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Solidarity Fund helps combat COVID-19

Written by: More Matshediso

There has been a heartwarming response to government’s call to people to donate to a fund established to respond to the coronavirus through prevention, detection, care and support.

South Africa’s Solidarity Fund, which was established by government after consultation with social partners, raised R2 billion in its first two weeks. 

Citizens learnt about the Solidarity Fund when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the nation would be going into a  lockdown. During his address to the nation, he said the fund – with seed capital of R150 million donated by the state – would contribute to the country’s COVID-19 response. 

“Following consultation with social partners, we have set up a Solidarity Fund, which South African businesses, organisations and individuals, and members of the international community, can contribute to,” said President Ramaphosa.

The President said never before in the history of South Africa’s democracy has the country been confronted by such a severe situation, however, it is a situation; that we will be able to overcome if we work together. 

The fund is chaired by renowned businesswoman Gloria Serobe who is committed to upholding the highest principles of corporate governance. She is supported by an independent board. The President said the fund will account fully for every cent that is contributed.

The money raised through secure, tax-deductible donations will be used to;

  • curb the spread of the disease; 
  • detect and understand the magnitude of the disease; 
  • care for those in hospital or under medical care; 
  • and support those whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic.

Through this fund, individuals and organisations will be able to support these efforts through secure, tax-deductible donations. 

Solidarity Fund transparent 

According to the Solidarity Fund, it will operate with the highest principles of corporate governance and through an independent board. All activities will be reported in a transparent manner.

The President said the fund will account fully for every cent contributed and will also boast a board of eminent South Africans to ensure proper governance.

In the early days of the fund's establishment, government provided a seed capital of R150 million and the private sector has also pledged to support the fund with financial contributions in the coming period.   

The President applauded the commitment made by the Rupert and Oppenheimer families following their contributions of R1 billion each to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the pandemic.

 Days later, Mary Oppenheimer and daughters and then the Motsepe family, in partnership with the companies and organisations that they are associated with, each donated R1 billion.

The Motsepe Foundation and associated companies also handed over a consignment of masks and gloves to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. 

The foundation said the equipment will distributed in the country’s nine provinces to assist in ensuring that healthcare workers are protected as they remain in the frontline of the COVID-19 battle.

“We will be spending money to save lives and to support the economy,” said the President.

The fund will be independently administered by a team of people drawn from financial institutions, accounting firms and government.