About 18 000 visits have been recorded at the ICAN centre in Elsies River, a multi-million rand government investment seeking to equip residents with digital skills.

As part of his programme for July, Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, is conducting site visits to highlight practical examples of innovation.


Today (4 July 2017), Minister Winde visited the ICAN (Interactive Community Access Network) centre in Elsies River, an initiative of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT). DEDAT has invested R10 million into the centre since its launch in 2014. Approximately 50% of this was allocated to the refurbishment of the building housing the centre plus all set-up and equipment. The remainder of DEDAT’s investment went to centre operations and digital skills development programmes.

The project is a partnership with the City of Cape Town, who provide the premises at no charge.

Funded by DEDAT as a proof-of-concept project, the centre is managed by a local Not For Profit (NPO) organisation, Genesis Community IT Initiative.

The ICAN offering includes access to the City’s Smart Cape free internet service (45 min/day) per registered ICAN member and limited free WiFi (300MB/month) from Sonic Wireless, an internet service provider which sponsors the broadband connectivity at the centre. Free and paid-for courses and conferencing facilities are also available.

“The ICAN centre is making a valuable contribution to bringing digital skills closer to people. Since June last year, we’ve seen an average of more than 1 000 visits each month.

“The services residents are using the most are the free internet and courses. In the 2016/17 financial year, DEDAT funded courses worth R1.5 million, covering areas including mobile app and game development as well as internet radio production and digital entrepreneurship. The ICAN centre is making a significant impact in improving access to opportunities. Some of the past students have been employed at the centre, while others have found employment through the contacts they have made through the centre. Young people have also used the internet access we’ve provided to find job opportunities,” said Minister Winde.

Lincoln Cupido, a former student at the ICAN centre, explained how the training programmes impacted his life.

"I would be collecting scrap and going to the scrap yard. People here in Elsies River are dying every day from gangsterism and drugs. Drugs used to be a part of my life too until I found the ICAN centre.

"I was on my way to fetch my mom's medicine at the clinic and walked past the ICAN centre. I saw the banners and decided to go in and I was wowed."

Cupido is currently employed at the ICAN centre and also runs his own IT support business which includes teaching residents how to fix their own computers.

Wayden Fortuin, from Belhar, also completed a range of courses at the centre, including digital photography and digital entrepreneurship.

“I also wanted to start my own business. One day I was researching online and found the ICAN centre. Now I have my own photography business. To young people who want to become entrepreneurs, I would encourage them to do a lot of research and always follow you heart.”

Going forward, we hope to adapt and expand the model to other communities based on lessons learnt in Elsies River. The DEDAT team and ICAN staff are exploring partnerships in the public and private sector to ensure the centre’s sustainability.

To access the ICAN centre’s services, residents can register at the facility. For more information, kindly contact 021 202 0596 or visit http://i-can.org.za/

Minister Winde’s programme for the rest of month includes:

  • Barn Khayelitsha

The Barn Khayelitsha provides a space for young innovators from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to work on their concepts. The Department of Economic Development and Tourism is supporting 40 entrepreneurs to develop their ideas, many of whom are seeking to respond to challenges in their own communities.

Date: Thursday, 6 July
Time: 11:30am
Venue: corners of Spine and Mew roads, Khayelitsha

  • Elsenburg drone demonstration

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture is playing a leading role in innovation in the sector. Minister Winde will attend a demonstration of the drone technology currently being piloted on the farm.

Date: Thursday, 19 July
Time: 9am
Venue: Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Muldersvlei Road, Elsenburg

  • Absa Aliens

Absa Aliens, Absa’s development centre, is a training ground for talented young software developers.

Date: Monday, 24 July 2017
Time: 11:30am
Venue: Absa, Block B, Ground Floor, Longkloof Studios, Darters Road, Gardens

For media queries, kindly contact:

Bronwynne Jooste
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
142 Long Street, Cape Town

Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301
Email: bronwynne.jooste@westerncape.gov.za
Website:  www.elsenburg.com
Twitter: bronwynnejooste