Motsepe Foundation + COVID-19
- The urgent provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first-responder health workers.
- The distribution of hand sanitisers and disinfectants for poor and vulnerable communities.
- The supply of water tanks (Jojos), borehole water and sanitary facilities to poor rural and urban communities.
- The building of additional classrooms, computer centres and laboratories in schools where high volumes of learners are allocated minimum resources.
- Promoting available mental health services.
The outbreak of COVID-19, and the subsequent lockdown restrictions imposed, have resulted in significant alterations to the livelihoods of South Africa’s most vulnerable people. At the same time, South Africa’s healthcare sector is being tested, and without stringent early precautions the sector could face limited capacity to meet healthcare needs.
So far, contributions by the Solidarity Fund, Businesses for South Africa and the Motsepe Foundation has allowed for critical stock of over 2.5 million surgical masks and 1 million KN95 respirators to be procured for both the public and private healthcare sector.
Increased demand for alcohol-based sanitisers has resulted in bulk buying and price mark-ups, putting them out of reach to a low-income majority. The Foundation has purchased hand sanitisers and disinfectants for distribution in poor and vulnerable communities, particularly where access to water is insufficient.
Since the outbreak, the South African government has announced its intention to supply over 2 000 communities with access to water and sanitation. Only 44% of South African households have piped water in their homes. Together with the Motsepe Foundation and associated companies the provision of added water tanks, boreholes and sanitary facilities will curb the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people relying on a single water source.
The number of learners in a single classroom has been a source of contention within the education system, where schools with inadequate infrastructure often accommodate more than the national average of learners-to-educators. During a time where social distancing has become a national health requirement, schools require additional classrooms and equipment to ensure learners receive quality education without putting their health at risk. The Foundation already has partnerships with 150 schools requiring investment across the country where these considerations will be implemented in the short to medium term, as schools begin to reopen.
Families are under strain, as a result of economic uncertainty and changes in lifestyles because of lockdown restrictions. Studies around mental health in South Africa has found that poverty and social deprivation, compounded by inadequate housing, unemployment and social conflict, affects people’s mental wellbeing. While remote services are available, public awareness around these mental health interventions are minimal, resulting in an estimated over 80% of sufferers not seeking professional help. The Foundation has initiated platforms to spread awareness around available interventions and to guide families and individuals towards accurate information.
The Foundation was founded on the philosophy of ‘ubuntu’, the African concept of giving and caring for your neighbour and other members of your community. During this time, the interconnectedness of our society has been made apparent. By working together, we are able to contain the spread of COVID-19, whilst investing in a more equal and sustainable future for all South Africans.