Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe has become the latest South African billionaire to donate towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa is currently the hardest-hit country in the continent, after registering well over 1 000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with one death as of Friday.
Patrice Motsepe announces R1bn pledge
Earlier in the month, two prominent SA businessmen, Nicky Oppenheimer and Johann Rupert, donated R1bn apiece toward small and medium enterprises, in anticipation of the financial knock emerging businesses are set to suffer during the ongoing national lockdown.
Motsepe held a virtual press conference on Saturday and, on behalf of businesses he is associated with, announced a R1bn pledge, with several thousand of Rands from the amount set to be made available immediately.
The tycoon said his foundation is working to aid vulnerable communities during this crisis.
“We are purchasing sanitisers, disinfectants, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are in discussions with government, health workers and other stakeholders to assist with acquiring other equipment and making resources available which are essential for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “We’ve been advised that access to water for regularly washing hands is crucial for slowing and limiting the spread of the coronavirus. We are therefore providing water to poor rural and urban communities by purchasing water tanks, drilling and equipping for borehole water and also building sanitary facilities.”
Rural schools to benefit from the donation
Motsepe said they are also working on assisting in providing infrastructures in schools across South Africa’s nine provinces. This is mainly to reduce the number of pupils in each classroom in rural schools and facilitate social distancing requirements.
“Those schools in the poor rural and urban areas which do not have internet access or facilities will be assisted with study guides, scientific calculators, dictionaries and other educational equipment and facilities identified in consultation with the Department of Basic Education, school principals and teachers,” he said. “Poor and underdeveloped communities are ill-prepared to deal with the serious challenges and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and are in dire need of our assistance and contributions.
“We are committed to contribute to the provision of quality education, infrastructure and other facilities to better prepare and equip them to deal with future pandemics or catastrophes.”
South Africa has recorded 1170 cases of COVID-19, with one death reported.