Copper Theft

South African Tellecommunications upstaged by Kenya
(or are neither fit to fight?)

Blog 037 - 10 June 2013

MeerKAT Dish

In the early days of the New South Africa I was lecturing Computer Science at the University of KwaZulu/Natal. I can remember saying to the students that I was teaching at the time, that I sincerely welcomed the changes that were taking place, as they would finally release the potential human capital that had previously been denied opportunities in South Africa. Unfortunately it has not turned out like that for several reasons. One reason would be that we have squandered that human capital. It has also been badly affected by aids. Much of that could have been avoided. Bad governance, corruption, greed and lawlessness have also played a big part. That too should surely have been avoided.

The Telecommunications Industry in South Africa unfortunately serves as a good example. The industry has been served by ministers that could have performed better. Many opportunities have been lost and other still waiting to be realised, are languishing because of this. I could provide specific examples, but do not feel the need to do so, as I am sure that most South Africans are aware of the situation. All of us are affected by it. Almost all of us must also surely be aware of the manner in which aspectds of the national infrastructure of the country has been plundered. The theft of electrical and telecommunications cabling is too pervasive for all except those in the most remote rural locations, to be aware of it. The image of the Telkom pole at the top left of this page bears testimony to this situation. It represents hundreds of thousands similar poles.

On the top right of the page is an image of a satellite dish at the Hartebeestpoort Satellite Tracking Station. It represents the capabilities that we still have and also the possibilities that are still available. The co-award of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Radio Telescope to South Africa and Australia does the same. Despite the problems I have already alluded to, and the tough economic climate that world is experiencing, South Africa must still have the opportunity to realise its potential to really thrive. I for one certainly believe that this is still the case.

So it was disappointing to read, not for the first time in recent years, that there are other African countries that are possibly going to eclipse South Africa when it comes to technological developments. Kenya is one of them according to an opinion piece on the TECHCENTRAL web site. I certainly also did not need to read that Kenya was able to do so despite also suffering from its own Telecommunications woes.

We can and must do better!

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Proudly South African

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