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MTN provides R10m support for KZN spaza shops

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As government steps up efforts to rebuild businesses affected by the July riots, mobile operator MTN has joined the initiative, announcing a R10 million financial support package for spaza shops in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

This will see over 1 000 spaza shops benefiting, with each receiving trading stock, airtime to resell and MoMo tools, among others items.

MTN yesterday announced the support, saying this is part of the telco’s community interventions to assist the rebuilding of KZN following the devastating civil unrest and looting in the province and parts of Gauteng in July.

The unrest and destruction of businesses was sparked by protest action against the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.

Now, MTN says it will help rehabilitate affected spaza shops, to uplift communities and also invest over R500 million towards network upgrade and expansion in KZN.

This will see R354 million put toward the upgrade and expansion of network infrastructure throughout the province. A further R150 million has been channelled towards replacing stolen and vandalised network infrastructure, including batteries and copper cables.

Helping hand

“Over the past 17 months, the country has faced such hardship, caused by COVID-19. The recent civil unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng have reiterated the dire conditions of poverty and unemployment facing South Africans, and the economic conditions continue to remain exceptionally tough,” says Matthew Khumalo, MTN KZN general manager.

“As a proudly South African company born of SA’s democracy, it is essential for MTN to partner with likeminded stakeholders to rebuild and restore the dignity of KZN province and of South Africa at large.

“Our strategy is on track to deliver accelerated growth over the next two-and-a-half years in the KZN region by optimising key nodes, modernisation, investment, further LTE rollout and 5G expansion.

“SA’s long-term success will be based on sustainable and accelerated job creation and the best way to do this is by helping small and medium businesses grow both in urban and rural areas.

“These are the true economic engine rooms we need to get working, and MTN will continue to harness its digital solutions, expertise and network reach and stability to help support and drive business and jobs growth.”

Timely intervention

In a statement, MTN says the investment will also allow the company to further expand its 5G network in the region.

Khumalo comments: “We are working tirelessly to ensure our customers enjoy their experience on our network, and our commitment to serving customers will always be at the core of what we do. This year has presented many challenges for so many across the country, but we see hope on the horizon.

“Our commitment to maintenance and investment in improving our network in KwaZulu-Natal and other regions will help us deliver on our vision of ensuring more people can enjoy the benefits of the modern, connected world.”

On Monday, National Treasury announced it had launched the Government Business Loss Registration Portal, encouraging businesses, particularly small companies, affected by the riots in July to register and disclose their losses.

Treasury said this was part of the relief package announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa on 25 July, with a range of measures being implemented by national and provincial governments to help small and medium businesses that suffered damage or losses to rebuild.

“The registration portal will collect data from affected businesses to better coordinate these relief measures, as well as to inform future interventions. It will provide a single governmental entry point for businesses to indicate the extent of losses they have suffered, and to access available facilities.”

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