22 February 2006
The Maluti Community Digital Hub, comprising a telecentre, teleconferencing and refurbishment centre, was opened in the Free State on Monday, bringing information and communication technology to the rural Maluti community for the first time.
The hub is housed in the Department of Agriculture in a semi-rural area about 42 kilometres from Harrismith and 10 kilometres from Phutaditjhaba.
The telecentre comprises a client/server network set-up, with nine HP Intel Celeron Windows XP machines networked to an HP Intel Pentium 4 server with internet connection.
The teleconferencing centre is equipped with a V/C unit and ISDN connectivity.
Launching the facility, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said that world economic development was driven by the demands of new information and communication technologies.
“In the past, access to telephones, let alone mobile phones, e-mail and the internet, used to be the privilege of the rich,” Matsepe-Casaburri said. “Today we are making every effort to bring these facilities within the reach of all our people, including those who live in rural areas.”
According to the minister, the Department of Communications and the Universal Service Agency will be launching an extensive network of community digital hubs, including telecentres and e-school cyberlabs, throughout the country, especially in rural areas.