South Africa’s Digital Landscape: Is the issue of zero-rating on the to-do list of political parties contesting this year’s elections?

This year we need bold public policies to break cycles of intergenerational poverty and grow our economy. But a review of 13 political party manifestos shows politicians still lack the inspiration to do this. Let’s look at the issue of zero-rating: while expanding fast internet access to schools and reducing the cost of data are on some of their agenda, they are not explicitly advocating for the zero-rating of content and services that could improve the lives of the poorest among us.

The ANC’s manifesto, champions a holistic digital approach with a strong emphasis on universal broadband access in schools, infrastructure investment and skills development for the local digital sector.

The DA’s rescue plan calls for universal internet access for schools, recognising the vital role affordable data plays in delivering quality education.

The EFF manifesto presents the most radical of proposals with a direct assault on expensive data, focusing on making educational apps free and providing 40GB monthly to off-campus students.

The FF+ commits to breaking down connectivity barriers by focusing on wider broadband access nationally, aligning with GOOD’s commitment to accelerating fibre rollout and reducing data costs and Action-SA’s pledge to invest in infrastructure projects for affordable and high-speed internet.

RISE Mzansi commits to localised connectivity with investment in network infrastructure for low-cost internet, recognising the role of connectivity in education and community services. While Bosa’s school-centric approach commits to a massive rollout programme of broadband connectivity and computer centres in all South African schools.

Al-Jamah says it wants to provide free data to all citizens to empower every individual with access to the internet.

However, the ACDP, UDM and ATM remain silent on the topic of digital access.

Learn more about why zero-rating is a vital component to lift South Africans out the equality trap.

Visit DGMT’s Zero-rating campaign page to learn more about zero-rating and how you can make your voice heard.

DGMT has developed some learning briefs throughout the years. Click on the links below to read them.

Lessons from zero-rated sites.

Learn more

Building on gains made during the COVID pandemic.

Learn more

Enabling distance learning in lower quintile schools.

Learn more

Restoring and maintaining the home as a site of learing.

Learn more

Lessons from social innovators developing e-platforms.

Learn more
Share this post

Get the latest news & updates:

Select the specific themes and topics that interest you:

Other news and articles: