Covid-19, June 24, 2020, 6:28 p.m.

The South Africa Coronavirus CivicActs Campaign (CCC) - Solidarity Fund


It has been more than two months since the Solidarity Fund was set up and President Cyril Ramaphosa made calls for people from far and wide to join the fight against COVID-19 by donating to the Fund.

It has been more than two months since the Solidarity Fund was set up and President Cyril Ramaphosa made calls for people from far and wide to join the fight against COVID-19 by donating to the Fund. In this issue, we are honing in on the impact of the Fund and unpacking how much money has been raised, what the money has been spent on and what mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that the donations received reach the intended beneficiaries.


When the Fund was set up, its target was to raise R4 billion. Since then, donations to the Fund have come in from individuals, large corporations, medium sized businesses, various communities and ordinary citizens. At present, R2,6 billion has been received and R2,9 billion has been pledged.The purpose of the Fund is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, contribute to testing and research on the virus, ensure the adequate supply of PPE and to provide assistance in the form of feeding and shelter programmes across the country.


Since its inception, the Fund has provided food relief through the Department of Social Development, large food nonprofits, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations. It has purchased PPE, in the form of masks, procured the manufacturing of ventilators and bolstered nation-wide testing. Additionally, it has recently approved funding to support victims of gender based violence.


Questions and Answers:

Q - What measures have been put in place to ensure that funds are appropriately used?


A - The Solidarity Fund has an independent board with oversight committees including Audit and Risk that ensures that funds are used appropriately. Ernst & Young and ENS Africa have developed a governance framework to guide the allocation of all funds. The Fund is independently administered by Old Mutual and PricewaterhouseCoopers has been appointed as the external auditor. Tshikululu Investments is responsible for making all donations public and facilitating the process of transparency.


Solidarity Fund Impact

The Fund has split their focus area into 4 parts: Prevent, Detect, Care and Support. The funds have been allocated towards these 4 focus areas. Most of the funds have been allocated towards the Care focus which is about providing PPE and other medical resources. R915 million has been allocated towards this effort. The fund has secured 25 million PPE pieces since the beginning of the project. PPE includes items such as gloves, masks and gowns for healthcare workers in public hospitals and community health workers.


The fund has committed R19.5 million towards 200 ventilators which have been ordered for public hospitals. R11.3 million has also been committed towards the production of 2 local prototypes of ventilators - the project aims to manufacture 10 000 ventilators through this project.


Support refers to the humanitarian effort of the fund. The aim of this focus area is to provide aid for South African households and
communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, through sustaining access to food, care and other interventions to alleviate the impacts of
economic disruption.


The fund donated R120 million towards emergency food relief and has delivered 280 000 food parcels and 23 500 food vouchers across South Africa. The is expected to provide relief to over 300 000 households. The parcels have been distributed through the
Department of Social Development, NPOs, community organisations and faith-based organisations.


Detect is about ensuring the early detection of potential carriers of the virus and carrying out isolation protocols. This is important in
managing the spread of COVID-19 and the associated risk to public health systems. Screening and testing are the biggest parts of this
focus area. The Fund has committed R250 million to support the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) to acquire testing
equipment (400 000 testing kits), and has supported the Department of Health to ensure that the 30 000 community health workers doing screening and testing have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need.


The fund has also partnered with the Transnet Foundation and NHLS in the conversion of 2 trains into mobile testing clinics in order to
reach remote areas. The Fund also supported the South African Medical Research Council and a partnership of universities with a
grant of R88 million to scale up testing in their virology laboratories. This is expected to add capacity for up to 12,000 tests per day once fully operational.


Additionally, Dischem and Global Health Innovations Laboratory have also received an initial grant of R20 million from the fund to roll out free testing at walk-in testing facilities for those who are not on medical aid and cannot afford the cost of a test. This is expected to add an additional 33,000 tests.


Prevent is about educating, mobilizing and engaging citizens around social distancing, staying at home and other ways to prevent the
spread and continue to slow the rate of infection.


The fund launched a Solidarity Campaign across all media channels, social media and citizen networks. This campaign involves dispelling disinformation and creating access to critical knowledge for people  in their mother tongue. One such initiative is the Sikhaba iCOVID-19 SABC radio broadcasts. R36 million has been allocated towards this prevention campaign.