eThekwini targets IT skills training for 1m youths

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 14 Sept 2023
eThekwini executive mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. (Photograph by DCDT)
eThekwini executive mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. (Photograph by DCDT)

The eThekwini municipality has set itself a target of equipping one million young people with critical IT skills within the next three years.

This was the word from eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality executive mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, speaking at the State IT Agency’s (SITA’s) annual ICT conference GovTech 2023this week.

Additionally, the metropolitan municipality is embarking on a path towards becoming a smart city, revealed Kaunda.

“Smart cities rely heavily on technology to provide quality services, grow the economy and create new jobs,” he said. “It is for this reason that we have four strategic partnerships with institutions of higher learning, including IT-related institutions, to drive the digital skills of the future.

“Other bold initiatives that we’ll be driving through the programme include a new IT skills development programme, where we want to train one million young people in IT skills over three years, to reduce youth unemployment.

The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality is one of the 11 districts of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, including the city of Durban and surrounding towns.

GovTech is hosted by SITA, in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies. The conference, under way at the Durban International Convention Centre in KZN, wraps up today.

Commenting on Durban once again being the host city of GovTech, Kaunda said the move confirms the KZN capital city is ready to become the centre of digital transformation in the country.

“In April this year, we saw the opening of a tech hub in Umhlanga, a collaborative effort with the Durban University of Technology.

“We are mindful that we cannot achieve this alone and it is for this reason that we appreciate the fact that in our midst we have government, private sector, academia and civil society organisations.

“This demonstrates that it’s only when we work together as social partners that we can build a common digital future.

“We are pleased that the conference seeks to achieve, among other things, a digital future that is citizen-centric. This gives us hope that the digital transformation journey the country is undertaking will leave no one behind.

“We are confident that it will not only unleash the talents and creativity of young people, but will also bridge a digital divide that still exists and accelerate service delivery.”

Kaunda concluded by saying building a capable developmental state requires everyone to use technology as a strategic tool to enhance service delivery and improve efficiency of key economic sectors, to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.