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The 2018 South African General Household Survey indicated that only 10.4% of households nation-wide have access to the internet. Yet, most interventions to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 induced lockdown have relied heavily on digital-based innovations. Online learning, remote work and digital hangout sessions have become the norm, even though the use of mobile internet access devices only sits at 45% in rural areas, 67.5% in metros, and 63.7% in urban areas.

In 2016 the United Nations put forward a resolution that indicated the importance of applying a comprehensive human rights-based approach when providing and expanding access to the internet. It also called for the internet to be open and accessible.

Considering that large parts of South Africa still remain a legacy of intractable socio-economic disparities, does the current modus-operandi of accessing internet in South Africa exclude the most vulnerable; and will it worsen the already stark inequalities that exist within our education system? Will some learners be left behind simply because their parents need to choose between data and bread?

If access to information, education and freedom of speech are human rights, can access to the internet be considered an extension of that? If so, whose responsibility is it to provide that access? And to what extent?

Join us LIVE on our Facebook page on Thursday, 4 June 2020 at 19h00 to be part of this Critical Dialogue and engage in this discussion that impacts the lives of all South Africans.


RSVP now to be a part of this critical conversation & to be notified of our panellists. 

PANELIST

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Martin van Staden

Writer, commentator, and jurist

PANELIST

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Onica N. Makwakwa

Head of Africa, Alliance for Affordable Internet World Wide Web Foundation

PANELIST

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Lazola Kati

National Communication Rights Focus Organizer, Right2Know Campaign

PANELIST

Pam Brown
Adv. Tseliso Thipanyane

Chief executive officer, South African Human Rights Commission

FACILITATOR

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Jan Vermeulen

Editor-at-Large: MyBroadband

PANELIST:

Martin van Staden

Writer, commentator, and jurist

Martin van Staden is a writer, commentator, and jurist. He is the Head of Legal at the Free Market Foundation and the Editor in Chief of a classically liberal group of publications under the Being Libertarian LLC brand, an American company. In addition, Martin is the Chief Advisor for Legal Policy on BridgeAfrica’s Board of Advisors, and is pursuing a master’s degree in law at the University of Pretoria. Martin has presented evidence to Parliament and led amicus curiae evidence before the Constitutional Court. His academic writings have appeared in the law journal De Rebus and the Canadian economics journal Econ Journ Watch. He has also written multiple books, the most recently published of which is The Constitution and the Rule of Law: An Introduction (2019). He was also the principal co-author of The Real Digital Divide: South Africa’s Information and Communication Technologies Policy (2017). For the popular media, his work often appears in Business Day, The Star, City Press, and Business Brief. He also appears regularly on eNCA, SABC, and other radio and television channels.

Tune in to the Cornerstone Institute Facebook page.

PANELIST:

Onica N. Makwakwa

Head of Africa, Alliance for Affordable Internet World Wide Web Foundation

Leads the multi-stakeholder engagement across Africa for the Alliance for Affordable Internet focusing on advancing good practices in policy and regulatory frameworks for affordable access to broadband.

A consumer, civil and digital rights advocate, Onica has managed and pioneered various national and international campaigns and policy change processes for women’s rights, civil rights, consumer rights, media and digital transformation initiatives. She brings a strong sensitivity and unique perspective to the dynamics affecting women, and other disadvantaged populations.

PANELIST:

Lazola Kati

National Communication Rights Focus Organizer

Bachelor in social sciences majoring in political and international relations. Post graduate diploma in political and international relations with specific focus on security studies and diplomacy. Pan-Africanist and African feminist. Digital activists who believes in the digital era access to internet for all is a fundamental right.  

She has worked for organizations such as Sonke Gender Justice, corporate companies such as Business and Arts South Africa and now is the national campaigner on communication rights for the Right 2 Know campaign.

PANELIST:

Adv. Tseliso Thipanyane

Chief executive officer, South African Human Rights Commission

Chief executive officer of the South African Human Rights Commission and former chief executive officer of the Safer South Africa Foundation. Spent over 13 years in the SAHRC as head of research, mainly responsible for the monitoring of economic and social rights and access to information rights, before becoming the chief executive officer.  Former researcher on criminal justice at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a former law lecturer at the University of the Western Cape (criminal procedure), Columbia University Law School, New York (African human rights systems), Ramapo College of New Jersey (African politics and Human Rights). Has numerous publications on human rights issues and has presented conference papers in over twenty countries in Africa, Europe, America and Asia.  Admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Lesotho and South Africa and served on the project committee on child justice of the then SA Law Commission. Advisory Board member of the Executive Committee of the Council for the Advancement of South Africa’s Constitution (CASAC) and former board member of the Open Democracy Advise Centre (ODAC) and Children’s Institute.

FACILITATOR:

Jan Vermeulen

Editor-at-Large: MyBroadband

Jan Vermeulen is an investigative technology journalist and MyBroadband’s Editor-at-large. After receiving a Computer Engineering degree at the University of Pretoria he worked at SAAB’s Civil Security division as an engineer and developer. He then moved to MyBroadband to pursue a career that combined his interest in technology and his love of explaining complex topics in everyday language. He covers a wide range of news from smartphones and other gadgets, to telecommunications and information security.

His work as an investigative journalist uncovered the large-scale theft of valuable African Internet resources by an AFRINIC insider. AFRINIC has reclaimed a portion of the stolen resources and ultimately fired the insider, but much remains unresolved and the investigation continues.

For more information, email rsvp@cornerstone.ac.za or call 021 448 0050.