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BB4All fostering relationsin the Sekhukhune region

posted Feb 9, 2011, 12:07 AM by   [ updated Feb 9, 2011, 12:18 AM ]

“In the olden days, in rural areas, men used to work in the mines or cities away from homes, and could only see their wives and children once a year. There was no means of communication or knowing their whereabouts and in this way, men left families in the care of their neighbours. Due to the lack of communication technologies, they could not even alert their families and neighbours when they had to come back home.”

Councillor L Leseloane, Mayor of the Elias Motswaledi Local Municipality, opened the Broadband for All (BB4All)-Sekhukhune workshop with this story, and stressed the value of technology in the lives of people today. He emphasised that the utilisation of modern technology provides for communication with loved ones. He also asserted that it can create employment and welcomed the contribution of the Department of Science and Technology and the CSIR Meraka Institute to the roll-out of the BB4All project in the Greater Sekhukhune area.

This workshop, held late last year at Loskop Valley Lodge, was organised by SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency), Limpopo. SEDA will assist the BB4All project with business training for the Village Operators (VOs) as well as facilitating collaboration between BB4All, local and district municipalities. The workshop aimed to foster relations with the Sekhukhune district municipalities and related stakeholders.

The Wireless Mesh Network (WMN) roll-out in Sekhukhune is expected to take place in 2011 and 2012. This region is one of three trial deployment areas where the WMN is currently being tested; the others are Nkangala and the John Taolo Gaetsewe districts in the Northern Cape. The WMN will be tested in these areas and a model for a sustainable rural community network infrastructure, operated and owned by a business in the community, will be established.

The workshop was well attended by various mayors and representatives of mayoral offices in the region, delegates from local government, the Premier’s Office, the Department of Education, Limpopo Tourism and many others.

The workshop participants voiced concerns about the sustainability of the network, electricity in the area, maintenance of the equipment and support that could hamper the execution of the project. Kobus Roux from the CSIR Meraka Institute said in response, “We have taken notes from the Nkangala region and looked at what needs to be improved. This is the very reason we organised this workshop, to start relationships at grass-roots level and work together with all partners to make this project a success.”

The last word came from the mayor of the Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality, Councillor M Magabe,“This is a great initiative and it will give the local people an opportunity to connect with the broader world and learn about technology.”
From left to right: Alida Veldsman, Daniel Mokhohlane, Issac Maredi, Councillor M Magabe, Councillor L Leseloane, Cebile Khanye, Madelein Van den Berg, Kobus Roux, Kagiso Chikane, Neil Oosthuizen, SEDA Limpopo Manager Mr Seshunkoane Mathabatha