This past weekend saw a number of schools and clinics the Mhlontlo and King Sabata Dalindyebo municipalities in the Eastern Cape receiving internet connections after the launch of the OR Tambo Broadband Project.

Officiated by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the project is part of government’s SA Connect initiative, which seeks to connect government facilities, including schools and clinics, across the country to the internet.

“This is a priority for government because technology holds the key to economic freedom. Technology provides us with a powerful tool in our struggle to overcome the legacy of apartheid dispossession and exploitation, to address our skills deficit, to create jobs and to eradicate poverty,” Ramaphosa said, adding that broadband is being rolled-out first in schools and clinics, and that e-health solutions will be available at all the clinics, improving both productivity and the quality of care.

“We are only beginning to appreciate the massive potential of technology in improving the quality, affordability and outcomes of education.”

In total, 609 sites were switched on.

Ramaphosa said government was impressed to learn that about 15 small businesses based in the two municipalities were trained and sub-contracted to install all the 609 sites.

“Universal access to broadband is critical to inclusive economic growth,” Ramaphosa said. “In many of the sectors of the economy that are undergoing rapid change as a result of the fourth industrial revolution, it is possible to provide services to global clients from almost anywhere – be it Mumbai, Mombasa, Munich or Mhlontlo. Broadband provides opportunities to improve the provision of services to communities.”

[ Image – CC Charleston’s TheDigitel]