Siyabonga Cwele, the Minister of telecommunications and postal services
Siyabonga Cwele, the Minister of telecommunications and postal services (Photo Credit: department of telecommunications)

The South African Government announced on Tuesday that it will dissolve the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).

The state-owned entity has been facing some challenges to roll-out broadband and the digital migration project in the country.

For a long time, the agency , has had to fend off allegations of serious maladministration, unlawful conduct and expenditure.

The entity was set up by the state to seek ways of bridging the digital divide in South Africa.

“USAASA will be dissolved and the existing Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF) will be transformed into a stand-alone funding agency to support universal service and access,”  Minister Siyabonga Cwele, said at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services.

“The Digital Development Fund Bill gives effect to this policy objective.”

USAF was established under the Electronic Communications Act (ECA) to fund projects and programmes that strive to achieve universal service and access to ICTs by all South African citizens.

It is currently utilised as a strategic investment facility to fund the expansion of broadband infrastructure and services in underserved areas and the provisioning of universal access to digital broadcasting by subsidising the acquisition of set-top-boxes

Robert Nkuna: Director-General at reiterated that USAF will be transformed into a new Digital Development Fund (DDF) to support both infrastructure and demand stimulation projects and programmes.

“The DDF will provide funding to support for universal service and universal access to ICT infrastructure, services and applications, and postal services and to promote digital inclusion for all South Africans.”

USAASA and USAF both received unqualified audit opinion reports from the auditor-general for the year under review.

South Africa Bidding to Host ITU Telecom World 2018

The South African government will bid to host the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Telecom World 2018.

The ITU Telecom World is the most prestigious gathering in global telecommunications.

It brings together leading telecoms experts from the public and private sectors, heads of state, ministers, regulators and CEOs of multinational corporations.’

The ITU Telecom World has never before been held in Africa.

For South Africa, hosting the 2018 event would mean substantial economic benefits, as well as broader intangible benefits.

The 2018 event is expected to attract 9 000 delegates and contribute an estimated R81 million into the South African eco