Cwele takes up chair of international satellite communications organisation

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PRETORIA, June 15 (ANA) – South African minister of telecommunications and postal services Dr Siyabonga Cwele has been elected as the chairperson of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO).
South Africa is chairing ITSO for the first time and will hold the position for two years.
 
The SA delegation to ITSO’s 38th Assembly of Parties in Washington DC in the US is led by Cwele and includes State-owned signal distributor SENTECH CEO Mlamli Booi.
 
The ITSO has 150 member countries and is an inter-governmental organisation that facilitates the provision of public telecommunications services, including voice, data and video on a non-discriminatory basis.
“I want to express our government’s commitment to supporting the values, mission and principles of ITSO and to supporting the non-discriminatory access to satellite so to ensure provision of communication services,”Cwele said in a statement.
“We are gathered here with the common objective of ensuring long-term global coverage, global connectivity and non-discriminatory access to communication services.”
 
He added that the chairpersonship of ITSO is in line with the country’s strategic objective of playing a key role in advancing the interests of the continent and developing nations in multilateral organisations.
The ITSO chairpersonship further coincides with SENTECH finalising its business plan and funding model for a South African-owned communication satellite by “building on our national capabilities and partnerships to develop technical skills within the country”.
 
“It is our common goal to create a stronger ITSO. During the two-year chairpersonship tenure, I will facilitate a constructive, informed and open interaction among members,” said Cwele.
 
He has prioritised strengthening partnerships with other international organisations and strategic partners to help ITSO become responsive to technological changes and new developments.
“It is important for member countries to ensure the preservation of the Common Heritage in order to advance critical social goals such as the provision of bandwidth that will enable distribution of educational content, telemedicine and other important services which are of great benefit to communities in remote and rural areas,” he said.
He said the deliberation at the ongoing Assembly of Parties should ensure that ITSO is more relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
 
“The ability of satellite technology to provide ubiquitous and increasingly fast connectivity to billions of people globally is at the core of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
 
The ITSO Assembly of Parties ends on Friday.
– African News Agency (ANA)