The COVID-19 Solidarity Fund has received a major boost after Mary Oppenheimer and her daughters announced a R1 billion donation on Tuesday.
Mary Oppenheimer is the daughter of the late businessman and philanthropist Harry Oppenheimer. She is also Nicky Oppenheimer’s brother.
The donation follows a separate R1 billion pledge by Nicky and his son Jonathan to help small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) overcome COVID-19’s impact.
Solidarity Fund ‘most aligned to our concerns’
In a statement, Mary said, “My daughters and I have thought long and hard about where we could make the greatest difference in this fight and have decided it is to support the humanitarian needs of everyone living in South Africa.
“So, we think that it is the Solidarity Fund which is most aligned to our concerns about basic needs about food, medicine, general care and gender abuse.”
She said she was proud of Nicky and his family’s “patriotism” in launching the SA Future Trust (SAFT), which will administer their separate donation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the establishment of the Solidarity Fund in his address to the nation on 23 March. The government provided seed funding of R150 million for the Fund, which will be privately managed.
SAFT’s assistance to SMMEs
Mary signed off her statement along with Victoria Freudenheim, Rebecca Oppenheimer, Jessica Jell and Rachel Diamond.
The Oppenheimer family has now donated a total of R2 billion towards the response against COVID-19.
SAFT will administer Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimers’ R1 billion donation in the form interest-free loans to SMMEs.
According to its website, it will “extend direct financial support to SMME employees who are at risk of losing their jobs or will suffer a loss of income because of COVID-19.”
The employees will carry no liability, but the SMMEs employing them will repay SAFT at an interest-free rate over a period of five years.
To qualify for funding, SMMEs need to have an annual turnover of less than R25 million and should have been trading for at least 24 months.
They should also have been sustainable businesses as of 29 February, 2020 and should be adversely affected by COVID-19.