Evotel is investing in the struggling Newcastle community to assist them in managing the impact of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown regulations as well as the follow-on effects it is having on businesses in the town.
Being a company that is focussed on the improvement of people’s lives by providing fast and secure fibre internet connectivity to homes and businesses, it is also adamant to uplift entire communities in anyway it can.
“We believe in helping people and organisations to prosper and therefore decided that with the rollout of our fibre network in Newcastle to employ only local contractors to build the network infrastructure and share in the wealth. It is one of our ways of investing in the community and the town’s overall development,” says Bradley Bekker, Head of Business Development at Evotel.
Evotel is installing its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) network across 14 neighbourhoods in Newcastle. These include: Signal Hill,Schuinshoogte,Aviary Hill,Pioneer Park,Sunnyridge,Ameil Park and Hutten Heights.
“It means a lot for Newcastle that Evotel is investing in our town. We are very grateful for the opportunities they are providing us with to work with them and establish a long working business relationship between Newcastle businesses and Evotel,” says Njabulo Mabaso, Newcastle Business Forum Chairperson.
Says Bekker: “We have made it a point to take our installations in towns further than simply installing the fibre network infrastructure and then leaving, but to involve local contractors wherever we can. On the civil side, through Mishbe Projects, we are employing local sub-contractors to do the installation and we are training them to continue the maintenance and upkeep of the network under contract with us.”
Mabuso is pleased that Evotel cares and is trying to involve as many small local contractors. “It will mean a future income for these businesses to do maintenance of the network after the installation is complete. It is a lifetime thing not just now.” he adds.
The Newcastle Business Forum (NBF) is a collaborative body that comprise, amongst others, the Newcastle Sakekamer; the KZN Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry; AfriForum and the Amajuba Business Chamber represents 55 of the town’s largest factories and 70 medium sized businesses.
“Eighty percent of the network installers are local contractors that have been vetted. Apart from utilising locals making communications much easier, it is also improving the standard of living of the people in the community. The bulk of the work is short term and we have created 200 jobs for the installation part of the project, but we are also training youths who can be employed to maintain the fibre network into the future,” says Mishbe Projects CEO, Mthandazo Ncube.
Evotel has also involved other small businesses in the region to assist with communication in their Public Participation Process to print and distribute information leaflets regarding the project to the Newcastle community.
Local business, Boldwin Distributors’ CEO, Willem Boshoff says: “I am very excited about Evotel’s investment in our community. It is good to plough back into the communities you operate in. Companies must be made to feel that they are needed and have a place in the society and that is what Evotel is doing. This is the way to make a difference and encourage growth.” Involving local businesses, according to Bekker, simply makes sense. “It makes the rollout of the network build smoother as the locals understand the environment much better and, if needed, more resources can be allocated to the project much quicker. Locals also do not shy away from contributing to their own community, because it will mean all will prosper from what they are doing and that is one of the things we aim to achieve,” he concludes.