A response to the novel coronavirus from the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services: directives on digital technologies and access to information during South Africa’s national state of disaster and lockdown.
Publication title: Electronic communications, postal and broadcasting directions/regulations
Author(s): Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services
Publication date: 26 March 2020
These are directives on the use of and access to digital technologies during South Africa’s state of disaster and lockdown period. The government notice identifies communications and broadcasting as essential tools in tackling the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The document clarifies how digital technologies can be used to support the efforts of the health and education sectors together with local government during South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown.
- Information and updates on South Africa’s coronavirus response should be made available in all local languages, including sign language.
- Information identified as “fake news” (i.e. intentionally deceptive statements) should be removed from platforms. COVID-19 related fake news (including disinformation, misinformation and malinformation) can be reported to the department of telecommunications and postal services.
- Websites with a “.za” domain name should link to the South Africa COVID-19 Coronavirus Resource Portal on a landing page. This includes those ending in “.co.za” and “.org.za”.
- Individuals infected with COVID-19 can be tracked and traced using the South Africa Post Office’s national address database, together with other sources from government and the private sector. These tools can also be used to find people who have been in direct contact with infected individuals.
- The education sector will be supported by making virtual teaching more accessible during the state of disaster. This involves providing zero-rated access to local educational content websites and providing connectivity to 104 virtual classroom platforms.
- Key government installations (such as any local government functions) will be supported by any excess capacities from state owned companies with fibre during the state of disaster. These companies include Broadband Infraco, Sentech and Transnet.
- The minister of social development and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will be supported by the South African Post Office and the South African Postbank to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the payment of social grants.
- People can’t port their mobile numbers for the duration of the state of disaster. And licensed companies can’t increase their prices during this period either.
[Please note: Information on the new coronavirus is rapidly changing. Please refer to the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services for the latest information. Visit www.sacoronavirus.co.za for updates on South Africa’s coronavirus response.]