ICT leaders launch “Re Hodisa Moruo” in Mangaung
A press conference was held in Bloemfontein, by Mangaung local municipality, Fujitsu Services, UniNet Communications, Cisco and Microsoft SA, to launch an initiative expected to see the region increase the skills of its citizens and improve the services offered to them, while making it an attractive destination for business investment.
Fujitsu has been tasked with the establishment of a central contact centre as a starting point in launching a business process outsourcing and off-shoring (BPO&O) centre in Bloemfontein CBD. This centre will offer a range of services to the public and private sectors, for both local and international customers.
“Improving Mangaung's service delivery within the municipal area requires a central service centre, staffed by suitably qualified personnel,” says Elvin de Kock, MD of Fujitsu Services. “We will positively contribute to the economic outlook of the region by establishing a capability to train up-and-coming young people to work at the centre and at the BPO&O hub. To facilitate the success of the services venture, Fujitsu Services is investing R7.2 million in Mangaung's infrastructure, as well as R3.5 million in training over five years.”
Fujitsu's partners in this project have echoed this commitment to Mangaung in terms of financial, additional infrastructure, expertise and training investments. “UniNet will initially invest R35 million in the first wave of communications development in Mangaung,” says Papi Molotsane, Executive Chairperson of UniNet Communications.
“This will provide broadband voice, data and video capabilities for various segments of the EDP (Economic Development Programme).” UniNet's infrastructure and services will provide a cost-effective and easy-to-use interface between citizens and the municipality's customer contact centre. The optimising of the municipal wide area network (WAN) will also put a versatile and flexible platform in place to facilitate the expected broadband requirements for the national elections in 2009, the 2009 Confederations Cup, as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
Cisco's involvement in the Re Hodisa Moruo project forms part of the company's commitment to uplifting communities while providing ICT skills, through a programme called 'Networking Academy'. Alfie Hamid, programme manager for Networking Academy in South Africa, says from a corporate social investment perspective, the programme aims to develop critical networking skills.
Microsoft will facilitate skills development and access to technology in the region, to train up to 100 students per annum on a variety of courses.
The BPO&O Hub will be staffed and managed by local experts who gained their skills in these training academies launched through the project in the initial phases of the Economic Development Programme. The centre will not simply be an opportunity to employ local skills, but is regarded as a method of empowering the Mangaung region to realise its latent economic potential.
“The programme is not designed simply to create jobs, but to generate economic resilience and self-reliance in the community, while contributing to the region's economy in the long-term,” adds De Kock. “Not only will the programme create direct and indirect jobs, but it will also contribute to creating an improved and more vibrant economy, improving the lives of the community in general.”