The Democratic Alliance expressed concerns yesterday about the cyber security deal that South Africa signed in China. In a statement, the DA’s Marian Shinn said the party is worried about SA’s attitude towards restrictions on internet freedom and surveillance of internet users.

But what does the deal actually entail?

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele signed a “Plan of Action on areas of cooperation in ICTs” on Monday with his counterpart Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China.

According to a statement by the ministry, the agreement will “strengthen existing ties between the two countries in the area of Information and Communication Technologies.”

It adds that the co-operation is part of a 5-10 Year Strategic Framework on Cooperation deal that was first signed in 2014 by President Jacob Zuma.

The Cyber Security Pact, as it has been called, will focus on nine key areas identified by the respective governments.

While no in-depth details have been have been revealed, the key areas are:

  • Broadband strategies for implementation and rural access
  • Investment in telecommunications services
  • Cyber security
  • E-skills professional training
  • Electronics manufacturing and technology transfer
  • E-government
  • SMEs Incubation in ICT
  • Research and Development in ICT
  • Internet Governance

“Access and affordability of broadband services are serious impediments in these areas. We need to constantly look for innovative ways to deliver services. Striking long- term strategic partnerships is crucial to addressing these challenges,” Minister Cwele said.

“In this regard, this Plan of Action with China is opportune as we implement our broadband policy and strategic plan that calls for the development of a connected society by 2030,” he added.

The statement by the ministry added that both countries have targets to achieve full broadband rollout in rural and underserved areas, and said that China has moved some way on this path and the two countries committed to sharing strategies on best models to achieve the goal of making broadband services universally available.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Victor Bayon]

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.