One in 5 PMB homes has a computer

2013-04-30 00:00

MORE Pietermaritzburg residents have to get connected to the Internet if they want to pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty.

The provincial capital is like most other cities in South Africa, where access to computers and the worldwide web is the preserve of the middle class and wealthy.

Census 2011 statistics show that 125 994 households in Pietermaritzburg do not have a computer, while 37 986 homes (or 23%) have at least one computer.

While 62 652 homes have access to Internet, the Census shows 101 286 homes can’t surf the web.

World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck said the numbers were not surprising.

He told The Witness computer penetration was low nationally, with only 20% of South Africans owning a computer and 24% having Internet access.

“The figures are not surprising. It emphasises the extent to which there is imparity,” Goldstuck said.

World Wide Worx is South Africa’s leading independent technology market research organisation.

Goldstuck said computer literacy needed to be strengthened in South Africa. “There needs to be a universal computer literacy in schools, communities and the like.

“The government needs to provide computer education in schools, because currently this strategy is undermined,” he added.

A typical household that has Internet connections and computers is middle and upper class and situated in urban areas, Goldstuck said.

Even though Internet penetration was low, there was steady progress thanks to smartphones.

“People are now going straight to cellphones for Internet,” he added.

As for the 31 812 households that do not own TVs, Goldstuck said not everyone could afford to buy one.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business president Paris Dlamini said that people were deprived of information without connectivity.

“If you don’t have Internet, you have no access to information, and without information you’re left behind,” Dlamini said. It was almost impossible to start or grow a business today without the Internet.

Dlamini said more entrepreneurs were needed to grow the economy.

“Computers should become like utilities such as water and electricity.”

He urged residents to invest in connectivity and urged them to undertake computer training.


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