The City of Joburg has announced that it will allocate part of a R1.2 billion 2015/16 budget to its plans to create more than 1 000 free WiFi hotspots by the end of 2016.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance councillor Geoffrey Makhubo delivered the City of Joburg budget speech this morning at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Makhubo’s speech was very general and the budget allocations were not as clearly laid out as the City of Tshwane budget speech, so we don’t know exactly how much of tax payer’s money the city will be putting into the project.

What Makhubo did say was that the city’s Good Governance Cluster, which strives to improve the lives of citizens by delivering quality and efficient services including free WiFi, receives a total of R7.8 billion for the 2015/16 financial year.

R1.2 billion of that amount will be given to the group’s corporate and shared services operations which focuses on key areas such as WiFi hotspots, renewal of computer hardware city wide, software and ICT infrastructure modernisation.

“In today’s world universal access to digital communication is becoming as vital as access to water and electricity services. Access to internet and technology will help entrepreneurs and business thrive,” Makhubo said.

Other flagship programs under the cluster, including the Digital Ambassadors Program which tasks Joburg youths with promoting digital literacy among citizens, will receive R1.3 billion.

The city’s total budget for the financial year is R52.6 billion, up by R5.6 billion from last year’s R47 billion budget.