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If developers have an opportunity to put fibre into a new township’s infrastructure when it is built, a new level of affordability can be achieved. DFA is active in Gauteng Province and by August 2018 had installed connections in 1 000 units. Private companies like Vodacom allocate specific budget items to rural access and in September 2017 it announced that it would zero-rate its services for university student and staff who are Vodacom subscribers. To illustrate the vastly different uses to which technology can be put, Vodacom is also developing an affordable sheep-tracking collar with farmers in the Eastern Cape. Statistics South Africa reports that nearly 60% of households in the Gauteng city region have direct access to the Internet. This provides an opportunity to both the private and public sector, but also a challenge to ensure that government improves its online services. More than 1 500 kilometres of network fibre has been connected throughout the province, with 1 066 sites such as schools, health facilities, libraries and community centres giving community members and entrepreneurs the chance to be connected with the digital world. The aim is to have 100% broadband connectivity in Gauteng by 2020. A provincial government initiative known as eKasiLabs Innovation Centres supports entrepreneurs and young people with good business ideas. Both Johannesburg and Tshwane have free Wifi networks with Tshwane’s covering 780 zones in places such as libraries, educational institutions and clinics. The Small Enterprise Development Agency runs ICT incubators in several parts of South Africa. The SoftstartBTI ICT incubator is in Midrand and Tuksnovation, a high-tech incubator, is at Pretoria University. In the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality there is the SEDA Nelson Mandela Bay ICT Incubator (SNII). A new research and development laboratory was established by SNII in 2016, focussing on apps, mechanical and technical prototypes and software solutions. SNII also hosted a national conference on “Universal Affordable Access to Communications in South Africa”. An example of

ONLINE RESOURCES Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative: www.citi.org.za Independent Communications Authority: www.icasa.org.za Information Technology Association of South Africa: www.ita.org.za State Information Technology Agency: www.sita.co.za Technology Innovation Agency: www.tia.org.za

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what can be done to reduce telecommunication costs in rural areas was presented by the University of the Western Cape, who teamed up with the Mankosi community in a rural part of the Eastern Cape to create the Zenzeleni Network. This is essentially a community telecoms company where local calls are free, data is considerably cheaper and calls to other networks half the normal cost. The Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) is providing connectivity for schools in five provinces and smart devices have been distributed to schools. There are many opportunities for employment in the sector. It is ironic that in a country with a very high unemployment rate, the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) in 2016 put the number of vacancies in software and application development, cloud computing and information security at 40 000 (Sunday Times). Training is available from organisations such as the Quad Digital Academy, a Standard Bank initiative, an ICT Incubator in Port Elizabeth run by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and from the City of Johannesburg (which runs a digital intern programme called COJEDI). Scarce skills training is offered by the City of Cape Town (in partnership with SAP Africa) in software programming. The programme is called “Western Cape Skills for Africa”.

South African Business 2019  

South African Business 2018 is a trade and investment journal for public and private entities either based in South Africa or looking to tra...

South African Business 2019  

South African Business 2018 is a trade and investment journal for public and private entities either based in South Africa or looking to tra...

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