Covid-19: Solidarity Fund raises R500m in a week
Johannesburg - A week after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the Solidarity Fund to care for citizens affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund has raised more than R500million in donations.
The Solidarity Fund held a webcast media Fbriefing on Monday to give clarity on its work, which aims to assist the most vulnerable in South Africa’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Gloria Serobe, chairperson of the fund, said more than R500m had been raised so far this past week.
“That is a compilation of corporate and government contributions, and most exciting are individuals who have given of their own money.”
She said the fund’s key objective was to ensure rapid and targeted action to “cushion” the impact of the pandemic for the most vulnerable, support communities, and unite South Africans in the fight against the outbreak.
The main focuses were health support to the public and private health-care centres, humanitarian efforts and the Solidarity Campaign.
Executive director of Yellowwoods, Nicola Galombik, said the fund had already arranged an immediate working capital facility of R100m to urgently purchase personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
“They're the people on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we’re mobilising South Africans to support them,” she said.
The personal protective equipment would be used to fill the gaps in the supply of public healthcare systems, and support community-level healthcare workers.
Galombik said the first R52m of the facility would be used to fund the purchase of masks, gloves and other protective equipment from China.
“We’ve also mobilised to launch a nationwide Solidarity Campaign to unite the nation, and inspire and mobilise South Africans to heed the call to stay at home.
“The multimedia campaign will focus on flattening the curve through a co-ordinated communication and community campaign,” she said.
Galombik added that the other priorities under discussion were virus testing, ventilators, and food for the most vulnerable communities.
Serobe said the Solidarity Fund would be used to get assistance to where it was most needed.
“The fund is not going to fund SMMEs or NGOs specifically, but they’re part of the areas of focus that we’ve mentioned,” she said.
The fund would work closely with the government and businesses for South Africa’s response team, but be separate and independent, said Business Unity South Africa vice-president Martin Kingston.