MTN Network Solutions (NS) has won a tender worth R166-million over three years to assist the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in ensuring an efficient deployment of its service delivery commitments.

The awarding of the tender was a lengthy process, with it being published in February 2007, and being awarded to MTN NS a few weeks ago. The contract requires MTN NS to provide VPN (Virtual Private Network) services to SASSA nationally across all its regional, local office and rural sites.
Says Mike Brierley, CEO of MTN NS: "This is a significant contract and the single largest tender that MTN NS has been awarded to date. The delivery timeline on the project is tight with a six-month roll-out, which offers some challenges to us. But, at the same time, it is a very exciting and rewarding contract for MTN NS, to assist SASSA in its significant role of the provision of social grants and pensions to some 12-million people throughout the country. It is by far the largest Government contract we have been awarded to date.
"Although the solution of deploying VPNs (virtual private networks) is not a complex one, the size and magnitude of the project is enormous. We need to connect and enable more than 800 sites in all nine provinces, including some very remote and rural areas that currently have no connectivity.
"The MTN NS solution involves a distributed architecture to connect all the local and regional offices in the provinces with SASSA's headquarters via regional POPs (points of presence), some of which need to be deployed in towns such as Klerksdorp and Rustenburg."
SASSA is tasked by the Department of Social Development to enhance the quality of service delivery by ensuring the accessibility of social grants by those who qualify for them across South Africa.
"SASSA's service has to be accessible in even the most remote areas of our country, and we have to come up with the solutions via our networks to make sure service delivery happens," states Brierley. "Using our expertise, we have been able to engineer a flexible solution including fixed lines, wireless and V-SAT to connect all their sites.
"The agency will also utilise MTN's mobile solutions to enable them to deliver on these business objectives. SASSA has developed applications for payouts of social grants and pension and these will be connected to the distribution points through our network.
"I do believe it was the ability of MTN NS to offer a flexible solution to meet all the requirements of SASSA that resulted in us winning the tender. The team put in the extra hours necessary and this has paid off.
"Now we need to work even harder to ensure our network solution is completed within the tight schedule but, we are confident that we will produce the goods to satisfy all of SASSA's complex delivery needs," he says.