R6m boost for multimedia centres in special needs schools in KZN

Learners in KwaZulu-Natal trying out the new digital centre sponsored by the MTN SA Foundation. Picture: SUPPLIED

Learners in KwaZulu-Natal trying out the new digital centre sponsored by the MTN SA Foundation. Picture: SUPPLIED

Published Jun 12, 2023


MTN SA, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, has handed over three customised multimedia centres to schools for learners with special educational needs in KwaZulu-Natal.

The R6 million investment will go towards helping pupils at Day Dawn Special School, S Dass Special School and VN Naik Special School.

The handover of the multimedia centres is the next step in the MTN Foundation’s support of the communities of eThekwini and KwaZulu-Natal.

However, while pupils and communities across KZN and the country continue to benefit from the MTN Foundation’s roll-out of multimedia centres, its MTN Online School e-learning platform, and other specialised digital support, the cellular network said load shedding, battery theft and vandalism has had a significant impact on network connectivity.

Arthur Mukhuvha, general manager of the MTN SA Foundation, said that when load shedding was at stages 1 or 2, MTN’s back-up batteries could recharge, which allowed for access to the network to continue. However, criminals were still vandalising towers and stealing batteries, which meant that pupils could not fully utilise the multimedia centres or e-learning platforms even when the power was on.

In KwaZulu-Natal, 536 sites were vandalised from January 2022 to February 2023.

Of these incidents, 203 involved battery theft.

Copper cables, diesel, generator batteries, alternators and even whole generators were being stolen, reported MTN, and while rural remote areas were hit the most, the trends show that no area was safe, with sites in the eThekwini metro also affected.

Mukhuvha said MTN was working on engaging several role-players to collaborate on matters related to the impact of extended outages and were seeking alternative solutions to ensure connectivity during load shedding. But criminal activity continued.

“Community support and vigilance is desperately needed,” he said.

Despite these challenges, MTN said it was making progress in its broader R1 billion network resilience plans to reinforce the strength of the network to withstand the onslaught of crime affecting customers in KZN and across the country.

The network has called on the public to remain vigilant and to report suspicious acts at 086 101 1721 or [email protected]

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