Brian Sokutu
Senior Print Journalist
3 minute read
4 May 2020
7:00 am

More pledges to Solidarity Fund to fight Covid-19

Brian Sokutu

Among the latest companies to come up with initiatives towards fighting Covid-19 is gift company Native Vibes and leading European bank BNP Paribas.

The head of the Gavi Vaccine Alliance said confidence in an eventual COVID-19 vaccine would be boosted if political leaders were seen getting immunised, saying he was "quite disturbed" by highly-politicised campaigns against vaccination. AFP/Thibault Savary

As pledges received by the Solidarity Fund currently stand at a whopping R1.8 billion, South African businesses and individuals continue to contribute monetary and material assistance as the country grapples with the global spread of coronavirus, which has sparked a lockdown.

Among the latest companies to come up with initiatives towards fighting Covid-19 is gift company Native Vibes and leading European bank BNP Paribas.

Native Vibes and its subsidiary, A Taste of South Africa, have pledged to contribute 10% of revenue to the fight against the coronavirus through a crowd-funding platform UpLift-Me, which will distribute funds to various Covid-19 initiatives, according to founder Nafeesa Vayani.

“South Africa needs its people to stand united during the coronavirus crisis,” said Vayani.

“In a country reeling from a high unemployment rate, Covid-19 has presented unprecedented challenges, requiring all of us to make a contribution.”

BNP Paribas has committed R6.5 million towards local support for hospitals, vulnerable people and the youth – part of a global assistance initiative covering 30 countries.

The funding will go toward the Solidarity Fund and non-governmental organisations Haven Night Shelter network and Afrika Tikkun.

Its head of territory, Vikas Khandelwal, said: “In April, we launched a €50 million (about R1 billion) plan to help hospitals and vulnerable populations across more than 30 countries globally in the context of the current global pandemic.

“As part of this plan, we are proud to mobilise funding in South Africa to assist those most affected by the crisis, helping to flatten the curve and supporting those whose lives have been substantially disrupted by the pandemic.”

Consumer finance business RCS (a BNP Paribas wholly owned subsidiary) chief executive Regan Adams explained: “In addition to our commitment to South Africa’s Solidarity Fund, we also plan to assist NGOs such as the Haven Night Shelter and Afrika Tikkun, who are providing support to local communities impacted by the pandemic.

“The Haven Night Shelter, a network of 15 homeless centres across the Western Cape, provides shelter and social welfare services to those in need, while Afrika Tikkun is distributing emergency relief supplies directly to some of the most vulnerable communities in South Africa, which include Alexandra, Diepsloot, Braamfontein and Mfuleni.”

Meanwhile, online charity organisers will tomorrow launch Giving Tuesday – a global day of charity – part of a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Marius Maré, president of GivenGain, #GivingTuesdayNow could be the country’s biggest-ever day of online fundraising.

“South Africa has among the highest numbers of Covid-19 cases on the continent and charities here are really struggling, but we’ve already seen an amazing response,” said Maré.

“Fundraisers and charities on our platform have already stepped up in a big way to keep spreading kindness, even as we’ve seen big fundraising events being closed during lockdown.

“We’ll be doing all we can to help them continue to do so on 5 May and beyond. Their generosity has the power to unite and heal communities in good times and bad – and right now that’s exactly what we all need,” he said.

Since inception, the Solidarity Fund, launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa, has received contributions from more than 1,000 businesses and tens of thousands of South Africans.

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