The City of Tshwane, South Africa's capital city, has appointed a new company to supply citizens with free public Wi-Fi. This comes after city officials decided not to renew the free public Wi-Fi contract with the previous supplier, Project Isizwe.
A new free Wi-Fi service provider, Ulwembu Business Services, has been commissioned by the City of Tshwane.
According to Lindela Mashigo, spokesperson at the City of Tshwane, the contract with Ulwembu is effective from 1 August 2018 and it is effective for 3 years.
Free Wi-Fi in South Africa
For several years, Project Isizwe has been the organization responsible for supplying City of Tshwane residents with free public Wi-Fi. In its earlier days, Project Isizwe also did the same in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.
![Free Wi-Fi South Africa Project Isizwe](/content/images/2018/08/images--2-.png)
As of the middle of 2017, the City of Tshwane had spent R245 million (approximately $16,8 million) for a period of 3 years on Project Isizwe's contract. This included the maintenance of for 1,050 free Internet zones around the city. Since the Democratic Alliance took over leadership of the city after the previous local elections, the free Wi-Fi contract has been a contentious issue, with allegations of irregularities being reported.
However, despite appointing a new supplier, the city once again finds itself having to answer questions regarding how the multi-million rand free Wi-Fi contract was awarded. Reports is that a cheaper supplier was initially selected but several days later this decision was allegedly reversed and the contract awarded to Umlwembu, which was much more expensive. The reason apparently given by city officials for the reversal in the decision is that e-Mbizo, the company initially chosen, would be using subcontractors to deliver the free Wi-Fi service to the City of Tshwane.
The city is yet to respond to these reports and it remains to be seen whether anything will be done in this regard.
Cover image credit: Tshwane free Wi-Fi zone tower.