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MTN joins forces with government to curb COVID-19 infections in SA's primary pandemic hotspots

MTN is stepping up support in Gauteng - which currently has 1 598 confirmed cases of the virus - by providing critical ICT equipment and infrastructure, valued at around R2 million, in the province. This is in addition to providing ICT equipment to other key provinces, and working with national government to provide R3.5 million worth of food parcels to the most vulnerable communities across South Africa.

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH) has recently established an emergency quarantine and healthcare facility at Nasrec, in Johannesburg. The GDOH specified that it required 20 desktop computers and WiFi connectivity to assist in running the field hospital. MTN is fulfilling the request for the computers and is providing WiFi access to all medical personnel and patients within the vicinity, to the value of R800 000.

In responding to the Office of the Gauteng Premier's call for essential ICT tools, MTN is also providing 500 (7-inch) tablets, with 3GB data provision for three months, for community healthcare workers. The tablets and data, valued at R1.05 million, will be used to capture and record information from community screenings in real-time.

"We believe that by harnessing the power of technology and leveraging our extensive community network, developed by the MTN Foundation over the past 19 years, we can work with government to make a meaningful impact in curbing the spread of the virus - both in SA's economic hub, and beyond," says Jacqui O'Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs: MTN SA.

The telco's relief efforts are not limited to Gauteng only. The Western Cape has overtaken Gauteng with the highest number of confirmed cases within the last week or so, currently accounting for 2 700 cases. KwaZulu-Natal follows with the third-highest infection rate in the country, at 1 051 confirmed cases.

To extend support and enable healthcare workers in these regions, MTN has undertaken to contribute a further 350 (7-inch) tablets to other provinces to support healthcare workers on the ground. The value of this support is estimated at R650 000.

At a national level, food security has become critical during the nationwide lockdown. MTN SA is distributing 5 500 food parcels, to the value of R3.5 million, to worst-affected communities. The donation will assist approximately 27 500 beneficiaries.

"Sadly, it is the communities that have the least resources to mitigate the impact of this pandemic that are the hardest hit. We believe that these food parcels will serve as a lifeline to many economically marginalised communities, particularly during this time when many of the people within these communities are unable to go out and make a living," says O'Sullivan.

In the past several weeks, MTN SA has been working closely with government, at both national and provincial levels, to align their support to the state's primary focus areas, based on where the greatest need is - and mobilising support accordingly.

"We hope that these contributions and others that have been made in the past month or so will assist government in its efforts to put an end to the pandemic. For MTN's part, we will continue with our ongoing needs-based assessments to identify other forms of support that we can provide," concludes O'Sullivan.

MTN

MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: "MTN".

As at the end of 30 June 2010, MTN recorded 129.2 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. The MTN Group is a global sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and has exclusive mobile content rights for Africa and the Middle East. Visit http://www.mtn.com and http://www.mtnfootball.com.