10 June 2018
Cyril Ramaphosa - President, African National Congress (ANC)
Mmusi Maimane - Leader, Democratic Alliance (DA)
Bantubonke Holomisa - President, United Democratic Movement (UDM)
Julius Malema - Commander in Chief, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi - President, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
Mosiuoa Lekota - President, Congress of the People (COPE)
Last year, I met with each of you to discuss the fourth industrial revolution. This week we were informed that our economy shrunk by more than 2% in the first quarter of 2018, the worst decline in almost a decade. This should jolt us into action. One way of doing this is to release spectrum to unlock value and set the country on a trajectory to participate in the fourth industrial revolution.
Like the rest of the world, South Africa is changing before our very eyes. New devices, solutions and apps are introduced almost daily. This requires new skills and businesses, and impacts how we interact with friends and family. This trend is irreversible.
The digital economy brings unparalleled efficiencies to agriculture, manufacturing, retail and mining sectors globally. It demands investment in high-value skills, matching technology, abundant and advanced ICT infrastructure. The digital economy is now a major contributor to the gross domestic products of advanced economies. The question is: what should South Africa do to participate in this economy and avoid the long-term adverse effect of exclusion?
We must urgently discuss the digital economy so that we develop and distribute available resources to unlock benefit for all South Africans. Resources like spectrum, which is a high impact, finite and scarce national resource, are at the heart of unlocking value across all sectors in the digital economy. We need to use it and other resources at our disposal, to ensure that we enable long-term economic growth.
Let's have a national conversation for the benefit of South Africa.