JOHANNESBURG – In the last month, Marshall Town in Johannesburg's CBD has been hit by two significant fires, destroying the homes of hundreds of residents and leaving them without shelter or basic amenities. As part of Vodacom's commitment to the communities it serves, the mobile operator has handed over aid packages containing essential items to help the community during this difficult time.
"As a purpose-led business, we feel a duty of care towards those communities we serve," says Oyisa Besman, Managing Executive: Consumer Business Unit for Vodacom Gauteng Region. "Our commitment to our communities extends beyond providing connectivity. We are proud to be able to use our resources to help the victims and bring some sense of dignity and security."
The Speaker of Johannesburg Council, Cllr. Colleen Makhubele commented: "The enormity of the challenges posed by the Marshall Town fires require a coordinated response between government and private-sector companies. The Johannesburg Council advocates for stronger partnerships to be forged between government and the private sector as part of the plan to improve people's lives. Therefore, we applaud Vodacom for taking heed and for the humanitarian aid to help victims of Marshall Town fires. We appeal to other big corporates to do the same."
The first of the fires occurred at a building previously used as the Usindiso Centre for Women and Children. The blaze ripped through the structure, resulting in 77 lives being lost and 61 people sustaining injury. Between the two incidents, hundreds have lost their homes, leaving them without access to food or proper sanitation. To help those in need, Vodacom Gauteng handed over 250 food parcels and an additional 250 of sanitary dignity packs.
Each food parcel contains maize meal, rice, sugar, coffee, tea, baked beans, corned meat, tinned fish, peanut butter, jam, soup packets, soya mince, and cooking oil to sustain victims and their families. On top of this, the sanitary packs which were also distributed contained two bars of soap, sanitary pads, body lotion, toothpaste, a face cloth, toothbrush, deodorant, and two rolls of toilet paper to help victims maintain their dignity.
"We are deeply saddened by the events which took place in Marshall Town over the last month and hope that this contribution can go some way in helping those affected, manage during this difficult time" concluded Besman.