The following remarks were made today by DA Youth Federal Chairperson, Yusuf Cassim, at a mass rally at Nangoza Jebe Hall, Port Elizabeth, to announce a national campaign for Mobile Data for All. Cassim was joined by Nelson Mandela Metro Mayor, Athol Trollip and DA Eastern Cape Leader, Nqaba Bhanga:
As we gather here today, there is a young South African in Cofimvaba that has no way to know of this gathering.
There is a young person in an informal settlement not far from where we are who has a product to sell but may never access a buyer outside of her ward.
There is a job seeker in Orange Farm whose daily battle it is to use what little money he can hustle to be able to check his email for a response on an application for an internship.
There is a student registered at the Iqhayiya PE College campus down the road in Struandale who has to use his grandmother’s small nyana pension to be able to buy a few hundred mb data bundle to continue the hunt for a job placement opportunity.
There is a matric scholar in Mount Frere who won’t have access to learning materials to perform in her final examinations and whose only access to the internet to learn what opportunities exist beyond matric would be through a mobile connection which is one of the most expensive in the world.
As we gather here today let us be reminded about the unfair society in which we live.
We have gathered here precisely because the cries of our young people in towns, townships, informal settlements and villages have fallen on deaf ears.
Amongst the multitude of challenges confronting our youth… joblessness, an unequal and oppressive basic education system, exclusion from skills training and university education, substance abuse etc, the exclusion from information and communication power provided through the internet remains the largest obstacle to the freedom to progress as an individual.
How can we call ourselves free when half of the South African population have no access to the internet.
Internet access is more fundamental than rights. It is an economic necessity.
People with no Internet connection, by definition, have less economic power in the 21st century than other people. They have less access to training, no way to see over the horizon, their connections to the world are entirely local, except for those few people they maintain contact with by telephone.
Our people will never be free to live lives they have reason to value so long as they locked out from the internet. Even the SABC had previously announced that they would no longer advertise jobs in the newspaper, directing people to their website.
This fight didn’t start with #DataMustFall as some would like you to believe. The DA has been fighting this for years.
In a speech made on the 21st of May 2013 in Parliament, the DA’s communications spokesperson Marian Shinn questioned the secrecy of an audit into what mobile data spectrum is available and being used and warned of the risk of South Africans paying too much for data as a resource that is not scarce at all. She also committed back in 2013 that South Africa can expect a globally competitive communications infrastructure when the DA wins the national government in 2019.
On the 11th of July 2013, The DA requested a meeting with the then new Communications Minister Yunus Carrim to raise a number of outstanding issues bungled by successive ANC governments, amongst them was Fast tracking the allocation of high-speed spectrum for wireless broadband services.
On the 25th of July of 2013, the DA further reiterated that the high cost, lack of access and slow connectivity hampers economic growth and job creation. We wrote to the communications minister outlining what must be done in this regard… do you think it was done?
No Thina we know the ANC of today is too self-obsessed to care.
Before Yunus Carrim was the communications Minister for a year, it was Dina Pule from 2011 who was more interested in her paid for romantic trips to Mexico and the US with her boy friend who also stole money from an MTN sponsorship deal.
From 2014 it was Minister Faith Mathumbi… eish. If only she actually did her job then our young people would be able to buy a gig of data for Ben 10 Rand.
Fellow Democrats, after all these years little to no progress has been made because in order to do so it requires releasing mobile spectrum in a manner that ensures competition will drive down costs and that additional capacity removes the artificially high costs being charged by service providers who have a monopoly on offering mobile data.
This involves a digital migration of which the Department of Communications missed its deadline of November 2011 and also missed the international deadline of June 2015.
Today, poor young South African are still at the mercy of mobile companies, while these operators continue making soaring profits, becoming extremely rich from high data prices.
Today as the Democratic Alliance Youth, we are taking a stand.
We are calling on young people of South Africa to join us in ratcheting up the pressure and ultimately delivering a government that is actually interested in their economic empowerment.
Young South Africans deserve better and because the ANC has failed to ensure fair data prices, we believe and demand that:
A mobile data allowance of 500MB free data be made available every month for:
- Poor and missing middle students
- Matric learners registered at government schools; and
- Jobseekers registered on the jobseekers database.
An allowance of 500MB a month will allow poor students, matrics and jobseekers to access the internet for study purposes and to find work, and government must fund the costs of this allowance to enable poor young South Africans to take advantage of the benefits of the internet.
As the DA Youth, we are launching a petition to make these demands to the ANC government and ultimately replace them with a government that will deliver in their place in 2019.
The funding of this allowance as well as the falling of data prices will be achieved by
- An immediate release of the extra mobile data spectrum which would bring the much needed competition to the market. This will naturally drive prices down.
- Finding the Free Mobile Data Allowance by deducting the total cost price from each Mobile Operator’s monthly tax bill. This will allow government to pay for the Free Mobile Data without paying out a cent.
We believe that this would be a much needed point of departure to enable our youth to exploit the opportunities technology offers to leap out of generations of oppression and disadvantage and prosper.
We must not stand back in this struggle. We will not pull our punches.
We must take this campaign to every young person in ever suburb, town, township, informal settlement, farm and village. We must organise our people to take control of their futures.
We are close to breaking new ground. We have the power to break it in our numbers.
Join us young people of South Africa. Together we will create a free, fair and opportunity society.
Are you ready to break new ground?
Our DA Youth are demanding affordable access to DATA! This is because DATA is one of the most empowering opportunities we can give our youth pic.twitter.com/h7HUTUZuD2
— Athol Trollip (@AtholT) October 9, 2017
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/mobile-data-for-all/94455/2017/10