The Motsepe Foundation and associated companies have pledged R1 billion towards the fight against the ‘invisible enemy’, the coronavirus.
Patrice Motsepe, the founder and chairperson of the Motsepe Foundation, said poor communities would be the primary target of the pledge as they were the most ill-prepared.
He said the money would be spent on sanitisers, personal protective equipment, water tankers, drilling activities for boreholes, assisting university students, providing internet infrastructure and building classrooms, among other things.
“Poor communities are ill-prepared to deal with the threat and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and various diseases that confront society. It is the poor that will be the primary focus of the partnership,” said Motsepe.
Motsepe said the coronavirus was an unprecedented challenge and that it was important for the foundation to stand with the poor during these tough times.
“It is important that we come together. It is important that we send a message to the poor and the marginalized, to say we will always be there. In these challenging times, it is important that many of our people do not feel helpless, hopeless and also that they do not panic,” he said.
Motsepe said they would be working with traditional leaders, mayors, premiers, MECs, NGOs, sporting and religious organizations, trade unions, black and white farmers to deal with the scourge of the virus.
“We will deal with this pandemic like we have with other major challenges we have had,” he said.
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, the deputy chairperson and chief executive of the Motsepe Foundation said they would be spending R5 million immediately to help the University of Cape Town students who had been forced to leave the institution amid the lockdown. The university announced earlier this week that classes would be going virtual.
“This is the time we are called on to show the value of Ubuntu by collaborating, working with each other and caring for those who are vulnerable.
“Students in university, we have been talking about the 4th Industrial Revolution, it is time for universities to think about how poor people access education, we might have to think about online and bricks and mortar
“I have approached the foundation to make R5 million available to assist students at the University of Cape Town after I saw on TV one of the young students talk about how they were being told to leave university but continue to work at home, but she does not have a laptop,” she said.
Moloi-Motsepe said they would ensure students continued to have the best chance to succeed in life.
Motsepe said the foundation was already supporting thousands of students at universities around the country and has been in partnership with universities for years. He said they, as the foundation, had a deep obligation to the people of South Africa, and the African continent.
“A few years ago, Africa was confronted by Ebola. The Motsepe Foundation made a contribution and were part. We are now confronted by the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be looking and seeing how we can assist.
“We have a deep obligation to the people of South Africa and the people on the African continent.
There will be other partnerships and projects to deal with some of those challenges, we will donate money and provide resources,” he said.
Moloi-Motsepe said South Africa, which has a high HIV and TB prevalence, was at great risk of seeing severe effects of the Covid-19 virus.
“It is important we come together to support the healthcare workers, the nurses, the doctors, to ensure they save lives. Because of the lockdown, our economy is now made worse. I want for us to look at the opportunities this pandemic presents,” she said.
The Motsepe Foundation and its associated partners including African Rainbow Minerals, African Rainbow Capital and Sanlam, have called on other businesses and corporates to make contributions where they could to strengthen the fight against the virus.
Sanlam chief executive Ian Kirk said the company had a rich history of putting people first, and they would be doing just that.
“Today, we’re proud of the partnership with the Motsepe Family and its associated companies. We believe these efforts will make a meaningful contribution not only towards fighting the coronavirus but also in developing the long-term sustainability of South Africans, particularly in poor and rural areas,” he said.
African Rainbow Capital’s chief executive, Dr. Johan van Zyl, said the nation found itself in uncharted waters.
“It is now time for each and every one of us to demonstrate leadership and help. ARC is a fairly young company with limited financial resources. Yet, it remains important that we make a contribution. In this regard, we are partnering with companies and organizations with which we have common interests and share common values to ensure that the positive impact we aim to make is felt”.
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