Gloria Serobe. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR
Gloria Serobe. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR

A fund set up to pull money together to fight Covid-19 and limit its economic pain on families is planning to earmark R120m in food relief for a  quarter of a million vulnerable households, an internal document obtained by Business Day shows.

President Cyril Ramaphosa established the Solidarity Fund, which raised more than R2bn in the two weeks after it was launched. The fund has also set up a R100m facility to fast-track the purchase of urgently required protective equipment such as face masks and shields.

The food relief effort, which is in the planning stage and could change, will reach the most vulnerable communities. Its administration will enable the fund to track and ensure the costs are directed towards the provision of food relief.

The food relief is part of the fund’s humanitarian effort aimed at mobilising and co-ordinating the resources of business, civil society and communities to respond to humanitarian challenges, including food security and combating the escalation of violence against women and children as a consequence of the virus and the lockdown.

The Solidarity Fund said the document was "for internal purposes".

The fund is chaired by businessperson Gloria Serobe and to date its launch and mobilisation has been done on a pro bono basis with the intention that this remain the case for as long as possible, according to the document.

Along with Serobe, the board members include deputy chair Adrian Enthoven, the executive chair of European-based private investment group Yellowwoods; interim CEO Nomkhita Nqweni, a former executive at Absa; Ayanda Ntsaluba, a group executive director of Discovery; and Tryphosa Ramano, the president of the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals. The other members are ENSafrica chair Michael Katz; Kgomotso Makhupola, the national treasurer of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union; finance minister Tito Mboweni; trade, industry & competition minister Ebrahim Patel; and former president of the SA Youth Council Thulani Tshefutu. The board has established subcommittees to ensure corporate governance. These include a disbursements committee led by Ntsaluba.

The committee is supported by technical teams formulated under Business for SA and working with the department of health, the National Health Laboratory Service and other stakeholders to ensure proposals meet the need to ensure effective interventions.

Old Mutual independently administers the fund on a pro bono basis. Advisory firms and legal firms EY and ENSafrica have developed the governance framework to guide the allocation of funds, also pro bono.