[South Africa] Government rolls out free WIFI in Eastern Cape targeting students, small businesses
The local communities of Sterkspruit, just outside Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape, will now be able to connect their cellphones to the free WiFi that was officially launched by Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Among other things, the free WiFi is set to help students to search for information on the internet and entrepreneurs to market their businesses and products to other provinces and to the outside world.
Speaking after unveiling the plaque for the J.G Connect WiFi at the Joe Gqabi District Municipality buildings in Sterkspruit, Ndabeni-Abrahams said the local communities should thank the municipality for the initiative.
“You can use the WiFi to grow your business and to conduct research on the internet, but you need to make sure that you are knowledgeable on how to use the WiFi and constantly improve your skills. This is an opportunity to be internet service providers,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
She also warned the locals that they should be careful when using the internet as their information can be stolen or fall into the wrong hands and used in the wrong way.
“The information that you store or put in your cellphones can be used to harm you. We want to caution you that you should not go to prohibited sites,” the Minister said.
A Grade 10 learner at a local school, Siya Qozo, said he is happy with the free WiFi as this was going to enable him to communicate with friends and access the internet. “As a student, I could not afford to buy data. I thank our municipality for bringing us the free WiFi,” Siya said.
According to Siya, the free WiFi will make his studies much easier as he will now be able to search for information on the internet. Echoing the similar sentiments was Sinethembe Salman, a local resident in Sterkspruit, said he would now use the free WiFi to communicate with friends and relatives especially those that are far.
“Our lives are going to change for the better, we will now be able to access the internet for the news,” Salman said.
The J.G connect project or initiative is the Joe Gqabi District Municipality’s WiFi service intended to provide free internet services to students, residents and entrepreneurs within the jurisdiction of the municipality.
According to the municipality, 500 users will be registered for the pilot phase on a first-come first-serve basis. The users will be made up of 70 percent learners and 30 percent from the consumers of municipal services.
Prior to launching the free WiFi, Ndabeni-Abrahams visited the local taxi rank to encourage the locals to clean up their environment. The Minister led by example and rolled-up her sleeves and got down to work, cleaning up the taxi rank by picking up litter.
This was in line with the Good Green Deeds campaign officially launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Mdantsane, East London in the Eastern Cape.
The Good Green Deeds programme is a ground-breaking environmental awareness programme that seeks to mobilise all sectors in South Africa to become more environmentally conscious.
Littering, illegal dumping, pollution and other harmful activities have ill effects on the natural environment as well as the quality of life and health of communities. The focus of the programme is on promoting sustainable waste management practices such as recycling.
It also aims to galvanise the society at large to change their behaviour around the environment and learn to prevent and reduce waste and pollution by cleaning South Africa.
The Department of Environmental Affairs, working in collaboration with other government departments, hopes the campaign will be the largest and most impactful public environmental awareness campaign the country has seen.