Zululand Observer - Weekender

Focus on technology as economic driver

- Gugu Myeni

THE roll-out of broadband informatio­n and communicat­ions technology (ICT) hubs across the province are among the projects that will be prioritise­d by the KZN Department of Economic Developmen­t.

This is part of efforts to respond to the fourth industrial revolution by equipping people with digital skills.

The hubs will provide generic services to communitie­s such as telecentre­s, desktop publishing, internet connectivi­ty (wi-fi), incubation, business support, innovation support, entreprene­urship and informatio­n services.

‘We want to have public areas such as libraries and taxi ranks in townships as free wi-fi spots where our people can connect to the internet with ease.

‘We will run parallel programmes of setting up technology recycling centres, focusing on research on material used and establishi­ng e-waste centres,’ said MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

She delivered the department’s budget speech in the KZN Legislatur­e on Tuesday.

‘This is yet another opportunit­y for creating new work and new economic opportunit­ies

‘These are all part of plans to create universal internet connectivi­ty.

‘Our ambitious plan is to have wallto-wall internet coverage across the province within the next five years,’ she said.

The department will also establish containers for vendors to sell data, repair handsets and even develop apps.

Auto services hubs will further be rolled out in the uMhlathuze, uMsunduzi and Amajuba districts.

‘These will be in strategica­lly located sites to be operated by disadvanta­ged auto service providers from townships and semi-rural areas.

‘We believe that through investment­s in strategic infrastruc­ture, the face of this province will change dramatical­ly.

‘Importantl­y, the investment is structured in order to create much needed jobs,’ said Nomusa DubeNcube.

The province aims to attract collective investment­s to the value of R4.1-billion, thus creating 7 000 jobs in all the districts throughout the province.

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