JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa’s diversified black-controlled mining and minerals company African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and the Motsepe family on Saturday formed the key part of the partnership of companies and organisations that have pledged R1-billion to assist with the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its related challenges that are confronting South Africa and the African continent.
ARM has interests in a wide range of mines, including platinum group metals, iron, manganese, coal, nickel, copper and gold mines.
The Motsepe family, in partnership with ARM, Sanlam, African Rainbow Capital and others, make up the donors in the latest pledge by leading South Africans.
Earlier this week, the Oppenheimer and Rupert families committed R1-billion each to assist small business and their employees affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Speaking during a remote media conference that made use of the Internet to keep social distance, ARM and Motsepe Foundation chairperson and founder Dr Patrice Motsepe said several hundred million rands would immediately be made available with the primary objective of saving lives and slowing and restraining the spread of the virus.
With his wife, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, at his side, he added: “We’re purchasing sanitisers, disinfectants, personal protective equipment and making resources available that are essential for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
“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 equipping for borehole water and also building sanitary facilities,” he added at the virtual conference covered by Mining Weekly.
Short- to medium-term interventions include building additional classrooms, computer centres and laboratories in South Africa’s nine provinces to assist with the excessively high number of students per classroom in some schools, which is particularly significant in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing requirements.
Schools in poor rural and urban areas without Internet access 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.
Sanlam CEO Ian Kirk said these efforts would make a meaningful contribution to developing the long-term sustainability of South Africans, particularly in poor and rural areas.
“Periods of profound uncertainty like these call for us to come together to support all the prudent actions that contain the scourge of this virus and its impact on our already fragile economy,” he said.
African Rainbow Capital CEO Dr Johan van Zyl said his company had been in contact with various Cabinet Ministers and provincial council executive committee members and would also be in contact with the coronavirus Solidarity Fund to identify specific initiatives and projects where it could partner and work together.
In its 2019 financial year, the activities of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed ARM created R13-billion worth of financial value.