Speech by the Honourable Minister of Communications,
Mr Radhakrishna L Padayachie (Roy), MP at the opening of the Impendle Community Communications Centre
12 May 2011
Mayor of Impendle: Ms Sizakele Makhaye
Mayors of municipalities from district
Distinguished Councilors and leaders of political parties
Diginitaries: Chair of Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) and management
CEO of National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) and management
IInkosi from local area
Community and business leaders
School principals and members of governing bodies
Members of the information communication technology (ICT) industry present
Ladies and gentleman
This has been a very busy week for the Ministry and Department of Communications.
We started on Sunday with the handing over of wheelchairs and blankets to the community of Isikaweni, near Richards Bay.
On Monday we opened a Cyber Lab at Maphophoma Primary School in Nongoma, where we handed 20 computers, loaded with educational software, a printer, screen and projector. We did the same yesterday for the learners and teachers at Mzingwezwi Secondary School, and community of Ndwedwe.
Tomorrow, Friday, we are visiting Msinga, where we will be switching on low power transmitters which will afford the community from Msinga Tops, Tugela Ferry, Keats Drift and surrounding areas to access, for the very first time SABC Television and radio. This would not have been possible without the participation of Sentech, which provided the transmitters and our public broadcaster, the SABC. At the same time, broadband connectivity will be made available to connect the schools and the clinic in the area.
The Department of Communications last year formed a partnership with the Msinga Local Municipality, the private sector and state-owned enterprises to start what will become a model of government and private partnership in providing services. This project is a drive to connect the local municipality with its communities, which is spread over a vast area and largely lacking ICT services and infrastructure.
When concluded, the project will deliver a range of ICT services, which will, combined, ensure that the municipality has access to 100% ICT services. This will include: a 100% GSM coverage in all the towns, villages and roads; a 70% wireless broadband in all the towns and villages, and internet connectivity to all the schools, health centres, libraries and other government institutions; and a 100% coverage of South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) channels.
Programme director, please allow me to elaborate on why we are here today. Thank you for according us the opportunity to be here in Impendle to open the Impendle Communications Center.
This programme is borne out of our commitment as a government, to bring information and communications technologies and connectivity to all our citizens, irrespective of where they find themselves – in order to ensure that all South African’s have access to governmetn services. This is enshrined in our constitution, our Bill of Rights and in the Universal Service and Access Goals.
This is not just a duty – this government is commitment to ensuring that our people’s lives improve for the better. Better services, better communities, better access! An improved quality of life – through ICTs.
We are indeed proud of the fact that the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency to which we belong as a country has declared the theme for the celebration of World Telecommunications and Information society day: “Better life for rural communities with ICTs”.
Ladies and gentlemen, anyone involved in the ICT sector/ e-services will be familiar with the challenge: A new technology is introduced into a school/ a community/ a lab – this is accompanied by a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but over time it does not quite get utilised in the way the proponents anticipated. Understanding the reasons behind this is central to enhancing our effectiveness.
As government we have partnered with the private sector, in what is known as public-private partnership – but what has been missing, quite a critical component is the people-centred public-private partnership.
What we give you today – is not just another channel and technology – but we want to create a village that can wake up tomorrow to new possibilities, a community that can create opportunities to uplift itself.
Connecting communities is one of the key priority areas in the government response to growth management.
Government is commitment to doing the right thing – to deploy this kind of communications infrastructure with sufficient bandwidth that the best in class economies, with no differentiation from a person in Durban, Howick or Johannesburg- because we are the same government that is committed to serving you.
Therefore doing the thing right means realising a far bigger legacy than mere pipes in the ground or lines from here to Durban. It means connecting communities and citizens – as one nation! connecting Impendle, means there are opportunities where all not only access the high speed network but use it confidently and is accessible and affordable. This is what ‘bridging the digital divide ’ means.
The digital programme, which we advocate as the Department of Communications (DOC), requires action not just by politicians or public servants but by all of us.
I am happy to note the volunteers and the keenness by both the private and public sectors and indeed in our communities, to ensure that in this new digital era no one is left behind. What we are unveiling today, and handing over to you is the key to access more and more services online.
DOC role/ mandate:
The Department of Communications is committed:
- To enhance employment prospects of young people by improving their ICT skills through further education and training.
- To provide young people with opportunity to render service in their communities by assisting their communities to access government service through the use of information and communications technologies (ICT’s)
- To facilitate economic opportunities through employment for the youth participating in this programme
- To promote voluntarism amongst young people and bring about experiential exposure
- To ensure that all in society have equal chances- especially women and people with disability.
This launch underpins three pillars of government’s five priority areas: skilling our nation, providing connectivity as part of rural development, and contributing to job creation by promoting small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) development.
This launch marks an important milestone in our lives today, whilst focussing on the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day; we also focus on the pro-poor delivery of service to create a better life for the people.
We are committed to job creation, and we committed to bring the necessary tools that will make it possible to create sustainable jobs.
Today the people of Impendle and all the surrounding areas witness a new beginning, a new born baby, which is the Impendle Community Communications Centre.
This community communications centre will in doubt enhance the opportunities of growing the economy for the people of KwaZulu-Natal through contribution of acquisition and utilisation of ICTs skills and knowledge needed to make life a pleasure.
The centre is powered with the training facility for ICTs skills, photography and multimedia skills no doubt services that one can utilise in all facets of life.
Amongst others, the centre offers services like internet cafe, telephonic, photocopying, binding and e-mail services which will keep you in contact with the world.
The department will facilitate training of community members and in particular, youth and people with disability to make life a pleasure to live.
As we join force in our People-centered, Public Private Partnership (PPPP) the department also expects the people of Impendle and the surrounding communities to look after the centre, and provide good management and protection of the facilities so as to benefit the present and future generations to come.
The good management of the centre will result in the centre being self-sustaining through generating income from the service offered, and in return contribute to the economy of the region.
I am happy to announce and introduce to you a young man, with great aspiration – he comes from this area, a son of the soil, a brother and your new Centre manager: Mr Mlondi Mchunu.
Programme director, allow me to remind that in his State of the Nation Address, the President of the Republic Mr Jacob G Zuma emphasised the need for partnership between government, business and the community to attain the socio and economic development goals of our country.
I must emphasise that there is no better way of partnership than the one commencing today with the People of Impendle and all the regions of KwaZulu-Natal.
In conclusion honourable guest, I wish to emphasize that the development of our communities will be accelerated by the uptake and usage of ICTs to make life better for all.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Communications
12 May 2011
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