South Africa: Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Buti Manamela to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – Education for Justice Initiative Global Hackathon Symantec Headquarters, Mountain View, California, USA


Programme Director
Representative of the State of Qatar – Dr Saif Al-Kuwari
HR Business Partner from Symantec – Ms Kara Jordan
HR Analyst from Symantec – Ms Claire Santucci
Representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Participating teams in the Global Hackathon

It is my pleasure to provide some remarks at the opening of the Education for Justice Initiative Global Hackathon 2018. I wish to thank Symantec for graciously hosting us in this place that we always hear about – Silicon Valley.  The place of inventions. The place where products are being created that will plan and direct our futures. 

I also wish to thank the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for spearheading the Education for Justice Initiative and organising the Global Hackathons. 

I am extremely proud to lead the young South African delegation to this Hackathon. Silicon Valley is far removed from their daily lives. Many come from impoverished communities and difficult backgrounds.  Many come from households that do not have a computer.  But they have the resolve to learn new skills and charter a different course for their future. 

Through the work of Africa Teens Geeks, these young people have been taught computer literacy, coding and advanced programming skills. Their participation in the various programmes has opened up a new world for them – a world full of possibilities. So as they come to Silicon Valley, their disadvantage in life will not hold them back. They are able to compete with the best as they will demonstrate in the Hackathon.

While Africa may lag behind from developed countries in terms of the technological and IT revolution, organisations like Africa Teen Geeks are working hard to close that gap.  As Africa’s largest computer science education non-profit, Africa Teen Geeks is expanding its programme to Zimbabwe and Cameroon.  It is also working with the South African government to develop coding, robotics and megatronics curriculum for South African schools.

You may not know this but Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, got his primary and high school education in South Africa.  Companies such as Mimecast, Thawte and GetSmarter Paypal, were founded and developed by South Africans.  Tech entrepreneurship is important to our country and we are supporting this through funding as well as business incubation.  We want to see more South African tech companies going global.

We are also concerned about drugs, crime, cybercrime and its interconnections.

Over the last decade, South Africa has seen an increase in the levels of drugs and crime, particularly cybercrime. The internet has revolutionised our lives and made it easier to connect and expanded our knowledge base. But it is the same internet that has contributed to human trafficking, cyber fraud and other related crimes.  Unfortunately young people have been at the forefront of these crimes – both as perpetrators but mostly as victims. 

It is within this context that the UNODC’s Education for Justice Initiative becomes critical and most relevant.  The Global Hackathons are important vehicles for raising awareness of the problem, enhancing the skills base of the young participants and developing tech solutions to address the problem. I had the opportunity of participating in the Global Hackathon held in Johannesburg in 2017. I was amazed by the creativity, innovation and passion of the young participants. So I have seen and I know how important these events are.

Over the next days we will see these wonderful teams of dedicated young people develop games and apps that educate their peers about cyber and internet security issues.  We look forward to receiving their presentations on Wednesday.

I want to wish Team USA, Team Bolivia, Team Indonesia and of course Team South Africa all the best for their participation in Global Hackathon 2018. As you participate and compete against each other, remember that youth development and the fight for cyber and internet security are the main winners.

I wish you well.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information
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Source: South Africa

July 11 (Wednesday), 2018 |

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