SpaceX’s Starlink brings internet access to Kenya, while ANC’s race policy hinders connectivity for South Africans

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – DA Shadow Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies
21 Jul 2023 in News
  • While SpaceX’s Starlink satellite-based internet service is expanding its coverage to Kenya, South African regulations require SpaceX to cede 30% of its equity to ANC-connected individuals.
  • The DA wants the Minister to revise legislation and regulations to enable international investors like SpaceX to offer high-speed internet access to all South Africans
  • The DA is marching next week to call for an end to Race Quotas.

Please find attached a soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP.

Recently, SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, announced that Kenya is the next African country to gain access to Starlink, the satellite-based internet provider, showcasing a significant leap in connectivity for Kenyan residents. With faster download and upload speeds, increased competition, and lower costs, Kenyans can now enjoy greater digital access.

While other African nations such as Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Rwanda have embraced internet accessibility for all citizens, concerns have arisen regarding the ANC’s reluctance to update outdated legislation and regulations in South Africa. These regulations would require SpaceX, the parent company of Starlink, to cede 30% of its equity to ANC-connected individuals to obtain the bandwidth license.

Undeniably, there is a need to empower previously disadvantaged individuals, but the ANC’s BBBEE policies have proven ineffective, resulting in disproportionate obscene wealth accumulating to a select few ANC-connected individuals.

Despite a previous plea to the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies to amend regulations for international entities, like SpaceX, to provide fast, reliable, and affordable internet to rural areas, the ANC refused to consider the proposal on a case-by-case basis. This refusal denies South Africans the opportunity to fully participate in the digital era, ultimately affecting the most economically vulnerable communities.

In response, the DA plans to march on July 26 to call for the end of Race Quotas, which impede the growth of the private sector and hinder job creation. The party demands that the Minister promptly revise relevant legislation and regulations to enable international investors to offer high-speed internet access to all, as it is vital for access to education and skills training, especially with a concerning 60% youth unemployment rate.

Should the Minister persist in refusal, the DA will introduce a private members bill in the new Parliament, when the ANC drops below 50% support. The aim is to ensure that every resident of the country, not just ANC cadres, receives equal opportunities for success and growth.

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