Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Says South Africa Plans to Launch Communications Satellite

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Says South Africa Plans to Launch Communications Satellite

  • The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies said South Africa will develop a communication satellite
  • Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni announced that the satellite will be used for telecommunications
  • She did not give a date of when the launch of the communication satellite will kick-off but South Africans are skeptical

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PRETORIA - Plans are underway for South Africa to develop a communication satellite. The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni made the announcement on Wednesday 18 May.

The satellite will be used for telecommunications, broadcasting, weather forecasting, navigation, scientific research, and earth observation. Ntshavheni said the communication satellite will reduce the cost to institutions.

South Africa, Satellite, Communications and Digital Technologies minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
The Communications and Digital Technologies Minister says South Africa is ready to develop a communications satellite. Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg & Getty
Source: Getty Images

While delivering a budget speech vote before a parliamentary committee Ntshavheni said the satellite will enhance the country’s broadband connectivity reach. News24 reported that it will be in line with the 2016 Cabinet decision.

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The communication satellite will be launched through Sentech in partnership with National Space Agency and other key stakeholders. The proposal has been in place for many years and was detailed in the summary report by the commission of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2020. Minister Ntshavheni did not give a timeline for when the project will officially kick-off, according to BusinessTech.

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South Africans unimpressed

Social media users were skeptical about the satellite project and questioned how much it would cost:

@gpreller said:

“One person’s communications satellite is another person’s spy satellite. We are yet to hear what happened to R1 bn we paid the Russians to launch a satellite for SA. Russia says it was already launched into space, But SA cannot find it. Did it ever exist? And the R1bn?”

@newdennis wrote:

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“SA is capable of satellite technology but lacks the leadership to ensure project success.”

@Danger2911 posted:

“What could go wrong?”

@mseepye commented:

“Imagine the cost of this satellite if the flagpole costs R22m.”

@JordanVevers added:

“We can't even maintain the power grid or water grid & most key infrastructure but hey let's send a satellite into space.”

Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has ambitious plans to connect all South Africans to the internet in 4 years

In a related matter, Briefly News also reported the South African government has launched a development project that will see South Africa manufacturing state-owned satellites to connect all citizens to the digital space. Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies plans to see this project coming to fruition in the next three to four years.

A satellite project of this magnitude usually takes eight to 10 years to complete, however, Ntshavheni says the department is working towards finding ways to expedite the project, according to BusinessTech.

Source: Briefly News

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