Phones to assist with World Cup emergencies

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pretoria - Eighty thousand mobile phones have been handed over to the Health and Police Ministries to enable the departments to deal effectively with emergencies during the FIFA World Cup.

The phones were handed over by Minister of Communications, General Siphiwe Nyanda, as part of the 3G (Third Generation) spectrum license. This initiative is in partnership with the country's mobile operators, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C.

Handing over the phones on Tuesday, General Nyanda said out of the 250 000 mobile units due for distribution, 80 000 will be delivered as part of the agreed implementation plan with the operators to commence with the implementation of the outstanding obligations.

He said the department was responsible for ensuring that Government's Programme of Action (POA) was achieved.

"I have committed the department to ensuring that Information and Communication Technologies programmes continue to play a meaningful and pivotal role in support of POA," he said noting that the mobile phones will ensure greater vigilance, efficiency and combat readiness during the tournament.

The phones will be allocated to officials who will be part of the FIFA 2010 World Cup operations.

Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said the mobile phones came at a crucial time as the two departments needed fast communication.

"If you waste a few minutes, something terrible might happen," Dr Motsoaledi said.

He said the mobile phones would assist 9 000 lay counsellors, 2000 volunteers and 4 300 hospitals and clinics, who will need to communicate swiftly, especially in rural areas.

"The department is intending to use the cellphones to attack the most vicious enemy [HIV and AIDS] facing the country, now we are going to work very smoothly," Dr Motsoaledi said.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said for the department, it was more than a donation of mobile phones but a motivating factor and a boost in the fight against crime.

"We view this contribution by the Communications Ministry and all stakeholders involved as affirmation that together we can do more to create a safe and secure South Africa.

"The challenges we face require us to be innovative in dealing with the issue of crime, whether one looks at our information, communication and technology, human resources or re-skilling of police