SmartCape access up and running

2019-11-12 06:00
Vandalism at Rocklands library has resulted in delays in the rollout of a digital literacy programme.PHOTO: Samantha Lee-Jacobs

Vandalism at Rocklands library has resulted in delays in the rollout of a digital literacy programme.PHOTO: Samantha Lee-Jacobs

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The roll-out of a digital literacy initiative at Rocklands Library has been completed, despite delays as a result of vandalism.

The City of Cape Town’s planned installation of six computers was set for completion in May but was delayed following the vandalism that occurred.

“Vandalism resulted in broken cables while thieves made off with plugs and ducts,” says Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for community services and health.

Rocklands now joins four others in offering the service to residents.

Mitchell’s Plain library has 15 computers, Westridge library has 10 computers and Lentegeur has five computers.

Tafelsig library currently has five computers.

Badroodien says the Tafelsig library was also affected by the delays as a result of vandalism and that an additional six computers will be installed at the library closer to the end of November.

“Apart from their core mandate, libraries also offer a gateway to the digital space for learners, jobseekers, entrepreneurs and the public in general through our SmartCape system. However, the service is under serious threat due to ongoing cable theft and vandalism,” says Badroodien in a statement.

Library user Michael Hayes, says having access to the internet close to home, without needing to pay sometimes high rates at internet cafes is beneficial and encourages youth to make use of the platforms.

“The computers are limited, but for someone who does not have their own computer, it is helpful. The library is not only for books and reading,” he says.

The City is trying to obtain internet access from service providers that will not be affected by cable theft.

Since January, there were 58 insurance claims for incidents at 30 City libraries, totaling nearly R578 000.

“That is half a million Rand that could have been spent on more computers or reading materials or other critical community services. It also places a huge burden on taxpayers. Libraries are the heart of communities and offer a safe space for learning, relaxation and knowledge-sharing,” says Badroodien.

It is further their hope to expand the SmartCape footprint, which has been aided by the donation of 123 computers from the provincial library services for installation at 22 city libraries.

Libraries are identified based on several factors. “Area managers identified libraries in communities where there is a high demand for more access points in the library. They specifically looked at libraries in these communities that only had the minimum of five computers and so targeted them to receive more computers if they had the space to accommodate more. The maximum number was also specified by IS&T who had to confirm if their Telkom line has enough capacity to allow for more computers to be added to the network,” says Badroodien.

V The City of Cape Town is calling on residents to report theft, vandalism and suspicious behaviour to its public emergency communication centre on 021 480 7700.

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