The City of Johannesburg is strengthening efforts that will ensure that residents did not have regular access to the internet, this as the city plans to roll out 1 000 wi-fi hotspots – a process that is expected to be completed by 2016.
The planned roll out phases will include key public areas within the Regions such as Zandspriut, Diepsloot, Orange Farm, Ivory Park, Pennyville, Lenasia and Ziberfontein to name just a few.
Mayor Tau first announced the R80 million Jozi Digital Ambassadors Programme during his 2015-2016 State of the City Address in May.
The recruitment and assessment of 3 000 digital ambassadors has begun and is being effected through Vulindlel’ eJozi, a programme initiated in partnership with non-governmental organisation Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator to break down barriers to youth employment.
Vulindlel’ eJozi, is a programme designed to break down barriers to opportunities by creating pathways for young people to access skills training programs and entry level employment.
The City runs the Jozi Digital Ambassadors Programme in partnership with the University of Johannesburg.
“We’re a city where the young lead the call for transformation, demanding the opportunity to work, improve their lives and become the best of what they can be. As the City of Johannesburg we know and understand that with just a little help, our youth are not the challenge some think them to be, but our greatest asset.
“This is why we are investing so much in the youth of this city. This is in line with our developmental local government approach to the implementation of the 2040 Growth and Development Strategy,” said Mayor Tau.
The programme will use a new City portal called Maru a Jozi, a Setswana phrase for “Joburg clouds”. Maru a Jozi is an easy-to-use portal that enables one free access to a range of basic online services. Each digital ambassador will be equipped with a tablet to train community members. They will also be mentored in business acumen to enable them to use technology to create innovation for their own enterprises.
Mayor Tau said the City was not only empowering people with digital knowledge and understanding but was also addressing the fact that half of Johannesburg’s 4.8 million residents did not have regular access to the internet. University of Johannesburg’s Professor Johan Meyer said the programme would “enable the broader Johannesburg community to engage with digital technology, for example, in online job seeking opportunities, banking applications and access to digital services”.
The City of Joburg plans to roll out more than 1 000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city.