public policy

Cabinet has approved the gazetting of the draft data and cloud policy for public comment, acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni announced yesterday.

Ntshavheni was briefing media on the outcomes of the virtual Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, 24 March. 

Cabinet approving the draft policy follows communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’s assertions last November that the government blueprint would be out for public comment “soon”. 

At the time, Ndabeni-Abrahams said the policy is to give guidelines to all those that are investing in data centres in the country and want access to that data. 

South Africa has seen a flurry of activity in the data centre market this year, with cloud providers launching their data centre facilities in the country. Data centre service providers are also expecting an increase in data traffic as a result of more submarine communications cables coming to Africa.

Delivering the Cabinet statement, Ntshavheni said the policy seeks to align existing policies and legislation to ensure the country takes full advantage of developments in the digital economy.

“Data and cloud services are key enablers for the digital economy,” the acting minister stated. “The policy also seeks to ensure the country fully participates in the new data era. Once adopted, the policy will also strengthen the capacity of the state to deliver services to its citizens.”

At the same meeting, Cabinet approved the science, technology and innovation Decadal Implementation Plan (STI Decadal Plan) 2021-2031 for science and innovation implementation.

The plan, according to Ntshavheni, follows the white paper on science and innovation approved by Cabinet in 2019. “The policy responds to the rapid technological advancement and harnesses STI for the socio-economic development of the country. 

“This Decadal Plan will serve as a government master plan, which will incorporate other departments such as agriculture, land reform and rural development, mineral resources and energy, health and trade, industry and competition. The implementation will be in collaboration with all the relevant departments.”

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