Browsing The Southern African Journal of Information and Communication (SAJIC) by Issue Date
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ItemTelecommunication Policy and Regulation for Women and Development(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2000-12-15) Gillwald, AlisonThis paper examines the issue of whether or not the needs and interests of the majority of women who live in poverty are likely to be addressed by current legislative and regulatory measures designed to achieve universal access to telephone service in South Africa. The paper highlights the enabling aspects of the policy and legislative framework to equalise gender relations in the telecommunication sector in South Africa. Particularly, it identifies the empowerment and advancement of women in telecommunications and the ownership and control of telecommunications services by persons from historically disadvantaged groups, as enabling aspects of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The author concludes that while current measures may positively affect the lives of a relatively small percentage of women through their inclusion in the ownership and control of new companies or from increased employment opportunities or promotion previously denied them in this male dominated sector the current measures are deficient. This is firstly because current policy and implementation strategies do not effectively address issues of affordability. Secondly, the technical features of the network are presumed to be neutral with respect to cost (and price) considerations, masking their class and gender bias. Finally, insufficient attention has been given to seeking innovative ways of addressing women’s information needs which are assumed, from technology design through to service offerings, to be the same as those of men and particularly businessmen. The paper continues to explore possible policy and regulatory strategies that can be pursued under existing conditions within the telecommunications sector in South Africa and in other developing countries to enable the sustainable development of women in society. It is argued in the policy and statutory requirements to promote universal and affordable service to women and that the developmental potential of telecommunications should positively affect the lives of women. From a developmental point of view, the objective of universal service has the potential to be a powerful enabler for a wide range of women. Given that rural women in South Africa, as in other parts of the developing world, are the worst affected by poverty, any strategy to provide universal access and ultimately service, on the grounds of the right to information and potential for social and economic development, must target this most marginalised group. Item'But for the Nicety of Knocking and Requesting a Right of Entry': Surveillance Law and Privacy Rights in South Africa(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2000-12-15) Cohen, TracyAs communications tools expand beyond that of the traditional fixed line telephone, so too do the tools for monitoring those communications. Fuelled by dual needs to protect the privacy rights of individuals, as well as monitor the activities of criminals using the communications networks, governments around the world are toning their surveillance laws in accordance with technological developments and constitutional necessity. In the South African context, the clash of rights inherent in this activity warrants an examination of the continued constitutional status of the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act of 1992, in light of recent proposals by the Law Commission to amend its provisions. It is argued that whilst the target of such a law justifies its existence, the reach of its ambit potentially displaces its ongoing constitutional validity. ItemThe Role of Communications in Key National, Regional, Provincial and Local Government Development Initiatives(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2000-12-15) Stavrou, AkiThis paper seeks to outline how the lack of a coherent communications input impacts on the implementation of local government development, by scanning existing legislation and seeking to draw upon the myriad of existing development strategies, in order to ascertain if, where and how communications have been incorporated into development strategies. The author examines a range of policy, legislation and implementation strategies central to the pursuit of development and growth which he demonstrates have neglected to incorporate communications as an element of development. He then explores possible strategies to incorporate communications within spatial planning and other implementation processes without which regions and provinces will not be able to pursue coherent, compatible, or even effective development policies. ItemDoes 'Telecentre' Mean the Centre is Far Away? Telecentre Development in South Africa(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2000-12-15) Benjamin, PeterThis article questions the role of telecentres as a vehicle for development in developing countries, particularly in South Africa. The organisation of the emerging Information Age is, in the words of Manuel Castells, 'Global Informational Capitalism'. There are forces that increase the power of a global elite while large numbers of people are excluded. This 'digital divide' puts at further disadvantage many people in poor areas in rich Northern countries and a majority of people living in African countries. The imagery that surrounds the new Information and Communications Technology speaks of unlimited potential that can bring great benefit to development problems. Historical examples of the telegraph system and the introduction of railways into Africa are cited to show the difference between rhetoric and reality. In the last few years, there has been great enthusiasm for telecentres as a vehicle for providing access to telecommunications and other information technologies in developing countries. The projects in South Africa and other countries are outlined. The various possible aims for telecentres are next discussed, concluding that actually they are a weak tool for addressing universal access to telephony, though there are many other objectives they can have. Greater clarity is required in deciding what telecentres projects are aiming to do. If these issues are not thought through, there is a risk that telecentres will either 'fail' and waste money, or will serve to bring the division between the 'information haves' and 'have-nots' into communities - creating a local digital divide. Similarly, more thought must be given to how to move beyond a number of pilot projects (many faltering) towards ways of providing genuine universal access. ItemTowards Electronic Commerce in Africa: A Perspective from Three Country Studies(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Esselaar, Philip; Miller, JonathanThe challenges of globalisation and the information age are concentrating the minds of all African governments. Many of the issues that need to be addressed are similar but the situation in each country is different, both from an economic and a historical perspective, and the roads to the optimum realisation of the potential of ICT will be different. Studies in three African countries (Rwanda, Namibia and South Africa) have highlighted both the similarities and the differences. The similarities relate to the fact that all three countries have large and relatively impoverished groups of people, mainly located in rural areas, where the benefits to be derived from ICT have not been felt. However there are major differences in the sizes of the overall economies, in the level of expertise available, general infrastructure, and socio-economic and historical circumstances that manifest in different policy and development issues within each country. Recently, several assessment tools have been developed to assist countries and communities to determine where they are positioned in relation to the factors critical to the development of an information society and the consequent widespread use of e-Commerce. The intention is for policy-makers to make more informed policy decisions. The authors have applied one such tool to all three countries, in particular differentiating between rural and urban communities. Clear differences emerge and in particular it appears that more refined analyses of different demographic groupings within each country could help the e-commerce policy formation process. ItemThe Collision of Regulatory Convergence and Divergence: Updating Policies of Surveillance and Information Technology(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Hosein, IanRegulation theory rarely considers the disruptive capacity of technology, nor regulation in the sole interest of government. This paper will investigate the capacity of technology to disrupt regulatory regimes surrounding surveillance and communications infrastructure in various countries. As policy regimes are updated to meet new challenges, through the creation of new policy habitats, new powers are created despite protests and claims of technological neutrality. However, the capacity to interpret technology does not end: technology will disrupt even the new habitat, requiring renegotiation and re-settlements. Such negotiations often occur at the international level; some of these processes will be reviewed and critiqued. Considering the contingent nature of technology policy, this paper then recommends some ways forward when considering new national policies, such as the process that South Africa is about to embark on. ItemBook Review: The Analyst, the Psychiatrist, the Soothsayer and the Handicapped: Africa and Globalisation: Challenges of Globalisation: South African Debates with Manuel Castells, edited by Johan Muller, Nico Cloete, and Shireen Badat, 2001(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Okpaku, Joseph O. Sr. ItemWhen Cultural Content and Information Technology Converge(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Berger, Guy ItemReviewing Universal Access in South Africa(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Benjamin, PeterThis article reviews the progress towards universal access to telephony and other information projects in South Africa between 1996, when the last Telecommunications Act was passed, and 2000. It draws on the results of the Telecentre 2000 (1) study and the Community ICT (2)research project. The Telecentre programme of the Universal Service Agency (USA) is examined in detail, with statistics on the progress of their 65 telecentres being provided. This programme is critiqued, focusing both on the problems of the telecentres and a misunderstanding of their role in creating a model for universal access. Initiatives, such as Vodacom Phone shops and the Multi-Purpose Community Centres of the Government Communications & Information Service, are also covered to show other models for community ICT projects were possible. The statistics on universal access since 1996, showing a major increase in access to telephony, are given though this has little to do with the work of the USA. The idea of a "Dig-it-all divide" is introduced. The challenges facing the country in this sector are very different from what they were in 1996, and the focus of the work in this area must shift from chasing numbers to finding real ways in which these technologies can support people-centred development. ItemExperimenting with Institutional Arrangements for Communications Policy and Regulation: The Case of Telecommunications and Broadcasting in South Africa(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Gillwald, AlisonThis paper examines the shifting institutional arrangements in South Africa’s telecommunications and broadcasting sectors as it seeks to deal with national transformation at the same time as the relentless economic and technical changes to the sector being driven at a global level. These include the convergence of traditionally distinct forms of communication resulting from the digitalisation of technologies and the privatisation and liberalisation of traditional monopoly services. The author locates the changing institutional arrangements in this sector in the context of the struggle by government to transform decision-making and institutional arrangements. The tensions inherent in this process are not clear-cut, consistent or even clearly visible but impact in complex and cross-cutting ways on the policy framework and arising institutional arrangements. The paper then periodises institutional arrangements in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors into four overlapping phases: the pre-transition phase up to 1993; the reform phase up to 1997; the implementation phase which begins in 1994 in broadcasting and 1997 in telecommunications and the review phase which begins with broadcasting in 1998 and in telecommunications in 2001. Although the institutional flux has often been attributed to forward looking policy it is argued that the perpetual reorganisation of the sector also reflects large scale institutional failure. It is argued however that this cannot be placed solely at the door of the various new regulatory institutions. Perhaps one of the most critical factors to undermine the various regulatory institutions has been the lack of resources. The lack of skilled human capital has allowed all three regulators to be out-regulated by the industry and the lack of financial capital has rendered them in effectual both in defending their actions and fulfilling their mandate. The dearth of these have taken their toll on the ability of the regulator to be credible and one can only conclude reflects the covert desire of the industry and state for them not to be entirely effectual. Finally, the paper argues that until there is an integrated and holistic national information and communication policy, driven from the Presidents Office, various policy proposals impacting on ICT development in the country emanating from different portfolios will continue to be contradictory, inconsistent and ultimately damaging to the vision of South Africa as a regional ICT hub and a major contributor to the African Renaissance. ItemConvergence, Digitisation and New Technologies: Towards the Next Generation Network(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Hanrahan, HuThis paper introduces the concept of the Next Generation Network as the vision for convergence between the modern digital Public Switched Telecommunications Network and Internet Protocol Networks. The technological features of the NGN, as well as the business models that it facilitates, are described. Gateways to the PSTN are described. Migration of the PSTN to the NGN and further evolution of the NGN are outlined. The role of the NGN in providing universal service and universal access is outlined. An example of the use of NGN technologies to create next generation Telecentres is presented. ItemNetworking Knowledge for Information Societies: Institutions and Intervention, edited by Robin Mansell, Rohan Samarajiva and Amy Mahan, 2002: Book review.(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Currie, William ItemTechnical and Policy Advances in Rural Telecommunications(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Westerveld, R.; Maitland, C.F.Providing access to telecommunications services in rural areas continues to challenge policy makers and telecommunication operators alike. The problem is complex and solutions require an understanding of the technical issues as well as the policy instruments used to create incentives for rural service providers. To that end this article presents a brief overview of both technical and policy innovations in rural telecommunications. Technologies discussed include both wireline and wireless networks while policy instruments are presented as following either an ‘obligation’ or ‘incentive’ strategy. ItemThe Status of B2B E-Commerce in the South African Manufacturing Sector: Evolutionary or Revolutionary?(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Moodley, SagrenWhile B2B e-commerce represents a major technological innovation and marks a significant development in organisational interconnectivity (i.e., the ability to network both internally and externally), it is premature to categorise e-commerce in the South African manufacturing sector as ‘revolutionary’. A technological revolution implies a historic transformation bringing about profound, pervasive change in business processes. The research findings reveal that rather than a ‘great event’ having occurred, the reality of e-commerce in the South African manufacturing sector appears to be more mundane, i.e. the result of an evolutionary process of IT integration into existing work practices. Therefore, e-commerce cannot claim to have radically changed the way most business is conducted on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, a technology-focused approach to e-commerce tends to deflect attention away from farreaching systemic changes that need to be made in the South African manufacturing sector. ItemThe Next Step for Telecom Regulation: ICT Convergence Regulation or Multisector Utilities Regulation?(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Henten, Anders; Samarajiva, Rohan; Melody, WilliamThis paper critically examines the multiple rationales for telecom, IT, media (ICT) convergence regulation on the one hand, and multisector utility regulation on the other, and the practical questions of implementation they pose, with a view to contributing to informed policy and regulatory decisions that are now underway in many countries. The conditions that may affect the creation of convergence and multi-sector regulation, ranging from underlying commonality of inputs and the behaviour of regulated firms to considerations that are specific to the regulatory process such as scarcity of regulatory resources and safeguards for regulatory independence, are examined. The paper concludes that ICT and media convergence issues are primarily about improving the efficiency of market economies, and how changes in regulation can facilitate this process. It is likely to be of primary interest for countries that already have an established effective independent telecom regulator. Multisector regulation issues are primarily about establishing the efficiency and effectiveness of regulation so it can be a catalyst for network and economic development. It is likely to be of primary interest to countries that have not yet established effective telecom regulation. Each regulatory option arises from an initial diagnose of different problems, and represents different priorities and pathways to achieving a very similar set of development objectives. ItemTelecom Reform and Poverty Alleviation in Kenya(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Kane, SeanEradicating poverty is perhaps the single most important global development challenge. As rural areas are typically home to the majority of the poor in developing countries, the success of poverty alleviation interventions in rural areas will be important in determining if this challenge is met. This paper examines the relationship between telecom reform and poverty alleviation in Kenya, documenting how investments in poverty alleviation are made significantly more effective if basic telecom network services are available. It demonstrates that ICTs have the potential to maximize the multiplier effect of rural poverty interventions by empowering disadvantaged individuals and improving their immediate economic environment. In this context the national telecommunications policy framework and its impacts on the accessibility and affordability of ICTs in rural areas is increasingly important to poverty alleviation institutions. As a case study, the reform of the telecommunications sector in Kenya and its implications for that country’s rural poor are assessed. It is concluded that the current policy and the market structure it has created is resulting in a bypassing of rural areas in terms of access to ICTs and suggests some remedies for this situation. Finally, it is recommended that, given the importance of ICTs to their work, poverty alleviation institutions should consider making low cost investments in ICT infrastructure when appropriate while using their leverage as possessors of development assistance funds to lobby for changes in telecommunications sector policy regimes that hinder access to ICTs in rural areas. ItemEvolution of Telecommunications Policy Reforms in East Africa: Setting New Policy Strategies to Anchor Benefits of Policy Reform(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Mureithi, MuriukiThis paper is a strategic evaluation of telecommunications policy reform over a ten-year period 1993-2002. The focus of the paper is the three countries of East Africa - Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The evaluation is framed against policy objectives set out by the three governments and their outcomes as measured against relevance to stakeholders, performance by implementers based on the space created by the reforms, and success in terms of sustainability and impact. The paper finds that the short term gains of fast expansion of the communications system cannot be sustained in the long term. The policy design based on foreign capital and skills at the expense of local entrepreneurial capacity building exposes the region to vulnerabilities of the international market. The policy design did not provide tools to intervene in the market in the consumer interest. A further finding is that competition has resulted in a significant consolidation of market power with a consequent shift of monopoly power from government to the private sector. Finally, in practice the private sector operations have increased the disparity in the distribution of the infrastructure between urban and rural consumers. A new policy design should focus on long-term local entrepreneurial capacity building, effective policy tools to sustain competition and universal service programmes to address rural disparity. ItemThe Triumph and Tragedy of Human Capital: Foundation Resource for Building Network Knowledge Economies(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Melody, William H.A fundamental transformation to a global information and knowledge economy is underway, driven by dramatic changes in technologies, markets and government policies - the combination of pervasive applications of information and communication technologies and services, and the world-wide movement to market liberalisation and deregulation. People are expected to be the central resource attracting investment because knowledge is essentially produced, stored and applied by humans. Although many indicators suggest the economic well-being of people today is better than at any time in human history, global – and particularly youth - unemployment continues to increase. More balanced global liberalisation policies will tighten regulation of financial markets and liberalise agriculture, textile and labour markets. For the future, increased investment in human capital, and in access to education and training institutions is essential. The next generation Internet will make possible expanded educational networks and the global sharing of university resources. New programmes must build more productive linkages between universities and other societal institutions, and broaden the disciplinary foundations of traditional programmes. The LINK Centre is now prepared to join the international network of leading ICT policy centres, and crack the training dependency syndrome in this field. Through its support for an African network of similar centres, LINK will help create the foundation for the ultimate triumph of human capital in 21st century knowledge economies. ItemUnderstanding the international ICT and development discourse: Assumptions and implications(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2002-12-15) Wilson, MerridyThis paper seeks to understand the assumptions underlying the international public ICT and development discourse and the implications of these assumptions for policy makers and development practitioners. The argument is situated within a power-knowledge framework and in broader critiques of the development industry. A discourse analysis of the public ICT and development discourse was conducted. Three main themes have been explored: 1) the construction of the category of ‘information-poverty’, 2) the construction of what counts as legitimate/valuable information and knowledge, and 3) the developmental aims of these programmes, in particular models of progress and catch-up to industrial country ideals. The paper argues that assumptions of technological determinism and a view of technology as a neutral tool for development underlie the ICT and development discourse. The use of technology as an index of development reproduces the binary opposition between the developed and the underdeveloped that has been widely critiqued within the field of development. The commonly assumed model of ICTs and development is grounded in these assumptions of technological determinism, which allow the complex political factors influencing poverty and inequality at local, national and international levels to be hidden, or at least go largely unquestioned.