The Gauteng MEC for Finance, Mandla Nkomfe has allocated a budget of R15.9 million up to 2016 for the province’s broadband initiative which aims to provide coverage for 95% of the province.
A day after the Free State local government said it had allocated R40 million towards revamping its website alone, Nkomfe, outlined the province’s plans to roll out infrastructure programmes which included connecting the province through its broadband initiative, and in line with its vision for 2055 – 42 years from now.
Delivering the Gauteng Budget Speech on Tuesday (5 March), Nkomfe said the province’s equitable share allocation from the central government had increased by two percentage points, from 17% to about 19%.
The increase is expected to total R9 billion over three years, taking Gauteng’s budget from R76.9 billion in the 2013-14 financial year to R89.3 billion in 2015-16.
The MEC also pointed out the fact that the recent census results highlighted that 12.3 million people or 23.7% of the South African population now resides in Gauteng; making Gauteng the most populous province in the country.
He said infrastructure development which has been identified as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation – is to receive R25 billion over the next three years.
Speaking on the provinces broadband plans, the MEC said: “The Department receives R5 million in 2013/14; R5.3 million in 2014/15 and R5.6 million in 2015/16 for the establishment and operations of the PMO (project management office) for the Broadband.”
“Broadband networks and access to high-speed internet have become an important determinant of country competitiveness, and as access to broadband continues to increase globally, it has become important to have access to this new digital economy,” the premier said.
“The Gauteng Broadband Network Link is the Gauteng initiative to fulfil this broadband requirement,” Mokonyane said.
In 2012, Mokonyane said that that its G-Link Project was central to its efforts to build a knowledge economy as a driver of development and make Gauteng a Smart Province.
“The project aims at achieving 95% broadband coverage in the province to narrow the digital divide, roll out e-government services and grow the economy. The work currently underway seeks to roll out network infrastructure between 2012 and 2014,” Mokonyane said.