Naspers commits R1.5bn to fight against coronavirus

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Naspers has committed R1.5 billion in emergency funding to aid the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak, the group said in a statement on Monday.

It will contribute R500 million to the Solidarity Response Fund, an independent relief fund announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Government seeded it with initial funding of R150 million.

In addition to the R500 million, Naspers will buy R1 billion worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies in China, in partnership with the Chinese government and Tencent.

This will be flown out to South Africa as soon as possible, the statement said.

"By working with government and civil society we want to help our country overcome this very difficult period. We hope this combination of support will help to make a difference in South Africa’s response to Covid-19," said South Africa CEO Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa.

Group CEO Bob van Dijk added that the coronavirus pandemic required "dramatic action" and that Naspers was contributing to the measures already underway in South Africa. Additionally, he thanked the government of China and Tencent.

"We have great appreciation for the encouragement we received from the Chinese government - also their diplomatic mission in South Africa. They always been a friend to Africa and we value their solidarity in this crisis," added Naspers chair Koos Bekker.

* Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe. Fin24 is part of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers.

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