FILE PHOTO: South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2015.Picture: REUTERS / REUBEN SPRICH
FILE PHOTO: South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2015.Picture: REUTERS / REUBEN SPRICH

The Motsepe family and associated businesses have committed R1bn to fighting the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the third family inside of a week to do so.

“These are indeed challenging, difficult and unprecedented times. It’s important that we come together as South Africans. We have a history of coming together to overcome serious challenges. The coronavirus challenge is one of these and cannot be underestimated. I am confident that in the medium term we will overcome these challenges,” said Patrice Motsepe.

The business-person and his wife, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, made the announcement on Saturday.

“This is the time we are called on to show the value of Ubuntu by collaborating with each other and looking after those that are less fortunate than ourselves,” said Moloi-Motsepe.

The billionaire who started his first business selling products from the boot of his car, has made the substantial resources available through the companies he has built over the last three decades, which include African Rainbow Minerals and African Rainbow Capital, as well as Motsepe’s shareholding in Sanlam.

The family’s philanthropic efforts are managed through the Motsepe Foundation.

The focus of the money will be on the poor and rural populations of the country. Several hundred million rand are “immediately available” for purchasing sanitisers, disinfectants, personal protective equipment, as well as large amounts of water for regularly washing hands.

Medium-term interventions include building additional classrooms, computer centres and laboratories in all nine provinces of the country to reduce the “excessively high number of students per classroom” in the context of the current pandemic.

The family’s donation follows on from similar donations by the Rupert and Oppenheimer families earlier this week.

Motsepe laid down the challenge for the rest of the country. “We hope to alleviate some of the suffering but we would like to challenge all our corporate contemporaries to do their bit in overcoming this unprecedented crisis.”

thompsonw@businesslive.co.za