IN QUOTES | Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on securing data and SA creating its own technologies

07 October 2020 - 12:32
Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said data is the new crude oil.
Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said data is the new crude oil.
Image: GCIS

Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says 50,000 young people are receiving training in data science and other related skills in an effort to propel SA to innovate and manufacture its own technologies rather than consume from other countries.

Ndabeni-Abrahams was briefing the media on Tuesday regarding the department's material developments under her portfolio.

Here are six important quotes from her address:

Secure data

“The new oil in which we operate is data. People have had the excitement of being on all the platforms, just like you have seen my stuff being hacked on WhatsApp, because people understand the importance of having access to data they can use against or for the betterment of a person's life.

"It is important as government that we create a secure environment for that data, but most importantly to make sure this data can be used for commercial purposes.”

SA must innovate 

“In most cases in SA, we are the consumer of technologies. We do not have tablets  produced in this country. We don't have cameras and software produced in SA.

"What would happen if the West said, 'Because SA continues to use Chinese technologies, we are calling on all American companies to back off from SA'? That would mean people would not get their salaries and all the systems we are using would not function because the software we use is not produced here.”

Implementing the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“We have established a project management office which has experts from the different fields of the 4IR to make sure they monitor and co-ordinate the implementation of the work we are talking about, to make sure we are not just coming with rhetoric that will not find expression in changing people's lives.”

Icasa's new regulations empower black operators

"The [Independent Communications Authority of SA's] new regulations are saying 'meet that level one BBBEE status for the duration of your licence'. That means if you have spectrum and the licence you have is for 10 years, for those years we expect you to respect that black people in this country must be empowered and you must remain on that level one BBBEE status.”

Training youth

“We announced the training of 50,000 young people in data science and related skills on top of the 700 we will be training. We are doing this to show that although we are not a department responsible for training, we must make sure people are digitally transformed and are therefore able to use digital technologies, not only for consumption purposes but also to generate an economic spin-off.”

Funding innovators

“There are lots of young people who are innovating in SA, but they don't have access to funding. We said, as the department, it is important that we create a platform so they can have access to funds.”