South Africa

Solidarity Fund lists what R2bn was spent on

Solidarity Fund lists what R2bn was spent on

The Covid-19 Solidarity Fund said it had approved more than R2bn to be spent on interventions and projects across three pillars.

The R2.448bn was split across health (R1.98bn), humanitarian relief (R411m) and behavioural change (R56m).

The remaining funds were allocated to 23 existing projects and 31 sub-projects.

Solidarity Fund interim CEO Nomkhita Nqweni said during a webinar on Wednesday that over the past few months, the fund has made a significant impact by working to procure and provide critical medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health-care workers.

She said the fund had also extended testing capacity.

She said that in support of health initiatives, the fund had obtained 41 million units of PPE and commissioned the local manufacturing of 20,000 non-invasive ventilators, of which 4,000 have been delivered to date.

With regards to expanding the country’s testing capability, Nqweni said the fund had provided the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) with 1.2 million reagent and extraction kits.  

“This supported the capacity of the NHLS to perform up to 45,000 tests a day at the peak of the pandemic.

“At the last briefing we committed to supporting the hotspot provinces of Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape with the procurement of critical medical equipment. This equipment is in the process of being deployed.”

She said the humanitarian interventions saw the fund disburse food parcels to 280,000 vulnerable households.

In the second phase, 135,000 food vouchers were disbursed to households, unemployed young people, expectant mothers, women-led households, and foreigners who are not classified as asylum seekers or refugees.

“The fund always seeks to balance immediate relief efforts with long-term, sustainable interventions.”

According to Nqweni the fund has allocated R100m for a one-off input agriculture voucher of R2,000 to 47,000 rural households, of which 66% will be women-headed households.

“These farming input vouchers are a mechanism to assist subsistence-focused smallholder and household farmers who have lost income from a combination of sources during Covid-19 restrictions.

“We firmly believe that these farming input vouchers can prevent households from being pushed into the poverty trap while being provided with direct access to food.”

After a surge in gender-based violence cases in the country, Nqweni said GBV has been identified as one of the areas that needed urgent attention under the fund’s humanitarian work stream.

The fund had already disbursed R17m in PPE, support and aid to organisations that help victims of gender-based violence.

A second intervention of R75m would go towards assisting about 360 local community organisations that offer critical services to women and children affected by GBV, she said.

“The beneficiary organisations will be selected across the ecosystem of GBV organisations and include those working in prevention, response and the judicial system.

“In all our interventions and projects, transparency, accountability and compliance are of utmost importance. Every project follows strict processes and is the result of extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, organisations and communities.

“At the Solidarity Fund we are all too aware of the responsibility we have to the South African people, as well as of the importance of supporting and initiating meaningful initiatives that make a sustainable impact.”