Mary Oppenheimer and daughters donate R1 billion to Covid-19 Solidarity Fund

Mary Oppenheimer, the daughter of the late mining magnate Harry Oppenheimer, and her daughters will be donating R1 billion to the solidarity fund aimed at fighting the coronavirus, following in the footsteps of other prominent South African business families.

The donation is separate from the South African Future Trust initiative launched by her brother Nicky Oppenheimer last week. 

In an announcement on Tuesday, Mary and her daughters said they thought "long and hard" about where they could make "the greatest difference" in the fight against the virus, that has already claimed the lives of 5 people in the country and infected 1 353.   

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that a solidarity fund has been set up to support initiatives aimed fighting the virus. The fund is a public benefit organisation and allows individuals, companies and members of the international community to make tax-deductible donations.

The family said the fund was "most aligned"  to their concerns about basic needs, food, medicine, general care and gender abuse. 

"We are grateful for all the other efforts, small and large, that South Africans are making to help our country through this difficult time."

Updating the media earlier in the week, the fund said it had made R100 million available as working capital to urgently fund purchase of critical medical supplies to protect health workers. R52 million of this will go towards purchasing 5 million surgical masks.

Mary's father, Harry Oppenheimer,  was former chairman of Anglo American and De Beers. He died in 2000.

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