Ivanplats is cognisant that the long lamented ‘digital divide’ remains alive and well but an increasing number of companies are realising the benefit of fast-tracking digital access for their workforce and neighbouring communities.
Ivanplats’ Platreef platinum, gold and nickel mining project is based in Mokopane, in South Africa’s Limpopo province. Its operations are at the heart of a large community marked by socioeconomic challenges such as youth unemployment.
Ivanplats had sought permission from the Department of Mineral Resources to develop and implement a multi-faceted “Youth Digital Communication Project” in Mokopane Municipality as part of its social and labour plan.
This aims to digitally activate the external mining communities, local businesses, youth enterprises as well as their internal workforce to facilitate meaningful social and economic participation.
A spin-off for local unemployed youth is the opportunity to become providers of digital services in the area. With phase one in progress, 17 local youth enterprises have already trained over 3 000 community members to connect to locally-provided free WiFi and use online services through a zero-rated community portal aptly named Maru A Mokopane, or Clouds of Mokopane.
Maru A Mokopane offers zero rated access to opportunities, news, a local business directory, a feedback section, eLearning, online banking as well as 300 MB daily to search any other sites.
“We aim to build a common platform from which our internal and external communities can communicate and collaborate and have access to information such as news and alerts about matters that are important to them or present opportunities,” says Ivanplats MD, Dr Patricia Makhesha.
“At the same time, the community will have constant access to employment and procurement information at Ivanplats.”
Key stakeholders have expressed their enthusiasm for the project, which officially launched on Youth Day this year.
“Ivanplats is the most recent manifestation of our solution that is designed to help companies span the digital divide with meaningful, user-friendly and accessible digital services delivered via customised community portals,” explains CanPro MD, Liesel Kirsten.
“As our network of clients expands, we are also in a better position to foster collaboration between communities and engage other companies who wish to add value in particular locations by investing in digital services for their stakeholders.”
Feature image credit: Ivanplats