The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has unveiled a programme to empower youth from the remote areas of the country by giving out laptops with internet connectivity.
The public-private partnership between mobile operator MTN and the department has been working with various municipalities and community youth centres to ensure that the project is a success.
“There is a growing need to build capacity around the skills of the future and contribute towards the digital economy.
“This is a perfect opportunity for communities to get exposure to opportunities available in the sector. We are looking forward to growing this initiative. This growth can only be achieved through private and public partnership,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said on Thursday.
The Minister hopes that this partnership will improve the gateway to information and technology for remote and rural communities.
She said the next step is to explore making available online short courses that can improve skills and livelihoods.
Ndabeni-Abrahams has also donated tablets to traditional leaders represented by the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) at the MTN headquarters in Randburg, Johannesburg.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister, Obed Bapela, NHTL Chairperson Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu and his deputy Inkosikazi Nomandla Mhlauli received the tablets.
The Minister thanked MTN for offering the mobile devices to traditional leaders to help them access information, which is at the heart of the department’s mandate.
“The devices will enable them to benefit from the department’s SA Connect Programme, which seeks to roll out broadband connectivity across all underserviced areas in the country,” the Minister said.
The handover follows the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies and the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to facilitate the rapid deployment of electronic communications and facilities within municipalities across the country.
Ndabeni–Abrahams said broadband has the potential to transform rural economies.
“It can overcome many of the challenges of distance and isolation. It can be immensely empowering. Broadband provides them with information, access and choice.”