FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past an MTN store in Johannesburg
FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past an MTN store in Johannesburg

MTN sets up R250m Covid-19 relief fund

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Apr 15, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG  - MTN Group has established a R250 million relief fund to support those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic across its 21 markets.

The group said that the relief fund would focus on aiding employees, customers, vulnerable groups, and would include contributions to the South African Government’s Solidarity Fund.

“We believe it is the responsibility of all organizations to assist where they can during the pandemic.  MTN plays a vital role in the mobile and telecommunications industry across Africa and the Middle East and it is vital that we assist our employees, customers, and stakeholders during this difficult time,” chairman Mcebisi Jonas, said.

MTN said it planned to raise R40 million for the MTN Global Staff Emergency Fund for employees in need through donations from the group’s directors and managers. The group said that Jonas, group chief executive Rob Shuter, and chief financial officer Ralph Mupita had pledged a third of their board fees and salaries for the next three months.

It said that the executive teams of both MTN Group and MTN South Africa had also contributed to the fund, and in addition, other staff members could also contribute by making salary sacrifices.

Over R150 million would be invested in the Y’ello Hope Package for customers, the group said. This included free SMS services, the waiving of fees for certain mobile money transactions, discounted calling during off-peak periods, zero-rating of certain health, social services and educational sites and payment concessions to our business customers.

 “Utilising our services and technologies for the greater good is key at the moment.  We can positively impact millions of lives and our main focus is on keeping our network in good working order and enable our customers to connect with their loved ones during this most difficult time for all,” said Shuter.

MTN Group, Africa’s biggest telecoms company said its MTN Foundations across its markets would be used to reach those most vulnerable through contributions towards tackling the spread of the pandemic, as well as “” enabling students to remain productive by accessing vital school and university content with a total contribution of at least R50 million”.

It also would donate t R10 million to the South African government’s Solidarity Fund established to cushion the poor from the economic impact of the pandemic.

MTN is following in the footsteps of  Naspers, the listed technology investor which donated R1.5 billion towards the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic including an R500 million donation to the Solidarity Fund and R1 billion towards procuring personal protective equipment. Last week MTN rival Vodacom donated 20 000 smartphones plus 100 terabytes of data and 10 million voice calls minutes to the National Department of Health. Vodacom said the smartphones would be used by frontline health workers to collect and transmit data in real-time for resource planning purposes as the government accelerates its Covid-19 testing campaign.


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