DA’s big tech plans for South Africa

A DA-run government would include a number of bold technology based services, including the introduction of electronic tagging for parolees, the political party says.

The opposition party presented its ‘Alternative Budget 2015/16′, ahead of the 2015 South African Budget Speech, to be delivered by Nhlanhla Nene, on Wednesday (25 February).

Among 81 specific policy proposals from the DA’s policy set that will have an impact on government revenue and expenditure, is a proposal to fast-track prison transfer agreements and introduce electronic tagging for parolees and probationers, thus making it possible to impose a higher number of non-custodial sentences.

The DA said it would mean total savings of R1 billion.

Online gambling

The political party would also legalise online gambling and issue operating licenses to approved operators, thus unlocking potential revenue of R211 million.

Online gambling in South Africa remains illegal for now, but a proposal to legalise this activity sits before Parliament and has prompted polarised views on the matter.

The Remote Gambling Bill, which seeks to legalise and regulate online gambling, has been brought to Parliament by the Democratic Alliance (DA). But the department of trade and industry, in a joint press release with the National Gambling Board last week, objected to the DA’s proposal that online gambling was “not desirable” and noted there was no intention to propose the legalisation of online gambling.

Cyber police force

The DA said it would also establish a dedicated unit within the SAPS to tackle the emerging scourge of cyber crime, at a cost of R100 million

It would also make an additional investment in ICT for the police and criminal justice system, including e-dockets and data base capacity expansion, with additional expenditure of R100 million.

A report put out last year estimated that cyber-crime has a significant economic impact on South Africa, costing the country over R5.8 billion each year.

Online tenders

The DA would also implement an e-procurement system that would make it easier for small entities to register as suppliers, at a cost of R100 million.

“The system could allow small businesses to upload all the certificates and supporting documents that must accompany government tenders once a year and to submit tenders through on online system.

It would also strengthen the capacity of the Technology Innovation Agency to deliver on its mandate to provide financial and non-financial support for the development and commercialisation of competitive technology-based services and products.

The DA said it would also encourage private investment in broadband infrastructure by offering tax rebates, thereby reducing Government’s ICT revenue by R600 million.

Education

A national DA government would make additional funding (R60 million) available to encourage the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to improve access to and the quality of education.

Funding would be earmarked for, among others, online support and an online portal for learners with chatrooms where they can engage with experienced teachers; the development of interactive e-textbooks; utilising mobile technology to improve access to tuition; and exploring options for e-schooling to broaden access to education in remote rural areas.

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DA’s big tech plans for South Africa