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Broadband rollout to be fast-tracked

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South Africa’s broadband rollout will begin with the connection of 5 000 government offices, according to President Jacob Zuma.
Presenting the 2016 State of the Nation address yesterday, Zuma says that the broadband rollout to 5 000 government facilities in eight district municipalities will be fast-tracked over the next three years, at a cost of about R740-million.
The broadband rollout is one of the interventions announced last year in the nine-point plan designed to kick-start the economy.
The plan consists of the following:
* Revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value-chain;
1. * Advancing beneficiation adding value to our mineral wealth;
2. * More effective implementation of a higher impact Industrial Policy Action Plan;
3. * Unlocking the potential of SMME, co-operativess, township and rural enterprises;
4. * Resolving the energy challenge;
5. * Stabilising the labour market;
6. * Scaling-up private-sector investment;
7. * Growing the Ocean Economy;
8. * Cross-cutting Areas to Reform, Boost and Diversify the Economy;
1. * Science, technology and innovation including water and sanitation, transport infrastructure, broadband rollout and state owned companies.
“We have made significant progress in the implementation of the plan,” Zuma says.
“Progress has been made to stabilise the electricity supply. There has been no load shedding since August last year which has brought relief for both households and industry alike.
“Government has invested R83-billion in Eskom which has enabled the utility to continue investing in Medupi and Kusile, while continuing with a diligent maintenance programme. Additional units from Ingula power station will be connected in 2017, even though some of them will begin synchronisation this year.
“The multiple bid windows of the Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme have attracted an investment of R194-billion. This initiative is a concrete example of how government can partner with the private sector to provide practical solutions to an immediate challenge that faces our country.”
He adds that, in 2016, government will select the preferred bidders for the coal independent power producer, and a request for proposals will be issued for the first windows of gas to power bids.
“The nuclear energy expansion programme remains part of the future energy mix,” Zuma says. “Our plan is to introduce nine thousand six hundred megawatts of nuclear energy in the next decade, in addition to running Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant.
“We will test the market to ascertain the true cost of building modern nuclear plants. Let me emphasise that we will only procure nuclear on a scale and pace that our country can afford.”