The Motsepe Foundation, financial services group Sanlam and related companies have pledged R1 billion to help efforts to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in South Africa.
The Foundation, whose founder and chairman is billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe, announced the pledge in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
It said Motsepe’s companies, including African Rainbow Capital (ARC) and African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), are also part of the initiative.
‘Slowing coronavirus spread’
Motsepe said, “Several hundred million rands will immediately be made available with the primary objective of saving lives and slowing and restraining the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are purchasing sanitisers, disinfectants, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are in discussions with government, health workers and other stakeholders to assist with acquiring other equipment and making resources available which are essential for dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.”
The prominent businessman said they are buying water tanks (jojos), drilling water boreholes and building sanitary facilities for poor and rural communities.
“Our short to medium-term interventions include building additional classrooms, computer centres and laboratories in all the nine provinces of South Africa to assist with the excessively high number of students per classroom in some schools; particularly in the context of the current coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing requirements,” Motsepe added.
Rupert and Oppenheimer families’ R1b pledges
The CEO of ARC, Dr Johan van Zyl, also said, “We have been in contact with various Ministers and MECs and will also be in contact with the government’s Coronavirus Solidarity Fund to identify specific initiatives and projects where we can partner and work together.”
The pledge comes soon after President Cyril Ramaphosa thanked the billionaire Rupert and Oppenheimer families for their respective R1 billion pledges.
In his address to the nation on Monday (23 March), Ramaphosa said the donations will “assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”
He also said South African businesses, organisations, individuals and members of the international community can contribute to the Solidarity Fund.
“To get things moving, Government is providing seed capital of R150 million and the private sector has already pledged to support this fund with financial contributions in the coming period,” the President said.
South Africa is currently going through a 21-day lockdown period until midnight on Thursday, 16 April in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
As of Friday, South Africa had 1,170 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death. 31 people who had tested positive had also recovered.