Ramaphosa to donate half his presidential salary to new Madiba 'Thuma Mina' Fund

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will donate half of his presidential salary this year to a new fund, which is to be launched in honour of the 100th anniversary of former president Nelson Mandela's birth.

Ramaphosa was addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday for his first presidential budget vote debate speech.

Towards the end of his speech, Ramaphosa said he continued to receive many enquiries about his "Thuma mina (Send me)" campaign and said there was much which South Africans could contribute.

"In memory of Madiba, in recognition of the great sacrifices he made and his tireless commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable, there is something that many of us can do.

"We are looking for people with skills, time and commitment to 'lend a hand' to these community-based projects through mentoring, training and capacity building.

"In this way, we aim to provide South Africans with a tangible opportunity, with a significant impact, to be an integral part of the fight against poverty.

"I have decided to contribute to half my presidential salary to a fund that will be managed by the Nelson Mandela Fund.

"This is a private, citizen-driven initiative that will ask all those with the means to contribute a small portion of their salaries to supporting the many small projects that build the nation.

"This fund will be launched on the 18th of July to mark the 100th anniversary of Madiba's birth and will be called the Nelson Mandela Thuma Mina Fund."

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Ramaphosa said he has encountered many people – "many of whom who do not have much themselves" – who were working to improve the lives of others, including church members, professionals, NGOs, pensioners and township residents who have set up libraries, among others.

"Many more South Africans want to know how they can contribute, how they can make a difference. There is much that citizens can do."

By working together, and by drawing on all resources and capabilities, South Africans could reach its destination, he said.

"As we undertake this important work together, as we travel further along the path of growth and transformation, we are imbued with a new spirit.

"We have travelled far. We still have much further to go. I have no doubt that we will reach our destination," he finished.

The ANC welcomed Ramaphosa's gesture.

"This is a clear and tangible indication of the seriousness with which the ANC views it's commitment to the recently launched Thuma Mina campaign that is underpinned on being of service to others and its solutions driven objectives," said party spokesperson Pule Mabe.

"This will go a long way in decreasing the burden of poverty, experienced by the downtrodden and offers some respite on inequalities brought about by unemployment."

Opposition parties were still due to respond to Ramaphosa's speech in its entirety on Wednesday. The debate is expected to continue until 20:00.

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