Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul at the Free Wi-Fi launch,Thusong Service Centre - Telecentre, Augrabies

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council present
Mayor and Councillors present
Senior Officials of Government
Representative of Think Wi-Fi
Members of the Media
Community of Kai Garib
Ladies and gentlemen

I keep stressing with my engagements with especially young people that information is power. Today more than ever this is confirmed that the access to information is one of the greatest assets a person can possess. It therefore goes without saying that I am ecstatic to be part of this ground-breaking initiative spearheaded by GCIS and made possible by Think Wi-Fi. I am confident that you will join me in expressing our gratitude to Think Wi-Fi for this community beneficiation programme. Initiatives bear testimony that we are on the right track with the vision that we have articulated of building a Modern, Growing and Successful Province.

It also gives us great pleasure that we have been called upon to play host to the National Thusong Service week programme this year under the theme, ”Growing South Africa together for an Ethical Public Service”, with the key purpose to revive the provision of service delivery here. Many of you that have had the opportunity to access this centre and the services know what the aim of this wonderful programme is and the various services this vehicle can deliver to our citizenry. We do however know that the programme also faces many challenges, more especially here in our province.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Technologies are emerging and affecting our lives in ways you cannot imagine. It therefore becomes very important that Government, together with private stakeholders such as Think Wi-Fi join hands to bridge the digital divide by ensuring that everyone in the country has affordable access to Information Communication Technologies, particularly our people living in the rural areas. Through this initiative I am confident that the learners here in Augrabies will now have access to the same educational content as a learner in a well-resourced school in the big cities such as Johannesburg. Through availing free Wi-Fi, the learners can now optimally utilise the telecentre by not only relying on textbooks but also making use of relevant content that can be made available via the internet. 

Dames en here, die beskikbaarheid van gratis internet aan ons gemeenskappe het soveel meer impak as wat ons besef. Hierdie gebaar maak die wêreld oop aan ons kinders. Dit gee ons die unieke geleentheid om hul kennis te verbreed en stel ons bloot aan soveel inligting wat ons ten voordeel van die ontwikkeling van onsself en ons gemeenskap kan gebruik.

Hierdie inisiatief bied ons ook ‘n venster op die wêreld wat wyer as net Augrabies, die Noordkaap en Suid Afrika is. Dit bring die wêreld tot reg voor ons deure en stel ons in staat om by te hou met die res van die wêreld in terme van inligting en ook tegnologie.

Met die goed kom ook die sleg en dit is so dat die internet ook ons, van ons werk kan hou, met goed wat geen voordeel inhou vir ons. Die kyk van videos soos tiktok, youtube en ander sosiale platforms roof ons nie net van waardevolle data en tyd nie, maar dit lei ons gedagte af en dit hou geen voordeel in nie. Daar is ook material op hierdie platforms wat geweld, dwelm misbruik en ander sosiale probleme bevorder en dit aantreklik maak. Ons moet dus baie versigtig is wat ons op die internet kyk en waarna ons soek en naslaan. Ek doen dus ‘n beroep op julle om hierdie voordeel wat vir bevordering van kennis wat ons lewens sal verbeter met groot verantwoordelikheid te gebruik.

I want to encourage the broader community to take advantage of the opportunities that Internet access offers. It offers you the opportunity to improve and develop yourself by improving your life, by unlocking the power of information and opportunities. It also provides community members, parents and children a chance to access government information and access newspapers or other sources in which jobs are advertised. These facilities will have a positive impact in not only providing the necessary academic support that our learners need to pass but our learners can also use these resources to review university admission and even access to information on scholarships and financial aid. You are now offered the opportunity to fulfill your dreams of becoming doctors, scientists, biologists and even pursuing careers in information communication technology, which is a rare skill in South Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen, last year during the Thusong Service week event that was held in Cape Town; the Northern Cape Office of the Premier made a presentation showcasing a “Thusong Service Centre of the future”, that totally impressed the participants. Through this we want to take the Thusong Service Centre to our cellphones, meaning that wherever you are, you will be able to access these services. Partnerships such as these will enable us to re-think service delivery and the Thusong Service Centre Programme. We are also vigorously reaching out to industry for new partners that can assist in growing and sustaining this Thusong programme as well as maintaining the centres.

At the same time, we are also strengthening our partnership with our sector department as well as our district and local municipalities as we grow from strength to strength in ensuring effective and efficient service delivery.

The future is upon us and we must bridge the digital divide. This Telecentre is one way of doing that. We consider this a very important programme of Government and will therefore continue to engage municipalities to establish at the very least, one Thusong Centre per municipality. This is even more important now during this Covid- 19 pandemic and in line with our provincial vision of a modern, growing and successful province as well as the priority area of “A capable, ethical and developmental state”.  

As I conclude, I want to once more thank the GCIS for piloting this Wi-Fi programme in our Province and for your commitment to the Thusong Service programmeas well as Think Wi-Fi for the bold initiative. Government cannot succeed on its own. Partnerships and contributions such as these have the potential to double the efforts of our democracy and achieve that better life that we want for our people.

I want to encourage our youth and more especially the matric class of 2020 to grab these opportunities presented to you in earnest. This will empower you to fully take charge of your future and to positively contribute to the development of our Province.

Once more, my profound gratitude on behalf of the Provincial Government and the people of Kai Garib for enabling our children to become part of the digital and information revolution.

I thank you

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