Manuel forgoes ICT

Kimberly Guest
By Kimberly Guest, ITWeb contributor
Pretoria, 20 Feb 2008

In what is rumoured in political circles to be his penultimate budget speech, finance minister Trevor Manuel this afternoon had nothing to say about ICT.

Speaking in Parliament, Manuel instead focused on the health of SA's economy and policies, delivering on its social mandate, dealing with a new energy-efficient regime and a variety of tax issues.

However, National Treasury's budget review and estimates of national expenditure for 2008 reveal Sentech will again see "some" money.

The documents reflect Infraco will receive total funding of R1.4 million up to 2011/2012, and political laggards the Independent Communications Authority of SA and the Universal Service and Access Agency of SA will need to maintain a tight belt.

Back in 2007...

In contrast, Manuel's 2007 budget speech made several references to investment in ICT.

These included an additional R2.4 billion allocation to the police to "further expand police numbers and invest in technology and forensic equipment". This allocation was aimed at ensuring electronic fingerprints and dockets become the norm by 2010, among others.

Manuel announced the Department of Justice would receive a further R1.5 billion over the following three years to improve court capacity, reduce case backlogs and modernise the administration of justice. The SA Revenue Services would receive R1.3 billion to upgrade core IT systems.

Science and technology also saw a mention, with R1.2 billion set aside for projects such as the Square Kilometre Array and the South African Research Network.

Although no monetary values were attributed, Sentech and Infraco also received mentions in the 2007 budget speech.

Related stories:
Electricity to be taxed
Infraco gets R1.4bn
Tax boost for small business
Sentech budget slashed
No respite for ICASA, USAASA
Budget holds ICT promises