Windhoek-Information Minister Stanley Simataa this week said he is committed to protect and develop further various information and communication technology initiatives midwifed by his predecessor Tjekero Tweya, who was recently shifted to the trade and industrialisation ministry.
At the centre of such safeguard would be the N$2.2 billion ICT City, a highly ambitious 40-storey integrated hub where people and technology would connect.
Simataa, formerly a deputy to Tweya in the same ministry, has an advantage of having been part and parcel of the conception of the ICT City idea.
According to this idea, all public enterprises resorting under the ICT ministry, namely New Era Publication Corporation, Telecom Namibia, MTC, CRAN, Nampa, NBC and the Namibia Film Commission would be housed in that hub.
A document outlining this idea states that the philosophy with the main ICT building is to bring different departments together into one unit. The public sector, reads the document further, is integrated into one noticeable and radiant whole.
“The idea is to bring different technologies, languages or media together. A total of 40 floors are provided with a total floor area of approximately 50,000 square metres,” it reads in part.
Simataa – speaking on Tuesday at a farewell function organised by the ministry in honour of the departing Tweya – said he would jealously protect his predecessor’s ideas, including making sure that MTC’s ambitious ‘081 Everyone’ strategy is fully implemented. Under that strategy, MTC, the country’s largest mobile network operator, plans to roll out mobile network to every corner of Namibia. Currently, many parts of rural Namibia are without mobile network. In other areas, mobile users have to climb on trees in order to capture a glimpse of network.
“Many people asked me that since Honourable Tweya is gone, what would happen to many of his ideas. I can assure you that ICT City is very much on. I was part of its conception and there’s no doubt that I’m passionate about it,” Simataa told ministerial staff and representatives of parastatals resorting under his ministry, who congregated to see off Tweya.
“ICT City will change the ICT landscape of this country and I’m fully committed to it.”
Tweya became ICT minister in 2015, his first senior ministerial job. He previously served as deputy minister of finance and also of trade.
Simataa ascended to his first senior ministerial post after the recent Cabinet reshuffle by President Hage Geingob. Tweya said his successor deserved the elevation to full minister.
“You know this ministry inside out. You know everyone in the ministry by their name. I congratulate you on your fully-deserved promotion,” said an emotional Tweya, who added he thoroughly enjoyed his reign at ICT.
In his nearly three years at the helm of the ICT ministry, Tweya oversaw amongst others the promulgation of the Access to Information Bill, which the local media fraternity has yearned for decades. The Bill is expected to become a law in the near future. Under Tweya, several MICT regional offices were constructed and became operational
in Erongo, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Omaheke.
He thanked the ministerial staff who he said were the foot soldiers in accomplishing all milestones credited to him.