- 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.
- 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.