South Africa

South African Billionaire Patrice Motsepe Pledges 1 Billion Rand To Fight Coronavirus

South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe on Saturday announced his group of companies would donate 1 billion rand ($57 million) to help fight the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that has forced the country into total lockdown, reported Reuters.

South Africa entered a 21-day lockdown on Friday. According to government statistics, one person has died of the virus in South Africa, whereas more than 1,100 people have been infected.

During a media conference, Motsepe, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law and head of investment firm African Rainbow Capital, said several hundred million rands would immediately be made available with the primary objective of saving lives, slowing and restraining the spread of Covid-19. He said the money would be channeled through the government to build water, health and education facilities.

“These are indeed challenging, difficult and unprecedented times. It’s important that we come together as South Africans. We have a history of coming together to overcome serious challenges. The coronavirus challenge is one of these and cannot be underestimated. I am confident that in the medium term we will overcome these challenges,” said Motsepe.

The South African business tycoon said the foundation would focus on the poor especially those in rural areas.

The companies involved are the Motsepe Foundation, African Rainbow Capital, African Rainbow Minerals and Sanlam. 

Last week, the families of two of South Africa’s richest men, Nicky Oppenheimer and Johann Rupert, said they’d donate 1 billion rand each.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government also announced a package of more than 3 billion rand for industrial firms.

The pandemic has claimed close to 30 000 lives. Italy has been hit the heaviest with over 9 000 deaths.

South Africa currently faces a period of a deep recession. The country is facing additional headwinds after rating firm Moody’s downgraded the country’s long term foreign and local currency debt ratings to ‘Ba1’ from ‘Baa3’ with a negative outlook.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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