The Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Pinky Kekana, and the chief executive officer of Broadband Infraco (BBI), Andrew Matseke, look on as Henko Erwee (seated) and Menner van der Westhuizen (left) experience the launched Internet and Wi-Fi connection at their school.
A 16-year-old Grade 11 learner at Eric Louw High School in Musina, Henko Erwee, said the presentation of six new laptops, high-definition television, free internet and Wi-Fi connections to his school would enhance learning, while at the same time transforming traditional learning methods into e-classrooms.
The handing over is part of South Africa Connect, an ambitious national broadband policy by the government that was adopted in 2013 and aims to deliver widespread broadband access to the people of South Africa. The national project was launched in Musina by the Deputy Minister of Communications, Pinky Kekana, last week.
Partners in the project include the Department of Communications, Broadband Infraco (BBI), MTN, the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), the Africa Society for Cyber Security Awareness (ASCSA), SENTECH and the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).
When handing over the equipment, Kekana said the launch came at the right time, when the government was rolling out the Special Economic Zone initiative in Musina. “Local political leadership, community stakeholders and the education fraternity should embrace this initiative because it will assist this place to become a smart city. You must take advantage of this initiative because, as a border town, it will assist you to cope well with innovative changes in this fourth-industrial-revolution world. The fact that we are launching it here in Musina should make you proud as other provinces will follow suit after you have experienced the many benefits of connectivity.”
Kekana said the initiative would prepare local learners to become future innovators. “We are proud of this school, which has been producing a 100% pass rate for many years in succession. Our visit today is part of saying thank you to the educators, learners, parents, school-governing body and all stakeholders who contributed towards your success. However, we urge you to protect the equipment against theft and vandalism.”
The principal of Eric Louw High School, Mr Johan Minnie, said the school was grateful to have been chosen as the launching pad for the massive national connectivity project. He said the presentation would encourage them to work hard and he promised they would take good care of the donated equipment.
Mr Andrew Matseke, the chief executive officer of Broadband Infraco (BBI), a state-owned company that is a major stakeholder in the project, said that 1 210 sites existed in the Vhembe District that needed to be connected, the majority of which were schools and health facilities. “We have so far connected 60 sites and are currently working on an additional 50. This means that, at the end of March this year, we will have connected a total of 110 here in Vhembe,” he concluded.