News24 Wire
3 minute read
17 Jul 2020
4:57 pm

Solidarity Fund has allocated R2.2bn in virus fight, ‘anti-graft measures in place’

News24 Wire

'We are able to track and trace, as much as possible, how each rand that South Africans have contributed is making a difference,' said interim CEO Nomkhita Nqweni.

Healthcare trains converted into mobile Covid-19 testing units as the Solidarity Fund partners Transnet. Photo: Supplied

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Nqweni explained how the fund controlled its spending to ensure corruption does not seep in.

“We are ensuring that we stick to and maintain the highest and strictest levels of government as it related to how we disperse our funds.

“There are various levels of controls and risk mitigation, not only in decision-making processes, but also in execution in terms of the accountability – how we contract, how we ensure that we [hold ourselves] to account as well in terms of how the funds have been dispersed to ensure that we are able to track and trace, as much as possible, how each rand that South Africans have contributed is making a difference,” she said.

Nqweni added there is also a structure of governance within the fund, including the board and sub-committees who look at the audit.

These structures, she added, look at what is dispersed and decisions made.

“We have also said previously that we have adopted the three lines of defence risk model where, in addition to the management and the board who provide the oversight, we also have external and internal auditors and legal teams that are continuously working with us on a pro bono basis to ensure that everything we do in the fund can stand up to scrutiny.”

What the fund has done so far

Nqweni said that R2.2 billion had been allocated to fund initiatives which support and care for those affected by the pandemic, with R1.9 billion of this marked for the health response.

Jonathan Broomberg, health head for the Solidarity Fund, said the fund had been working to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment for health workers and hospitals – including field hospitals.

“The first phase of the fund’s intervention was strongly focused on securing adequate quantities of PPE, specifically for healthcare workers and community care workers,” he explained.

“The bulk of the PPE has arrived timeously, much of it has already been dispatched to the provinces and thus far the fund has distributed almost 20 million units of PPE including gloves, gowns, masks, sanitisers and face shields,” Broomberg explained.

The next phase of the work would look at the public hospital system given the sharp rise in Covid-19 infections in the country.

Last week, the fund approved R405 million in funding for medical equipment in provincial hotspots, including Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

This includes an additional 760 ventilators and respiratory support devices.

For field hospitals erected in Gauteng at Nasrec and in Tshwane, the fund would provide money to procure almost 40 000 items of hospital equipment.

Another focus of the fund was to invest in local manufacturing of medical equipment.

“The fund has invested R250 million towards the local manufacturing of 20 000 non-invasive CPAP ventilators, this is being done through the National Ventilator Project, the majority of these will be manufactured by the CSIR and some by other manufacturers.

“These are now in production and we hope that some of these will reach the clinical front line in the near future and the rest of the 20 000 will be manufactured continuously to support the public hospital system across the country.”

The fund has also contributed R250 million to support the National Health Laboratory Services in the testing for Covid-19, as well as R88 million to capacitate seven universities across the country.

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