Ricochet News

Vodacom sets up R20 million disaster relief fund

JUNE 12, 2017
Vodacom sets up R20 million disaster relief fund

In response to the devastating fires and storms that took place in the Southern and Western Cape last week, Vodacom has set up a R20 million disaster recovery fund that will go toward providing much needed support and aid for those most affected when disasters arise.

Vodacom will immediately provide access to R10 million from the disaster recovery fund, largely to sustain an emergency partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) that is focused on rebuilding or refurbishing schools that have been affected by catastrophe in the Western and Southern Cape. Vodacom will also be assisting with other reconstruction efforts including the distribution of blankets food and water to the affected areas.

Vodacom Group Chief Executive Officer, Shameel Joosub said: “The rebuilding of schools approach is in line with our standing commitment to supporting education that is at the core of the Vodacom Foundation’s CSI efforts. Ubuntu is one of the values that we embrace at Vodacom and, as such, immediate reaction to a plea for assistance was an instinctive response. We wish those affected strength through this difficult time and commend all our emergency responders for their selfless efforts in aid of others.”

The company has already deployed 1200 starter packs sims-cards loaded with airtime to disaster relief personnel in Knysna to enable better communication and emergency response. This will be extended to include residents in affected areas.

Joosub said: “We have also set up public cell-phone charging stations and Wifi hotspots at various sites that need assistance including the Knysna Joint Operations Control Centre (JOC). We have deployed about 40 phones with airtime to the necessary disaster task team leaders and 600 cell-phone charger power banks have been distributed. We also provided 25 Laptops, 30 tablets and data for the JOC to be used by volunteers on the humanitarian recovery team.”

From the network perspective, Vodacom’s key focus is on keeping its network sites up and many of them are now running off generators. The company said it has a good handle on this and will continue to monitor the situation.