MEC Creecy Disconnected From Gauteng Broadband Project

Gauteng Broadband Network

Gauteng MEC for e-Governance, Barbara Creecy, is disconnected from the reality that the Gauteng Broadband Network has not reached all its intended end users, with some institutions still waiting for connectivity despite the instillation of equipment.

In reply to questions that I posed to the MEC in the Legislature about the roll out of the network across the province, Creecy indicated that all top 20 priority sites had been connected.

This is however not the case.

Although the Refilwe Clinic has been identified as one of the Top 20 priority sites, it has not been able to connect to the network since the installation of equipment on site some 6 months ago. The Refilwe Clinic manager informed me that the situation has become so dire that she has to leave her office and move to the Refilwe Community Hall to connect to the Tshwane Wifi to get her work done.

Connectivity Issues

When I raised this with the MEC, she shifted blame to the Department of Health, stating that her office is simply in charge of rolling out the hardware and that connectivity issues lie with the relevant departments who want to make use of the network.

This sudden shift in responsibility is an indication that MEC Creecy does not have her finger on the pulse of one of the Gauteng’s most costly – and most game changing project.

The DA will continue to keep a close eye on the roll out of the Gauteng Broadband Network so that it positively impacts on service delivery, and that residents of Gauteng receive value for their money.


Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342

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DA Debates 2016/17 Gauteng Department Of e-Governance Budget

Speech by: Adriana Randall MPL

 “Infant e-Governance has a long way to go”

  • Government in S.A. is the largest consumer of ICT goods and services. However, because of a gap in terms of a proper e-waste disposal policy, the challenge of e-waste accumulation is a ticking time bomb.
  • The most important pillar is that of citizen participation, promoting citizens from mere recipients and consumers of government services, to active participants and decision makers in line with Batho Pele principles.
  • Putting government on-line is one thing, making government websites functional and easy to use is quite another.

 The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by: Ashor Sarupen MPL

“Little saving benefit from Gauteng Online”

  • We are still paying service providers for connectivity in many departments despite Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) connectivity being available.
  • Another concern is the nature of the contract with Cloudseed for 3G connectivity to tablets. As schools are connected to the GBN, the need to use the 3G connectivity ends. Yet we now have a situation where we are paying twice for the same service where the GBN is online.
  • There is a serious risk developing in the Gauteng Government – which is the lack of transversal management and silo mentality that appears to persist. It means that the potential to save tens of millions of rands through IT solutions and the GBN is lost.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Media Enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342


Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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DA Debates 2014/15 Finance Annual Report

Speech by: Adriana Randall MPL

“Finance department drastically lacking critical skills”

  • One of the areas of underperformance for the period under review was the funded vacant posts, with Administration underspending the appropriated budget by R32m or 14%.
  • The transformation of the GDF into an ICT department for the Gauteng Province requires a continuous and an uncompromising acquisition of the required skills. Development and training of employees MUST BE considered one of the highest priorities within the department.
  • The department needs to perform a resource Gap analysis, establish a prioritised list of initiatives, provide a risk assessment of all high-level initiatives, provide an actionable 3-year ICT plan.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by: Mike Moriarty MPL

“ICT must be capitalised on to enhance Gauteng’s financial standing”

  • The problem of vacant posts in the department, particularly in ICT shared services, still persists, as it has for a while, and this problem appears to be continuing into the current financial year. Previously, we were told that the DPSA had to approve a new staff structure, but more than a year later, the problem persists.
  • It concerns me greatly that R499 320 was spent on a single consultant for a single day’s work to provide consulting and advisory services on the E-government strategy. This must be the most expensive daily rate a consultant has charged in the history of the GPG – almost half a million rand.
  • As we go forward, the investment into the Gauteng Broadband Network should yield more government to citizen services.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Media enquiries:

Adriana Randall MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance

060 556 4342


Mike Moriarty MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

082 492 4410

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Gauteng Government And Tshwane Duplicating Broadband Projects

The City of Tshwane is aggressively marketing its roll-out of broadband to schools as a success of the metro, while the Gauteng Provincial Government has budgeted R1.2 billion for the same purpose across the province – and has been in the pipeline for the last three years.

In response to an oral question in the Gauteng Legislature, the MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, said that there was no need to co-ordinate broadband projects as the Province and Metro’s had different objectives.

However, it is obvious that at least one objective – schools – is being duplicated.

More alarmingly, the ANC governed metros in Gauteng and the ANC run provincial government have only just begun making sure their broadband networks are interoperable and have only recently shared maps of their networks.

The lack of co-ordination also means that there could be duplication of laying of expensive cable in the ground to provide government with connectivity in the same areas.

MEC Creecy attempted to spin this duplication by saying that savings can now be made in Tshwane to spend in more rural municipalities like Seidbeng and the West Rand.

However, the Gauteng Broadband Network was going to cover these areas anyway.

This political spin does not address the fact that there was no coordination between Gauteng and the City of Tshwane that has led to both spending money on the same thing.

Broadband projects are running into billions of rand being spent by every sphere of government, and the lack of coordination is deeply troubling.

By contrast, the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town do coordinate and are realising actual cost savings on their respective broadband projects.

It is high time MEC Creecy and metro mayors in Gauteng sat down and sorted out duplication rather than spend billions in public funds on the exact same things to market ‘successes’ ahead of an election.

The DA will follow up this issue to ensure that the Gauteng Department of Finance now commits itself to saving money by using the Tshwane broadband network to meet its objectives as the MEC indicated in the Legislature today.


Media enquiries:

Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on ICT

060 558 8303

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Broadband: Unlocking Opportunities through Connectivity

United Nations research has shown that for every 10% that you increase broadband penetration in a low and middle income country; you see a corresponding GDP growth rise of 1.4%.

We live in a country characterised by high unemployment, high inequality and high levels of poverty.

Our economy is characterised by a large number of subsistence businesses, large corporates, and very little by way of SMMEs.

Broadband offers us the potential to correct these problems. Broadband offers us a way to adhere to true market economy principles – the market is not only where goods and services are available and traded, but also a place of information.

Where information is not available, prices can be fixed and consumers suffer. Where information is not available, no budding entrepreneur can disrupt the market with new goods and services, or more competitive pricing.

Broadband gives us a way to shatter information monopolies. The DA believes in fairness, and a fair economy is one characterised by the free flow of information, where collusion is impossible because a vibrant SMME sector can undercut those larger players who collude.

Last year, I raised many points about the potential of broadband to grow our economy and create jobs. I also pointed out the failure of the ANC government to unbundle the local loop, maintaining the monopoly of Telkom on end user consumer broadband.

Over a million ADSL lines in this country go unused because this monopoly prices consumers out of the market. We are losing out on economic growth and the creation of jobs every day because of this.

A report by the SAIRR found that broadband in South Africa costs more than ten times that of the UK, and our broadband costs to the ordinary public are of a higher cost but lower quality than many of our African peers, including Kenya and Mauritius.

The Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) and the other ICT functions that the misnamed Department of Finance perform therefore are not just about e-government and making government more efficient, it has the potential to grow the economy and create jobs.

For the GBN to be truly effective, it must be seen in this light, and not just about its uses for the government, but rather its uses for the people of our country.

The Dav Center and its open source products could be used to provide SMMEs with many free software services that would make their businesses more efficient and reduce operational overheads. The GBN could be used to provide subsidised internet and e-mail access to SMMEs, greatly expanding their market access. As it stands, however, government buildings fitted with GBN access have yet to switch over.

It has been disheartening for me, as a first term MPL, to learn of the issues with tenders and past contracts, and past staff in this department that had gone awry.

There have been years of wasted opportunities in this department to bring game changers to the citizens.

I hope that in the coming year, the officials think bigger and we see some real game changers coming out of the department.