Mary Oppenheimer, the daughter of mining magnate Harry Oppenheimer, announced a R1bn donation to the Solidarity Fund to mitigate the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on the country’s most vulnerable communities.

“My daughters and I have thought long and hard about where we could make the greatest difference in this fight and have decided it is to support the humanitarian needs of everyone living in SA. So, we think that it is the Solidarity Fund, which is most aligned to our concerns about basic needs, food, medicine, general care and gender abuse,” said Oppenheimer. 

The donation is separate from the R1bn intervention announced by her brother, Nicky Oppenheimer, and nephew, Jonathan, on Tuesday, which aims to assist small, medium-sized and micro enterprises through interest-free loans that will be allocated to paying a portion of employees’ salaries.

Oppenheimer, together with her daughters, Victoria Freudenheim, Rebecca Oppenheimer, Jessica Jell and Rachel Diamond, say the donation was prompted by the “unprecedented situation” that has unfolded over the past few weeks. 

She hailed the “wise leadership” of President Cyril Ramaphosa in ordering the lockdown, but said that “until this pandemic passes, our country will experience enormous difficulties and hardships”.

The family salutes people across the public and private sector who are providing essential services, especially health-care workers, who risk their lives to save their fellow South Africans. 

The Solidarity Fund is a public benefit organisation jointly established by the public and private sector to prevent and detect the spread of Covid-19, care for those infected and support those whose lives have been affected by the pandemic. 

The Oppenheimer contribution comes days after Naspers donated R500m to the fund.