black Economic Empowerment in media ownership.
Did you know?
The Printing Industries Federation of South Africa (PIPSA)
celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011.
The R45-billion industry ranks sixth in South Africa, in terms
of contribution to gross domestic product with more than 45 000
employees through six regional PIPSA chambers and more than 800
registered company members.
In February 2012, the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) of South Africa reported that total daily-newspaper circulation increased by 114 000 copies in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter, mainly due to increases in free and community newspapers. Some 97 000 fewer (a 90 drop of 6,7%) daily papers were sold in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter in the previous year, while
single-copy sales declined by 7% and subscriptions by 8,3%.
The total circulation of weekend newspapers declined by
4,9% (108 000 copies) compared with the fourth quarter in 2010, as did single-copy sales (by 5,8% or 96 000 copies)
and subscriptions (by 1,3% or 6000 copies).
Biggest weekly and daily newspapers
In the fourth quarter of 2011, total magazine circulation
increased from the previous quarter, mostly because of a large new custom title (Vodacom Now!), while consumer
magazines showed growth, mainly because of new entrants.
In the consumer-magazine category, total magazine
circulation increased by 1,4% while real circulation declined by 3,7% (or 233 000 copies). Both single-copy sales and
subscriptions declined. Free circulation increased by 37,4%,
mainly because of new free circulating titles.
In the family-interest category, DRUM showed the largest increase: 7% to 137 544 single-copy sales (138 479 total circulation in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with 129 317 in 2010).
Both YOU and Huisgenoot decreased. YOU had
the largest 167 763 single-copy sales (172 403 total from 182 298 in 2010) while Huisgenoot was at 271 226 single-copy
sales (283 355 from 302 677 in 2010).
Did you know?
The press code governing print media was amended after its scheduled five-year review. The amended code went into
effect on 15 October 2011.
Amendments to the press code include:
• sensitivity towards the dignity of a person, whether a private or
public figure, with the understanding that the right to privacy can
only be overridden by a legitimate public interest
• no child under 18 can be interviewed, photographed or filmed without the consent of a parent or guardian, if there is any chance
coverage might cause harm of any kind; the media may also not identify children who had been victims of, were charged with, or convicted of abuse or exploitation
• journalists should use anonymous sources only if there is no
other way to handle a story
• the press may not publish information that constitutes a breach of confidence, unless there is a legitimate public interest
• plagiarism is banned
• the press cannot report on the HIV and AIDS status of people without their consent.
The national news agency, the South African Press Association, is a cooperative, non-profit organisation.
The main foreign news agencies operating in South Africa are:
The independent Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) is jointly funded by government, the media and other donors.
Headed by a nine-member board, the MDDA works to foster diversity, particularly in community and small commercial media, and to redress imbalances in the industry.
The MDDA awarded its first grants to community and small commercial media projects in January 2004.
By mid-2011, the MDDA was providing support to more than 343 media projects across South Africa, focusing on historically disadvantaged communities, using indigenous
languages. This was done with the budget allocation of R128,8 million accumulatively since 2004.
By mid-2011, the agency had trained over 1 300 people, provided 143 bursaries to different radio and print media, and created approximately 200 (direct and indirect) job
opportunities and beneficiary projects, which empowered
more people with skills that enabled them to participate in the broader media and broadcasting industry.
South Africa's vibrant and dynamic advertising industry has experienced great growth in the last few years. It is a mouthpiece for the diverse mix of cultures in the country,
especially when it comes to the unique South African sense
of humour. While the airwaves, soundwaves and digital world are filled with advertising products of an international standard, uniquely South African references are common.
Local advertising agencies are often recognised internationally
for their excellence.
Several South African agencies are active in Africa. The industry is self-regulated through the Advertising Standards Authority.