GautengOnline tender awarded

JOHANNESBURG (12/08/2003) - The long-awaited GautengOnline tender results were announced late Friday afternoon. At the time of going to press a statement had not been issued by the Gauteng, South Africa, Department of Education, although two of the successful bidders (Sahara and Mecer) had issued media releases.

GautengOnline is a provincial government initiative aimed at improving Internet access among townships and rural communities. Some 2,500 schools will be involved.

According to the Sahara release: "The Sahara Consortium, comprising local ICT distributor Sahara Computers and partners, has been granted a substantial portion of the GautengOnline tender. According to the grant, valued at approximately R25 million (US$ 392 million), the Sahara Consortium, through Sahara Computers, will provide complete ICT infrastructure and full connectivity to 110 schools as part of the first phase, involving 500 schools."

Aside from full connectivity, Sahara Computers will provide a complete school classroom management solution that enables teachers to interact with the class on an individual and group basis. To support the solution, the Sahara Computers will also provide televisions, 25 PCs per school, DVDs, VCRs, printers and network switches.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alec Erwin, comments, "We are very pleased to announce this latest development within SA's ICT industry. The GautengOnline initiative is very much a part of what we are working towards with SAVANT, the vanguard of the local Information and Communication Technology and Electronics (ICTE) industry."

Mecer's statement says that: "Mecer has been awarded 110 schools out of an initial 500 schools, of which the roll-out and installation has to be completed by January. Thereafter the remaining 1 500 schools will be distributed to the consortia that have successfully completed their initial installations. Each school will be equipped with 25 networked machines. The consortia are also responsible for educator training and technical support."

Other successful consortia include Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Pinnacle Micro. More details will be published as soon as they are forthcoming.

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