Sustaining the fight

2020-04-22 06:00
                                                      photo: gallo imagesComrades Marathon champion Edward Mothibi will have to wait a bit longer before he can defend his title.

photo: gallo imagesComrades Marathon champion Edward Mothibi will have to wait a bit longer before he can defend his title.

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THE Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has quickly stressed that their recent monetary donations in the fight against Covid-19 have not been drawn out of the 2020 runners’ entry fees or substitution fees.

At the weekend, the Pietermaritzburg-based CMA announced its decision to join the fight against the virus that has forced this year’s race to be postponed by pledging R250 000 to the Solidarity Fund and Gift of the Givers Foundation.

The donation comes soon after CMA together with Athletics South Africa (ASA) confirmed that the June 14 race has been postponed to a later date that is yet to be confirmed.

The Comrades Marathon entry fees are not refundable under any circumstances, even if the race doesn’t go ahead.

In a bid to make sure the virus is beaten and that the race does happen this year, the CMA board, led by chairperson Cheryl Winn, met on Friday and undertook to donate funds towards Solidarity Fund and local NGO the Gift of the Givers.

Gift of the Givers will get R150 000 of the R250 000, while the government-initiated Solidarity Fund will receive R100 000.

In a statement, Winn said the donation was a token of appreciation and support for the hard work, determination and grit with which South Africa’s essential workers are serving the nation.

“As the CMA, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to the fight against Covid-19 through our donation to the Solidarity Fund and the Gift of the Givers Foundation,” said Winn.

The chairperson insisted that the donations have been released from the Comrades Marathon’s specially designated Corporate Social Investment Fund.

“In previous years in which the CMA has produced an annual surplus, we have a standing policy of allocating two-thirds of any surplus to a Contingency Fund intended to sustain the race through tough economic times; and one-third to our CSI Fund through which the CMA gives back to the society and environment in which we operate,” she said.

“Given that the past three years have been lean, these particular donations will just about deplete our existing CSI Fund, but we are of the view that there can be no greater time, nor cause than the present.”

Winn added that as the nation is currently engaged in a global war against an invisible enemy, “it is perhaps fitting to reflect that the values of grit, determination, courage, hope, humanity and selflessness upon which the Comrades Marathon was founded have never been forgotten, as an entire nation honours the constraints of the 35-day National Lockdown, and prays for the safety and wellbeing of South Africa and the world.”

Founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, said as a local NGO it’s a fantastic feeling to work with the CMA, which is also based in Pietermaritzburg.

“This donation could not have come at a better time and will be used to serve those institutions and communities where it is critically needed. We cannot overstate how we value and appreciate this kind gesture by the Comrades Marathon and are privileged to be associated with this great event,” said Sooliman.

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