By Ishmael Mathinya, Executive Head: Operation for Vodacom KwaZulu Natal
Vodacom’s long-term vision, to have the widest and best network accessible to all South Africans, irrespective of where they live, started many years ago with substantial capital investments in our infrastructure. To achieve this, it’s important that we invest in the rural and township areas as well as the cities to make sure that nobody gets left behind. This is in line with the ideals that are envisaged by the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper.
While Vodacom’s competitors are ramping up their capital spend to catch up to Vodacom in the urban areas, Vodacom has intensified its focus on rural areas, while we strive to maintain network leadership in urban areas. In our considered view, and based on a fantastic project that we’ve just completed in KwaZulu Natal province, the best possible model that is going to help fast-track the deployment of networks in deep rural areas of South Africa is through public-private-partnerships (PPP).
I made this point during recent site celebrations where the Vodacom Zululand team handed over seven new base station sites to Umhlabuyalingana Municipality. The event was attended by the Mayor of Umhlabuyalingana, Nkululeko Mthethwa, as well as scores of people from this municipality, representatives from national and provincial governments, Municipal Councillors and ICASA Councillor Paris Mashile.