19 March 2008
Plans to introduce a single emergency number which South Africans can use to call for help from anywhere in the country are at an advanced stage, the Department of Communications says.
Currently, there are more than 350 emergency centres handling various emergency services, set up by different organisations and operating using a variety of numbers.
According to the department, the result is that there are numerous numbers of emergency service providers and in an event of a specific emergency one could get confused.
The new 112 Emergency Centre will integrate all the services into one number, thereby making is easier for South Africans to get help in any type of emergency, and the department is on track to completing national implementation by the last quarter of 2009.
Public private partnership
The department has since opened a public private partnership tender process to appoint a private partner for the financing, design, management, maintenance and operating of the 112 Emergency Centre on behalf of government.
The tender process is on track and the department hopes to appoint the successful bidder in the third quarter of this year.
The department will closely work with the various fixed and mobile operators, the SA Police and emergency medical services on the technical specifications and inputs into the process.
Once the 112 Emergency Centre tender has been awarded and the system is operational, the 112 centre agents will be able to direct calls to the relevant emergency services – irrespective of where they are in the country.