Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers SA. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers SA. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Listed technology investor Naspers will donate R1.5bn in emergency aid to the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Cape Town-based group will contribute R500m to the Solidarity Response Fund announced by President Ramaphosa last week, and R1bn to be used to buy personal protective equipment and other medical supplies from  China — in partnership with the Chinese government and Tencent — to support SA’s health workers.

These items will be flown to the country as soon as possible.

With a market value of R1.11-trillion, Naspers has grown to become one of the world’s top 10 technology investors.

Locally, the business is made up of Media24 and online retailer Takealot, with international investments that include OLX and Chinese technology giant Tencent.

In a statement, Naspers SA CEO Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa said: “By working with government and civil society we want to help our country overcome this very difficult period. We hope this combination of support will help to make a difference in SA’s response to Covid-19.”

The company's group CEO, Bob van Dijk, said: “We realise these are tough times that require dramatic action and Naspers is contributing to the measures under way in SA. We want to thank the government of China and our partner Tencent for their solidarity. More details will be released as soon as we have them.”

The company said details of the personal protective equipment and other medical supplies are being finalised together with local authorities, partners and supply networks in China.

Last week, Tencent, in which Naspers is the largest shareholder through its subsidiary, Prosus, launched its Global Anti-Pandemic Fund. This is a $100m initiative to help curb the spread and impact of Covid-19. The launch follows similar efforts from fellow tech giants such as Netflix and Facebook.

As a group, Naspers says “all of our businesses have continuity plans in place and we continue to actively assess potential impacts and take appropriate, market-specific action as needed.

“The challenges vary by sector and market, and this is a rapidly developing situation with no room for complacency, but we believe we have the teams, the resources and the experience to navigate this difficult time for our people and the customers and communities we serve.”

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