Communities thrive with Glencore’s free WiFi

posted: 18/11/2021

Johannesburg, South Africa
November 2021

Glencore has once again gone out of their way to meet the ever-changing social needs of their host communities as the country attempts to deal with the innumerable challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, they’ve done this by helping communities gain access to information at a time where many are unable to visit libraries or go to school because they want to protect themselves and loved ones from contracting this virus. With their free Wi-Fi initiative, Glencore has decided to increase their free Wi-Fi from 500MB to 1GB of data per person, per day. The free Wi-Fi allows up to 250 users at each hotspot to connect to the internet and gain access to information and educational content.

Beauty Matlala, a community member in the Witbank area, is one of the many fortunate community members to have access to Glencore’s free Wi-Fi. A 43-year-old widowed mother of two, Beauty has faced many challenges, including having to raise her children on her own. She recently enrolled in the ECD training programme offered by Glencore to better her chances of employment in order to give her children a better life. The ECD training programme, which started in 2012, is a Glencore skills development initiative to help child caregivers across the Mpumalanga area attain the required minimum level 4 qualification in Early Childhood Development, and as one of the women in the area who is part of this programme, Beauty says the free Wi-Fi has assisted her greatly 

“Since I enrolled as part of Glencore’s ECD programme, I have found that Glencore’s free Wi-Fi has played such a key role in helping me do the research required in order to complete my projects and assignments. What I love about Glencore’s free Wi-Fi initiative is that it’s not just beneficial to us as ECD students, but to everyone who’s been struggling with access to information due to the high data costs,” she said.

Beauty’s story seems to be the perfect embodiment of Glencore’s ‘Progress Together’ motto, which aims to help communities to foster sustainable growth, especially in rural areas with limited service delivery, and impact the community.

“People like Beauty are a great inspiration for us at Glencore because they push us to continue to do more to equip our communities with better skills and resources to improve their livelihoods. This story is a reminder of why we do what we do and what it really means to progress together,” explained Glencore Coal’s Community Manager, Gracious Maswanganyi.

Another community member, Nimrod Gaskin from Kriel, whose son makes use of the Glencore free Wi-Fi, says the initiative was perfect for the community. “I told my son and his friends about the Glencore free Wi-Fi as soon as I heard it was available. Since then, it is not uncommon to find him, and his friends and many other community members gathered outside the Thubelihle Community Hall to access educational content or to do research using the Wi-Fi,” he said. 

Nimrod says what has stood out the most for him about Glencore is that they consult community members before rolling out a project. “Not only is Glencore the first company to do something like this in the community, but what we are really thankful for is that they allowed us to have an input so they could invest in something that would actually make a difference in the community,” he added. 

The Wi-Fi initiative by Glencore is currently available in 19 Wi-Fi hotspots across three local municipalities, and an additional 10 hotspots have been added in areas where there is high foot traffic to ensure it reaches even more people.  
Beauty says her greatest hope is to positively impact the lives of as many people as she can with the skills she is acquiring through Glencore’s ECD training programme. With the free Wi-Fi from Glencore as an added bonus, the sky is the limit for all those who wish to improve themselves through enhanced knowledge by accessing the wealth of information that is readily available on the internet.

The companies in which Glencore plc directly and indirectly has an interest are separate and distinct legal entities. In this document, “Glencore”, “Glencore group” and “Group” are used for convenience only where references are made to Glencore plc and its subsidiaries in general. These collective expressions are used for ease of reference only and do not imply any other relationship between the companies. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer collectively to members of the Group or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies.


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