Speaking at the official opening of the Jahunda Community Information Centre yesterday, President Mugabe said there was a need to embrace Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to help push development in the province and ensure it was at par with other provinces across the country.
The Jahunda Community Information Centre is part of a project funded by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz). The authority is targeting to construct information centres in all the country's constituencies.
To date, Potraz has constructed 83 centres at a cost of more than $800 000. President Mugabe said Matabeleland South was one of the most crucial provinces in the country due to its proximity to South Africa and Botswana hence the need to come up with deliberate policies aimed at fast tracking development in some parts of the province.
"For one reason or another, there are areas which seem not to be in step with other areas in terms of actual progress in development, which is really worrying us. It is therefore important that much attention as is possible be given to the province.
"So the establishment of this community information centre is an attempt by us, as Government, to have a centre of information which can increase communication between and among the people of the province of Matabeleland South. This is only a start, but in the future our Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services will spread these centres to other areas in this province," said President Mugabe.
He called on the community of Jahunda to fully take advantage of the newly established information centre noting that it could be exploited in various ways to push the province's development.
"I hope this centre will be used appropriately. I am happy that the centre connects with the exercise I introduced of distributing computers to various schools around the country. The centre now will come to complement this and see the people of Jahunda being able to learn how to use computers and further use the centre to communicate with the rest of the world.
"Yesteryear we used to rely on sending letters but with the advent of computers communication is now instant. One can communicate with their teacher and even complement their learning, almost every subject they learn at school they can get from the computer. But let us not abuse this centre, we want it well maintained, it should be kept intact, used appropriately and benefitting the people as a whole," said the President.
He commended the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira for establishing the information centres noting that the facilities will go a long way in empowering communities. President Mugabe also took the opportunity to donate 120 computers to 12 schools in the province, namely; Limpopo Primary School (Beitbridge), Masera Secondary School (Beitbridge), Kungubo Primary School (Bulilima), Mbezu Secondary School (Bulilima), Makwe Primary School (Gwanda), Nyandeni Secondary School (Gwanda),Tshazi Primary School (Insiza), Mkwabeni Secondary School (Insiza), Tjehondo Primary School (Matobo), Gambuzi Secondary School (Umzingwane), Bulu Primary School (Mangwe) and Vulankalo Secondary School (Mangwe).
Speaking at the same event, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Mandiwanzira said there was a lot of development in ICTs in Matabeleland South with the Government having just completed the installation of a fibre optic cable between Beitbridge and Bulawayo.
"We got $98 million from the China Exim Bank to put up fibre infrastructure and the province that has benefitted the most is Matabeleland South. We have just completed – through Telone – the installation of fibre optic cable from Beitbridge, passing through this area to Bulawayo. This will help us achieve our target as a country to achieve 100 percent broadband penetration by the year 2020. As ICT Ministers through Sadc we set ourselves a target of 80 percent penetration but as Zimbabwe we have set ourselves a target of 100 percent because we want everybody to be brought onboard the information superhighway," said Minister Mandiwanzira.
Also present at the commissioning of the centre were the two Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet Ministers and senior Government officials.
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