The Western Cape government is unable to deliver eLearning to disadvantaged schools as crime is stopping contractors from deploying broadband.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said in her latest newsletter that the city has committed enormous resources to achieve its eLearning into its education system, “so that the “digital divide” does not drive further inequality in our society”.
The provincial government’s eLearning requires every school to have free internet access, which in turn requires that they are all linked to Broadband.
By the end of this year almost every school in the Western Cape should be linked to broadband, but the province is unable to rollout broadband to all the townships due to crime.
In her newsletter, Zille explains: “It was in the stock-taking session on our eLearning game changer that I was shown a detailed map of all the sites that had been reached by the Broadband roll-out so far. I immediately looked at the South East Sector of our City, stretching from Nyanga through to Khayelitsha, and noticed to my horror that the network had not yet been extended to our schools in this priority area.
“Why? I asked. The core purpose of this gamechanger, I re-emphasised, is to bring the educational advantages of free, high-speed connectivity to our most disadvantaged schools. I was then told that the contractors have refused to work there because they have been repeatedly robbed at gun point, and their equipment, including cell phones and money, stolen.”
She further explains that apart from the fact that they fear for their lives, they cannot meet their delivery schedules if their programmes are constantly disrupted by crime. And if they do not meet their delivery schedules, financial penalties kick in.
Zille added that in one case, workers were robbed at gunpoint on two separate occasions while working at the same site in Nyanga. They were busy connecting 19 sites to Broadband for the benefit of local residents. The contractor packed up and left, refusing to put his staff at further risk.
“So here we have a profound irony: our eLearning game changer is primarily meant to assist disadvantaged schools, but we cannot deliver connectivity to these schools because of crime.”
For more read Zille’s newsletter.