The Minister of Telecommunication and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele visited some of the sites that are going to be connected to the internet in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality in the North West as part of implementing Phase One of the rollout of broadband or fast, reliable, secure and affordable internet.
Government has undertaken to connect its offices across the country, starting in the rural areas, to ensure that South Africans have access to the most modern communications tools and services and that they are able to use them to accelerate the socio-economic development. The department has been mandated to implement this undertaking as government implements programmes aimed at realising the future envisaged in the National Development Plan. The Department is implementing South Africa Connect, the country’s broadband policy, to meet the technology goals of the NDP that include creating an inclusive information society.
President Jacob Zuma announced during his 2015 State Of The Nation Address that government will priorities the rollout of broadband in eight rural district municipalities. In the North West, he identified the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality was identified.
“The Internet drives socio-economic development and globalisation. As Government, our aim is to ensure that we connect all citizens to the internet, including those who live on farms. While South Africa compares well in relation to other countries in terms of broadband infrastructure rollout, this infrastructure does not yet reach everyone and those who have access are not using it optimally,” said Minister Cwele. He said government is working towards being in the top 25 countries in the world in the use and access to technology for socio-economic development. The Mayor of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Councillor Boitumelo Moloi said the municipality has budgeted R10 million to rollout Wi Fi Hotspots across the district. She added that the municipality has also established a 24 hour call centre that links citizens to public services. She added that the call centre is staffed by technically skilled agents who are able to respond to service delivery needs of the citizens in the district in the shortest possible time.
“We are a municipality that has big dreams that are located in long-term planning. We want to be a smart city. Our district has mining towns that are in decline and we decided to move our economy towards services of the future. Our Wi Fi Hotspots will offer free 500 megs per month per device while access to educational sites will be unlimited,” said Cllr North West MEC for Education and Sport Maphefo Matsemela welcomed the connecting of schools to the internet.
“We have noticed that schools that are connected to the internet have better results compared to other schools. We are happy that government is planning to connect all schools and other government institutions over the next few years,” she said. Minister Cwele said the rollout of Phase One is scheduled to run over three years, starting this year. “We have learnt from the experiences of other countries that planning is the most crucial part in the successful implementation of massive projects such as the rollout of broadband infrastructure. We know that infrastructure is currently duplicated around major cities, town and the major roads. It does not reach everyone where ever they choose to live. “We welcome the ICT initiatives and commitments of this district and province. Our role is to build on what already exists. Looking at the terrain in this district, it will be easier to connect it compared to other districts that we have visited,” he said. Minister Cwele added that Telkom will work with other State-Owned Companies and, where possible, the private sector to ensure a speedy connection government facilities to fast, reliable and always available internet.
The Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services
16 July 2015