More than R2 billion donated to the Solidarity Fund in two weeks

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(Phill Magakoe, AFP)
(Phill Magakoe, AFP)

The Solidarity Fund has extended its gratitude to South Africans for the generosity the fund experienced in the past week.

In just two weeks after President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement of a national disaster because of the novel coronavirus, the call for unity in action has seen over R2 billion in donations pledged to the fund. 

The chairperson of the fund, Gloria Serobe, said that large corporates to medium-sized businesses and members of the public have responded generously, despite the troubling economy and its unsettling outlook.

"The fund is particularly grateful to the more than 3 000 individuals who have contributed amounts ranging from R1 000 to R1 million.

"We are heartened by what has been achieved in the two weeks since the fund was announced. The willingness and speed with which our people have responded gives us hope for the challenging times that lie ahead," she said.

Serobe added that money received by the fund has been used for activities that will be critical to saving lives, such as the purchase of 5 million medical masks.

"By next week, these masks will arrive where they're needed most to protect doctors, nurses and community health workers on the frontline," Serobe said.

Future use of funds will focus on fast-tracking and accelerating critical interventions in the following areas:

- Health response: Direct support for the healthcare system, augmenting both the private and government healthcare sectors to ensure they have what they need, as well as enabling emergency supplies. To this effect, the fund has this week made a funding decision and approved a R100 million facility that will procure personal protective equipment to augment the efforts in public healthcare.

- Humanitarian effort: Enabling resilience through augmenting the efforts of government and business to provide various forms of humanitarian aid and support to the most vulnerable households and communities to enhance their ability to cope – through sustaining access to food, care and other interventions to alleviate potential income loss.

- Solidarity campaign: Mobilising citizens in unified action to flatten the curve and manage the pandemic and its impacts on households and communities. 

"The fund is guided by the president's imperatives to ensure that the funds are used in the most impactful manner, while it continues to engage closely with the government, members of civil society and business [leaders]."

READ | Donations, loans & pledges: What you need to know about those billions aimed at fighting Covid-19

The fund announced the finalisation of an independent board.

Former chief executive of Absa Wealth Investment Management, Nomkhita Nqweni, was appointed as the interim CEO of the fund. Nqweni has vast financial services experience, with a career spanning 24 years in the industry.

"We end the week filled with gratitude and awe; to all South Africans across every sphere of society for their generous donations in such a short space of time, you truly have mobilised in solidarity, and to the business leaders who have agreed to volunteer their time to ensure the most rigorous oversight of the use of South Africa's donated monies.

"We feel this board is the embodiment of robust governance and demonstrates not only strength across all stakeholders, but the seriousness and importance we place on our collective role in the fight against Covid-19," Serobe said. 

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