Solidarity Fund receives R2.6 billion in pledges
Johannesburg - The Solidarity Fund has received R2.6 billion in pledges from various individuals and companies, its chief executive Nomkhita Nqweni confirmed on Thursday.
The fund was launched last month by President Cyril Ramaphosa in response to the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus. The funds would be used to assist the government in fighting the spread of the virus and mitigating its effects.
On Thursday, Nqweni announced a 12-member board had been appointed to administer the fund's affairs. A total of 1 000 companies have donated to the fund and various other organisations. Over 70 000 individuals had also donated to the fund.
The fund's chairperson Gloria Serobe said the board appointments were made to ensure accountability and transparency. With regards to questions about the use of funds and ensuring that it is not abused, PricewaterhouseCoopers has been appointed as the fund's auditors at no cost.
The fund's healthcare lead Jonathan Broomberg said the fund was meant to support the government especially in areas such as healthcare to lessen the burden on the healthcare system and the effects of the pandemic.
Broomberg said R1.1 billion from the fund had been approved for the healthcare sector. The has so far been used to obtain personal protective equipment for frontline workers. Broomberg said this equipment, about R240 million, had already been purchased which includes over 21 million masks and gloves, sanitizers and gowns.
Some of the equipment also includes test kits.Broomberg also explained that the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) would be allowed access to funds to purchase 400 000 test kits to help increase testing availability.
The fund has also been used to purchase food, about 20 000 food parcels, which will be distributed to communities in need across the country.
"The fund is committed to full transparency. We have ensured that all of the Solidarity Fund's funds have gone directly to beneficiaries and that food reaches its intended beneficiaries," Nicola Galombik, the fun's lead on humanitarian interventions.
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