BAOBAB FIBRE PROJECT: SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY DIGITAL CITIZEN APPLICATION

BAOBAB FIBRE PROJECT: SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY DIGITAL CITIZEN APPLICATION

Saldanha Bay Municipality strives to be innovative and at the forefront of technology.  To this effect, it has embraced the challenge to prepare the municipal area for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) with an inclusive approach, enabling citizens to engage in a digital transformation.

Saldanha Bay Municipality is proud to announce that the Baobab open access network (OAN) fibre project, a multi-centric utility focus, is delivering on two important Smart City building blocks.

The first building block, being the installation of a singular master open access network, is a digital highway unlocking a wide variety of approved Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Secondly enabling all Saldanha Bay Municipal residents and businesses the freedom of choice to contract with and make use of the value-added services on offer (data, content, bundle services, and municipal utility management).

Technology is not the solution on its own, but it is an enabler and catalyst that can be utilised in innovative ways to achieve socio-economic development in communities.  A project such as this, is embedded in the overarching framework, of Saldanha Bay Municipality’s  open access infrastructure, that will focus on solving the provision of fibre-to-the-X for all in the community, that creates an open, equitable and transparent platform for the private sector and municipality to provide value-added services on the back of the fibre network and platforms.

The Baobab fibre project was formally initiated on 6 December 2021 and has made huge strides in establishing the open access fibre infrastructure, (which has already been) installed in Langebaan, Saldanha and Vredenburg. The initial focus is on civil trenching works.  The project plan makes provision for completion of works within an estimated 18 months, when the entire Saldanha Bay Municipal area will be covered with network infrastructure.  The civils and ducting project will now extend to Jacobsbaai, Paternoster, St Helena Bay and Hopefield with an expected completion date of approximately August 2023.

To date, a total of four local Internet Service Providers are contracted and are in the process of being on-boarded onto the Zoom Fibre network.  National and regional Internet Service Providers will offer their value-added services to all our citizens and local businesses.

In addition, various telecommunication points of presence have been deployed in each town to inter- connect the towns. In addition, the OAN fibre network partner, Zoom Fibre, will start with the fibre long hauls between the seven Saldanha Bay Municipal towns, ensuring redundancy, reliability, availability and quality of services of the deployed network.

As interest in so called Smart Cities continues to grow, driven by a range of social, economic and technological developments that are impacting cities around the world, more are committing to programmes geared towards sustainability, innovation and economic development that depend on technological investments.

Choosing the correct partners and providers to deliver these programmes is of critical importance for the future of Saldanha Bay Municipality.  An effective telecommunications network and related services are essential enablers of such a smart municipal vision.

We are proud to say that we are the only municipality in the country to have tackled this holistic problem head-on. We have built a proof-of-concept network to test the viability of creating and integrating fibre as a utility. The Baobab fibre project can connect every single household in our area of jurisdiction, and it will depend on the end-user to order their desired services on the back of this connection, with municipal utilities it, as a standard provision.

On Friday, 1 July 2022, the Saldanha Bay Municipality will deliver on the second building block by activating the Saldanha Bay Municipality Digital Citizen Application that is integrated with the open access network to deliver its utility services digitally to prospective users.  The Digital Citizen Application will connect citizens, businesses and the municipality with one another to create a smarter, more efficient working community.

Baobab Fibre Project Statistics: Currently in Progress

 Vredenburg

Saldanha

Langebaan

Total meters combined
Total planned meters 266 609 m
Total meters completed 247 244 m

Vredenburg
Total planned meters 124 081 m
Total meters completed 106 197 m

Langebaan
Total planned meters 70 267 m
Total meters completed 68 786 m

Saldanha
Total planned meters 72 261 m
Total meters completed 72 261 m

Activities for broadband services are underway in the above-mentioned areas and can be pre-ordered.

The Digital Citizen App, conceptualised by Amoeba TSC and aligned to function effortlessly with municipal systems, forms part of the Baobab Fibre project, which is focused on connecting every single household in the municipal area.

The application is a comprehensive engagement platform between the citizens, municipality and service providers with the following functionalities: communication, emergency button, helpdesk, utility management, services shopping, digital wallet and payments, document repository, events, photo gallery and facility management. Certain functionalities are still under construction.

Community Focus:

The Baobab fibre project is focused on more than just providing an Open Access Network in the Saldanha Bay Municipal area. Zoom Fibre is further committed to supplying every school within the region with a free fibre connection in line with the Zoom Fibre school initiative. Throughout the roll-out of the network Zoom Fibre has further committed to supply temporary and permanent local employment, either directly with Zoom Fibre or through their build partner First in Fibre Optics (Pty) Ltd. (FIFO). To date the project has involved over 200 local persons with temporary employment opportunities:  

Baobab Fibre Project: Local Employment
Month 2022 Saldanha Average Langebaan Average Vredenburg Average
February 2022 50 24 92
March 2022 56 11 143
April 2022 12 8 42
May 2022 26 16 194

Zoom Fibre and FIFO have further committed to engage local Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in every phase of the project roll out. Project opportunities are advertised and published on the Saldanha Bay Municipality website, under the “Baobab Fibre Project” tab. To appoint suitable and quality local businesses to assist with these project opportunities, formal vetting is done by both the Saldanha Bay Municipality and Zoom Fibre.

The Saldanha Bay Municipal Digital Citizen App for Android and iOS can be downloaded from the various app stores.

Android from the Google Play Store, iOS from the Apple App store and Huawei App Gallery.

Download Instructions:

Search for Saldanha Digital Citizen and follow download instructions. Register as a user.

Homeowners can link their Saldanha Bay Municipality properties in the application.

Enquiries: E-mail to Baobab@sbm.gov.za.

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Baobab Smart City Project: Launch of the Saldanha Bay Municipality Digital Citizen App

Baobab Smart City Project: Launch of the Saldanha Bay Municipality Digital Citizen App

On Thursday, 02 June 2022, the Saldanha Bay Municipality in its continued commitment to be innovative and at the forefront of technology, has launched its Digital Citizen App and effectively put the Municipality in the palms of its residents.

The Digital Citizen App forms part of the Baobab Fibre project, which is focused on connecting every single household in the municipal area.

The App is a comprehensive engagement platform between the citizens, the Municipality and service providers with communication, an emergency button, help desk, utility management, services shopping, digital wallet and payments, document repository, events, photo gallery and facility management functionality.

“Technology is not the solution on its own but is rather an enabler and catalyst to be utilised in innovative ways to achieve socio-economic development in and for our communities,” says Executive Mayor, Councillor André Truter.

The Digital Citizen App is one of two key building blocks for the Saldanha Bay Municipality, the first of which is the installation of a single Open Access Network.

“This open access network provides a digital highway to our Municipality that unlocks access to a multitude of Internet Service Providers and provides the access medium, to enable the rest of the building blocks”, adds Councillor Truter.

The Baobab Fibre Project is embedded in the overarching framework of Saldanha Bay Municipality’s open access infrastructure, focusing on solving the provision of Fibre-to-the-X for all in the community.

This creates an open, equitable and transparent platform for the private sector and Municipality to provide value-added services on the back of the fibre network and platforms,” says Executive Mayor, Councillor Truter.

As interest in smart cities continues to grow, driven by a range of social, economic, and technological developments that are impacting cities around the world, more are committing to programmes for sustainability, innovation and economic development that depend on technological investments.

“Choosing the correct partners and providers to deliver these programmes is of critical importance for the future of Saldanha Bay Municipality.  An effective telecommunications network and related services is one of the essential enablers of such a smart Municipality vision,” concludes the Executive Mayor, Councillor Truter.

The Digital Citizen App will be available to download from the App Store and Google Play Store on 01 July 2022.

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Saldanha Bay Municipality’s response to the Witteklip Community Committee

The Saldanha Bay Municipality herewith wants to clarify and inform the community around the protest action due to the eviction of illegal land invaders. The Municipality wants to emphasise that illegal land invasion and land grabbing cannot be tolerated as it infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens, creates disorder and is against the law. The Municipality however understands the plight of the poor, but wants to emphasise that approved processes must be followed to systematically and sustainably address this problem that is currently experienced in all our wards, and in fact in all South Africa.

Background information:

On 2 April 2021, persons were found erecting illegal structures on Portion 10 of Erf 132 in Witteklip, Vredenburg. This land was originally set out for the development of 1 155 erven and possible top structures.

Saldanha Bay Municipality’s law enforcement department managed to remove six of the 12 illegal land invaders. On 3 April 2021, four additional illegal structures were erected, totalling ten land invaders who refused to move.

A court interdict was obtained from the Cape Town High Court to stop further invasion, giving Saldanha Bay Municipality and the South African Police Services (SAPS) the right to remove any further structures on the property. In addition, the Municipality also approached the High Court for an eviction order to remove the ten illegal land invaders. Following the successful application, an order was given on 13 July 2021 that instructed invaders to remove their structures and vacate the property by 31 July 2021. Failure to do so would have resulted in the Sheriff and law enforcement agencies removing persons and structures from the property on 7 August 2021.

This eviction order to remove the ten (10) structures was executed by 11 August 2021 and provided for the eviction of all other persons occupying the property.

The Municipal Manager met with various representatives of the illegal occupants and the main reasons given was that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people were evicted from their backyard dwelling.

Public protests that included the burning of tyres, stoning and the burning of a vehicle occurred during this time. The representatives of the evicted persons claimed that this was not their doing as they were looking for a peaceful solution and condemned the violence incited. The SAPS is currently investigating these occurrences. The Municipality intends to pursue criminal charges against those who incited the violence.

Memorandum:

On 8 September 2021, Witteklip community members marched to the Saldanha Bay Municipal building in Vredenburg in support and handed over a memorandum to the Municipal Manager, containing the following points:

  • Request for alternative accommodation for the evicted persons;
  • Reimbursement of all confiscated and damaged material and other personal belongings; and
  • Expediting the allocation of 300 serviced sites with communal services.

The group was subsequently informed by the Municipal Manager that an official response by Saldanha Bay Municipality will be given in seven working days. A petition committee meeting was held to consider the content of the memorandum that was handed to the Municipality.

Saldanha Bay Municipality’s response to the Witteklip Community Committee is as follows:

  1. Request for alternative accommodation for the evicted persons

Response:

o     The only housing activity currently approved is the Witteklip development 1st Phase (197).

o     No circumventing of the housing database queue is allowed.

o     The occupants of the ten illegal structures will be allowed to stay with friends and family or landlords as backyard dwellers.

o     A donor came forward that will financially assist each of the ten (10) evicted illegal structure occupants, as per the eviction order, with R500 per month for six months towards their rent. Saldanha Bay Municipality will facilitate this process.

Although Saldanha Bay Municipality is sympathetic towards the plight of the ten families affected, it is important to note the Municipality is unable to fund these activities due to legislative constraints. All spending without approval from the Department of Human Settlements is considered as irregular and unauthorised expenditure and will be subject to interrogation and repayment.

  1. Reimbursement of all confiscated and damaged material and other personal belongings

Response:

o     The owners of the ten informal structures to identify their confiscated and/or damaged material at the municipal store.

o     Saldanha Bay Municipality will assist with the transportation of the material.

o     A donor is making funds available to assist with some building material.

  1. Expediting the allocation of 300 serviced sites with communal services.

Response:

o     The Department of Human Settlements was requested to assist in the fast tracking of this development.

o     The waiting list and conditions prescribed by the Department of Human Settlements must however be adhered to.

Saldanha Bay Municipality will not tolerate any land invasions within its jurisdiction. Our plea to the community is to respect the rule of law and the processes prescribed.

Housing remains a National and Provincial government mandate. The Municipality performs an agency function for the Western Cape Government’s Department of Human Settlements. The Saldanha Bay Municipality will always endeavour to assist our inhabitants but must do so within the confines of the laws that regulates the municipal sphere.

— ENDS —

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    Saldanha Bay Municipality launches Recycling Enterprise and Education Project (REEP)

    Saldanha Bay Municipality partnered with Pick n Pay and PETCO to support an innovative recycling pilot project in George Kerridge, Vredenburg.

    Since 2016, the municipality’s kerbside recycling collection service has been running well, reaching over 40% participation of households in middle and upper-income suburbs. However, in high-density, lower-income areas, average participation is below 15%.

    The Recycling Enterprise and Education Project (REEP) encourages residents in George Kerridge to participate in recycling by helping to feed a hungry child. In exchange for each bag of recyclables given by households to the mobile collector, a donation will be made to the Masiphathisane Primary School feeding fund.

    Co-sponsoring the pilot with Pick n Pay’s ‘People and Planet’ sustainability programme, is PETCO, the plastics recycling organisation. PETCO sponsored a street trolley cart which the recycling collector will use to tour the area.

    A donation to the school will be made on behalf of Pick n Pay for each bag of recyclables given to the collector. The collector is a resident of George Kerridge, hereby providing a local job creation component to the project.

    As a pilot, the project will run for three to six months. If successful, the aim is to continue it and later expand to other areas of the municipality.

    The REEP project aligns with the circular economy – diverting valuable waste materials from landfill into the recycling industry, reducing energy and resource use, and creating employment –  while also helping to feed young learners at school.

    Photographs:

    1. IMG_3059, Group photograph, from left to right: Mr Abubaker Nackerdien, Manager Solid Waste (SBM), Ms Busiswe Madlalisa, Pick n Pay REEP Project Recycling Collector, Councillor Tanduxolo Salman, Deputy Mayor, Councillor Eventhia Vaughan, Councillor Leonard Michell and Mr Donny Cyster, Wastegro
    2. IMG_3063, Ms Busiswe Madlalisa , Pick n Pay REEP Project Recycling Collector, with the PETCO-sponsored street trolley cart.
    INCENTIVE PROJECT ENCOURAGES LOWER-INCOME AREAS TO PARTICIPATE IN RECYCLING

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    Since it began in 2016, the kerbside recycling collection service operated by Saldanha Bay Local Municipality has been running well in middle and upper-income suburbs. Each week, householders put out their recyclable materials in a clear bag (provided free by the municipality), which is picked up on the same day as refuse removals. Participation by householders in these suburbs has reached over 40%. This is in line with international research showing that higher income and education corresponds with greater environmental awareness and action, including recycling. In the lower-income suburbs of the the municipality, the recycling participation rate is below 15%. Many of those who do not participate, however, would understand the value of recyclable packaging materials, as they form part of the purchase price of groceries and other items they buy. There is reasonable reluctance to part with their recyclables without some form of compensation in return.

    Saldanha Bay Municipality’s Incentive project features in “ReSource” magazine

    Saldanha Bay Municipality’s Incentive project encouraging lower-income areas to participate in recycling featured in the August 2021 edition of the ReSource magazine (see attached pdf). ReSource is the Official Journal of the Institute of Waste Management in South Africa.

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    JUNIOR TRAFFIC TRAINING CENTRE (JTTC) LAUNCHED AT HOOPSIG, PATERNOSTER.

    Hoopsig, the educational support and life skills centre of the Paternoster Project NPC, became the proud recipient of a child-friendly traffic training facility. The aim of this training facility is to teach primary school learners about road safety in a play environment, without exposing them to the dangers of real traffic situations.

    The colourful facility was launched on Thursday 25 March to a group of excited children who eagerly learnt the rules of the road and the meaning of various signs. “We are so fortunate to have this facility. Our children are used to roaming the village with their dogs. The marked increase in visitor traffic are putting them at peril,” said Shemoné Bokhary, the programme manager at Hoopsig.

    JTTCs are part of a programme implemented by the directorate Road Safety Management (RSM) of the Western Cape Department of Transport on behalf of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).  Saldanha Bay Municipality takes pride in its continuous partnership with both the RSM and RTMC.

    At the launch, on hand to assist the little ones to get to know the rules of the road, were Enveretha Miggel, Senior Traffic Officer and Joey Pieters, Law Enforcement Officer from the Saldanha Bay Municipality. The popular character, Daantjie Kat, has been teaching children about road safety for many years and made a surprise appearance at the event!

    According to Lizel Plaatjies, from the RSM, there was a tragic increase in pedestrian deaths across the province and country in the last three years. Statistics show that pedestrians account for almost half of all road deaths on South African roads.

    “This JTTC will allow RSM and the community to continue with vital and life-saving education We sincerely hope this facility will help to bring down pedestrian deaths in the Paternoster area,” Plaatjies said.

    Photo credits:

    – Alrika Hefers (Hoopsig) and

    – The Communications Department, Saldanha Bay Municipality

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    EARTH HOUR, 27 MARCH 2021 (20:30 TO 21:30)

    EARTH HOUR, 27 MARCH 2021 (20:30 TO 21:30)

    Theme: Climate Change to Save Earth

    Earth Hour promotes the notion of sustainability through conservation of natural resources such as oceans, land and wildlife. This will benefit the environment which in return will enable us to thrive. Earth Hour is a campaign used to raise awareness on climate change and provides educational insight on alternative renewable energy sources. Earth Hour is more than switching off lights, it is a course for the greater good of the plant.

    Earth Hour is a global campaign with many participants ranging from government, business and individuals. The Earth hour campaign is adaptable to fit the needs of the organisation or individuals for example local governments and businesses turn off the lights in huge office spaces, public buildings while individuals turn off home based lights and other appliances. In South Africa, Earth Hour has many participants such as corporates, municipalities, retailers, restaurants, schools and universities take part in this global event.

    The Earth Hour campaign has had its successes in South Africa over the years. Since the introduction (2009) of Earth Hour in South Africa, landmarks such as Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Bridge and FNB Stadium in Johannesburg have taken part in switch- off events. Other achievements of Earth Hour in South Africa include the following.

    • In 2017 WWF South Africa launched a successful public petition urging Eskom to make the shift to renewable energy. Over 13 000 South Africans signed the petition, showing their commitment to building a cleaner, greener future together.
    • In 2014 Cape Town beat 163 cities in 14 countries in the annual Earth Hour City Challenge to become the Earth Hour Global Capital of the Year.
    • In 2013, WWF launched an award-winning ‘Things to do in the dark’ campaign which included a Facebook App which offered a variety of ideas and inspiration for everyone to celebrate Earth Hour.

    Every year, we countdown together across the globe to celebrate Earth Hour and take one iconic action: switch off the lights.

    But it is so much more than that. It is a symbol of unity. It is a symbol of hope. It is a symbol of power in collective action for nature.

    EARTH HOUR COUNTDOWN

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