By Dianne Kohler Barnard, – DA Shadow Minister of Communications
ANC blocks Elon Musk’s Starlink in South Africa
“in order for Starlink to operate in South Africa, they require… Individual IECS/IECNS applicants or licensees to have a minimum 30% equity ownership held by persons from historically disadvantaged groups”…
In a written response received from the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, the ANC, in no uncertain terms, declared that South Africans will never receive free internet or data and that millions will continue to live with no access to technology, unless it is provided by an ANC cadre or tenderpreneur.
It is simply laughable that an international multibillion dollar company must hand over at least 30% of its equity to the ANC government to operate within South Africa.
Elon Musk’s Starlink is the world’s first and largest satellite constellation to deliver broadband internet capable of supporting streaming, online gaming, video calls and more. Examples of countries benefitting from its use include Ukraine during the Russian invasion where Musk ensured that any attempt to black out communications by the Russians would fail.
South Africa looks set to become one of the only African countries to not roll out Starlink. Currently, at least 20 African countries have either rolled out or are set to get Starlink in the near future. Even our neighbours, Mozambique and Botswana are ahead of us in the rollout.
If Starlink were available in South Africa, children in even the most rural of areas would have access to information and learning materials, and others would be able to educate themselves beyond the constraints of formal universities or schools which millions simply cannot afford.
Everyone would have access to streaming services where different trades and skills can be learnt or even where the government would now have the opportunity to set up free online educational portals to give everyone a fighting chance of escaping the high levels of unemployment.
Instead, the ANC would prefer to keep the people of South Africa in the digital dark, uneducated and unable to create prosperous opportunities for themselves or lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
It is nonsensical that where such an opportunity could present itself, the ANC would rather stick to its archaic cadre deployment style policies and rather ensure that its politically connected friends are awarded exorbitant tenders rather than actually make a difference in the lives of South Africans.
I will immediately be writing to the Minister to amend these regulations to remove the archaic, irrational and ridiculous hurdles to progress.
Additionally, the DA will ask both Elon Musk’s office and Space X to make an application to the ANC government to provide these services within South Africa and pressure the ANC into allowing our people to join the rest of the world online and not become the digital pariah of not only our own continent but the rest of the world.