Vandals cut internet access

SmartCape computers have not been working since June last year.

Even as the provincial government plans to roll out broadband at some libraries in Mitchell’s Plain, there remains the threat that criminals will continue to sabotage library users’ access to the internet as they steal and vandalise property.

With school holidays in full swing, Tafelsig library users are having to look for other ways of accessing computers and free internet.

This is because the SmartCape computers at the library have not been working since June last year.

SmartCape is a service provided by the City of Cape Town for library goers to have access to digital information.

The breakdown of services is due to numerous incidents of cable theft at the library.

Anda Ntsodo, mayoral committee member for community services, has once again appealed to residents to report anything suspicious around their facilities and to help curb vandalism and theft.

At the moment Tafelsig library is not the only library affected by a lack of access to SmartCape services.

Wi-fi is currently only available at Lentegeur library in the library’s study area and this is capped.

In the new year Rocklands and Tafelsig libraries will receive additional SmartCape-enabled computers.

Information Systems and Technology Department (IS&T) broadband will be rolled out to Tafelsig at the end of January 2017 and to Westridge at the end of May.

The City has been working hard to restore connectivity via the fibre network.

The Western Cape Government’s broadband rollout will also include the Town Centre and Lentegeur by the end of May.

Mr Ntsodo said security in Mitchell’s Plain remained a concern.

“Due to the continued burglaries and theft at the Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre, the library has 24-hour security.

“All the libraries, however, have security, burglar bars and alarms installed.

“Crime in the area remains a huge deterrent and negatively affects the use of libraries. For example, opening hours stretch until 7pm only once a week,” he said.

He said libraries were underutilised during the evenings, as the escalation of crime and gang activity in certain areas deterred residents from making use of the facilities.

Last year, the City launched its trial Digital Inclusion Project at 61 buildings across the metro. Of these buildings, 24 were libraries (“Library internet service let-down,” Plainsman, March 9).

Andrew Koopman, founder and co-ordinator of AKsnapshots study group, said they had set up two computers at Wolfgat nature reserve learning centre at 22 Pyrenees Street, in Tafelsig, to help pupils with their assignments to teach them to do online research.

The study group use to operate from the library before their numbers grew and they needed more space.

Mr Koopman said the computers at the library were out of order more than they were operational.

“We have had to find a solution for our children to complete assignments and to help them,” he said.

The study group has 98 registered pupils, most of whom need computers.

He said they have five computers but need more space. Mr Koopman said they could use dongles to access the internet but needed data.