The Southern African Chinese Entrepreneurs Association has raised R947991 to purchase desperately needed food assistance for the people of Mozambique, as well as clothing, blankets and solar power.
The association has already distributed R344 855 worth of relief supplies to Beira which was devastated by Cyclone Idai.
The money was collected from Chinese business people in various African countries and used to buy goods locally in Mozambique, thereby also assisting the country’s economy. An additional R603 026 worth of goods left Joburg yesterday for Mozambique.
Relief supplies include sugar, flour, salt, biscuits, super maize meal, cake, rice, instant noodles, blankets, towels, slippers, clothing, quilts, batteries and solar power panels.
The handover of goods took place at the Panthera Express warehouse in Isando, Joburg, where Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian symbolically handed the goods over to the High Commissioner from Mozambique Paulino Macaringue.
“As entrepreneurs we are making this donation for humanity. We are Chinese Africans living in countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Nigeria, and Angola.
"When this continent has a problem, it is also our problem as we are part of Africa’s history now,” chairperson of the association, Guodong Li, told Independent Media.
“I have lived in South Africa for 23 years; my two children were born here and we feel it is important to help neighbouring countries in need as they have helped us a lot.
"This is from our hearts, not from the Chinese government.
“Our association was only established two years ago, but we will do this again when the need arises.
"We make money here and now we have to pay back,” Guodong added.
The association also raised R100 000 for relief supplies which were sent to Zimbabwe.
While the Chinese entrepreneurs acknowledged that they provided employment opportunities to local people, they also recognised the need to become more involved in the community, and provide services in emergency situations.
The Chinese community in Mozambique is not that large, which is also why the broader association stepped in to provide assistance.
Chinese Ambassador Lin, speaking at the handover ceremony said: “A powerful Chinese medical team was dispatched immediately to the affected areas for medical relief.
“China’s relief efforts are a real testimony to the brotherhood between China and Africa. One Chinese state-owned enterprise in Mozambique lost no time in helping the local government and people reconstruct the country’s national highway N6, which was destroyed by the flood, for disaster-relief efforts and reconstruction.
"Another Chinese state-owned enterprise, the China National Petroleum Corporation in Mozambique, has donated $200 000 (R2.8m) to the disaster-stricken areas.”
The China-Africa Development Fund made a donation of much-needed relief supplies worth R800 000.